Brother Lawrence

This tree looks rather unpromising, but one day in winter Brother Lawrence said that while looking at a tree stripped of its leaves, and reflecting that after a time its leaves would appear again,and then flowers and fruits, received a great view of the providence of God which has never been effaced.

Born:  Nicolas Herman, 1614,  HériménilFrance

Died:  February 12, 1691 Paris, France

Occupation:  Lay brother, Discalced Carmelite monastery

ReligionCatholic

Brother Lawrence was born Nicolas Herman in Hériménil, near Lunéville in the region of Lorraine, located in modern-day eastern France. As a young man, Herman's poverty forced him into joining the army, which guaranteed him meals and a small stipend. During this period, Herman claimed an experience that set him on a unique spiritual journey.

He fought in the Thirty Years' War and following an injury, left the army and served as a valet. After some time, he joined the Discalced Carmelite Priory in Paris.

Nicolas entered the priory in Paris as a lay brother, not having the education necessary to become a cleric, and took the religious name, "Lawrence of the Resurrection". He spent almost all of the rest of his life within the walls of the priory, working in the kitchen for most of his life and as a repairer of sandals in his later years.

Despite his lowly position in life and the priory, his character attracted many to him. He had a reputation for experiencing profound peace and visitors came to seek spiritual guidance from him. The wisdom he passed on to them, in conversations and in letters, would later become the basis for the book, The Practice of the Presence of God. Father Joseph de Beaufort, later vicar general to the Archbishop of Paris, compiled this work after Brother Lawrence died.

 

It became popular among Catholics and Protestants alike, with John Wesley and A. W. Tozer recommending it to others.

His death in 1691 occurred in relative obscurity, but his teachings lived on in the compilation of his words.