Blessed John van Ruysbroeck

Blessed John van RuysbroeckAlso known as

  • John Ruysbroeck
  • Jan van Ruusbroec
  • Jan van Ruysbroek
  • John the Admirable Doctor
  • John the Divine Doctor
  • Ruysbroeck the Admirable



Nothing is known of John’s father, but history remembers his mother as a very pious woman who eventually entered a convent. At age eleven John moved in with and was educated by his uncle, Father John Hinckaert at Saint Gudule’s, Brussels, Belgium. Ordained in 1317. Served as chaplain at Saint Gudule’s for 26 years.

In response to pamphlets teaching heresy, John began to write his own, primarily on false mysticism being taught. None of these writings have survived.

In 1343, John and his uncle retired to a hermitage in Groenendael. His reputation for wisdom and holiness began to spread, and the hermitage attracted like-minded men. The group founded a formal community of Augustinian canons regular on 13 March 1349 with John as prior. Many people came for spiritual guidance by the canons, and especially from John. He led a life of extreme austerity, became famous as a sublime contemplative and skilled director of souls. As the Spirit moved him, he resumed writing. Noted as the greatest of the Flemish mystical writers.





  • in canonical habit, seated in the forest with his writing tablet on his knee, rapt in ecstasy and enveloped in flames, which encircle without consuming the tree under which he is resting

Additional Information

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  • Readings

    Where I assert that we are one in God, I must be understood in this sense that we are one in love. Blessed John

    MLA Citation

    • “Blessed John van Ruysbroeck“. CatholicSaints.Info. 29 January 2021. Web. 17 May 2021. <>