« Brill, Jakob Brinckerinck, Jan Bristol, Frank Milton »

Brinckerinck, Jan

BRINCKERINCK, JAN: A popular preacher and spiritual director in connection with the Brethren and Sisters of the Common Life; b. near Zütphen, Guelderland, 1359; d. at Deventer Mar. 26, 1419. Thomas à Kempis, who wrote his life, says that he came of a good family, but tells nothing further of his early life except that, living in the days of the great religious awakening under Groote's influence, he was profoundly impressed by it. He came into intimate personal relations with Groote and his disciples, and devoted himself to forwarding the "new devotion" and the education of the young. He was ordained priest in 1393, and not long afterward took charge as rector of the house for women founded at Deventer by Groote, "Meester Geertshuis" as it was commonly called (see Common Life, Brethern of the). He introduced a strict discipline into the life of the inmates, and was practically the founder of the sisters whose houses afterward became so 272numerous. Under his direction the numbers grew so, considerably that new buildings were needed. After three years the church and convent were ready for occupancy; at first of wood, they were rebuilt of stone in 1407. The foundation was placed under the Windesheim chapter, who named Brinckerinck as its confessor. Numbering in that year twelve sisters and novices, by the middle of the century the community had grown to considerably over a hundred, including all classes. It was self-supporting; the sisters copied and illuminated manuscripts, or occupied themselves profitably in other ways according to their gifts. In 1408 a new house was erected at Diepenveen, a few miles away, in the choir of whose church Brinckerinck was buried. He was known far and wide for his popular preaching, which, according to the testimony of Rudolf Dier, one of his hearers, and of the Brethren of the Common Life, gave to all the impression that he had sat at the feet of Jesus. From a manuscript biography by Elizabeth of Delft, one of the twelve first sisters, we learn that she wrote down some of his sermons, and Rudolf Dier adds that out of such materials eight vernacular "collations" were formed, containing his admonitions to the sisters. These were discovered not long ago, and published by Moll in 1866. They read like notes of spoken discourses, sometimes apparently combinations of different ones. Like the usual "collations" of the Brethren of the Common Life, they were not formal sermons following a rhetorical method, but simple and artless talks which pass readily from one topic to an other, and are rich in short, pithy sentences of a kind to be easily understood and remembered by his hearers.

L. Schulze.

Bibliography: The Vita by Thomas à Kempis is in the Chronicon monasterii S. Agnetis, ed. H. Rosweyde, Antwerp, 1615; another by J. Buschius is in the latter's Chronicon Windeshmense, ed. K. Grube, Halle, 1886. Consult: G. Dunbar, Analecta, vol. i., Deventer, 1719; idem Het Kerkelyk en Wereltlyk Deventer, ib. 1732–88; W. Moll, Kerkgeschiedenis van Nederland voor de Hervorming, ii. 2, 209 sqq., Utrecht, 1871.

« Brill, Jakob Brinckerinck, Jan Bristol, Frank Milton »
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