« Bury, Richard de Busch, Jan Busembaum (Busenbaum), Hermann »

Busch, Jan

BUSCH, JAN: Dutch monastic reformer; b. at Zwolle (52 m. e.n.e. of Amsterdam) Aug. 9, 1399; d. at Sülte, near Hildesheim, c. 1480. Educated first in the school of Zwolle, which then, under its famous rector Cele, numbered about a thousand students, he went to Erfurt at the age of eighteen to study law; but his inclination was for the monastic life, and in 1419 he entered the Windesheim house, of which Vos was then prior. He labored diligently to overcome theoretical doubts by study of the Scriptures and spiritual writers, and to form himself practically in the devout life. Vos, on his death-bed, exhorted him to constancy in reforming zeal, and he was soon sent to Bödingen near Cologne, where he was ordained priest. He remained four years at Bödingen, and then, after a short stay in the mother house, received a more difficult commission, being sent to Ludinkerken in East Friesland, where conditions of shocking laxity prevailed, but the great papal schism, a contested episcopal election, and his own weak health prevented him from accomplishing much there. After some years of comparative rest, he began his more important work in 1437 as subprior of the reformed monastery of Wittenberg near Hildesheim, which was to extend over a large part of Germany and to embrace especially, in the spirit of the Council of Basel, the reform of the Augustinian, convents of both sexes, particularly in Saxony. Working in harmony with the Bursfelde Congregation, he began with the neighboring monastery of Sülte, of which he took charge himself, with the title of provost, commonly used in Saxony instead of prior. His success in restoring discipline there induced the archbishop of Magdeburg in 1446 to place in his hands the Premonstratensian house of Our Lady in the same city. In the following year be became provost of the rich Neuwerkstift at Halle, combining with it the office of archdeacon, which gave him authority over 700 secular priests. After the plague of 1450, he went on to Glauchau, where he enjoyed the powerful support of his friend Nicholas of Cusa, who had been sent to Germany as cardinal-legate with special reference to monastic reform. After a provincial synod at Bergen, the legate entrusted Busch with the oversight of this work in the entire province, giving him full power to inspect all monasteries and reform whatever disorders he found, taking the Windesheim statutes as a standard. He went vigorously to work in Halle, Leipsic, and Halberstadt, but in 1452 the opposition aroused by his zeal led to demands for his removal being laid before the pope and the archbishop. At first they were fruitless, but when Busch found the archbishop cooling toward him, he resigned his office of provost, still retaining his powers as visitor. In 1456 he went to attend a general chapter at Windesheim, and remained there several years, living as a simple brother and employing the time in literary work. He wrote the lives of the first twenty-four brothers and of his teacher Cele (Liber de viris illustribus de Windeshem), as well as a chronicle 318of the house and congregation. He took up active work again as provost of Sülte, and exercised his visitatorial powers over a still wider field, at the same time writing an account of his work which is of some value. He resigned his office as provost in 1479, and probably died in the following year. His Chronicon Windeshemense was first printed by Heribert Rosweyde at Antwerp in 1621, and an incomplete edition of his four books De reformatione monasteriorum was prepared by G. W. von Leibnitz, in Scriptores rerum Brunsvicensium (3 vols., Hanover, 1707–11); an excellent modern edition, with introduction and notes, is that of K. Grube (Halle, 1886). A few smaller works, letters, and sermons, have recently been discovered and published by J. M. Wüstenhoff (Ghent, 1890).

L. Schulze.

Bibliography: The sources for a life are best discovered in his own writings: Chronicon Windeshemense, ed. K. Grube, Halle, 1888; Liber de reformatione monasteriorum, ed. Grube, with the Chronicon, ut sup. (contains a brief life by the editor). Consult also: K. Grube, Johannes Bunsh, Augustinerpropst zu Hildesheim, Freiburg, 1881; W. Moll, Kerkgeschiedenis van Nederlande voor de Hervorming, II., ii., pp. 115, 221 sqq., 349, Utrecht, 1871; J. G. R. Acquoy, Het Klooster te Windesheim en zijn invloed, 3 vols., ib. 1875; L. Schulze, Des Johannes Busch bisher unbekannte Schriften, in ZKG, xi. (1890) 586–596.

« Bury, Richard de Busch, Jan Busembaum (Busenbaum), Hermann »
VIEWNAME is workSection