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Thomas à Kempis

A Dutch-German who lived poverty, chastity and obedience, dedicating himself to prayer, and translation of Church manuscripts.

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Imitation of Christ

Thomas à Kempis, born in 1380, in Kempen, Prince-Archbishopric of Cologne, Holy Roman Empire.

He was a German-Dutch, member of the Devotio Moderna, a spiritual movement during the late medieval period, calling for apostolic renewal through the rediscovery of genuine pious practices such as humility, obedience, and simplicity of life.

Thomas in particular was a member of "Brothers and Sisters of the Common Life". A community founded by Geert De Groote, where they took no vows, but lived a life of poverty, chastity, and obedience, as far as was compatible with their state, some in their own homes and others, especially clerics, in community.

For his community he proved an apt member, for his neatness and skill in transcribing manuscripts. This was a life-long work of love for him; in addition to his own compositions he copied numerous treatises from the Fathers, especially St. Bernard, a Missal for the use of his community, and the whole Bible in four large volumes still extant.

Kind and affable towards all, especially the sorrowful and the afflicted; constantly engaged in his favorite occupations of reading, writing, or prayer; in time of recreation for the most part silent and recollected, finding it difficult even to express an opinion on matters of mundane interest, but pouring out a ready torrent of eloquence when the conversation turned on God or the concerns of the soul.


  • Catholic Encyclopedia - New Advent
  • Thomas à Kempis - Wikipedia
  • Devotio Moderna - Wikipedia