Windesheim (or Windesen), a Dutch monastery of the order of Regular Canons, celebrated as the center of a somewhat extensive congregation of reformed convents, flourished in the former half of the 15th century. It was intimately connected with the association of Brethren of the Common Life, having been established by Radewin, the pupil and successor of Gerhard Groot, to serve as a rallying-point for its members. Berthold ten Have, a citizen of Zwoll, in Zealand, and one of Groot's converts, donated his homestead property of Windesen, worth above three thousand florins, to the prospective monastery on the inception of the plan, and other donations followed, so that the convent became an accomplished fact in 1386. Six brothers constituted its original congregation. The church was dedicated, and the investing of the brothers with the robes of their order was performed October 16. 1387, Henry of Huxaria being made temporary superior, with the title of rector. Vos von Huesden, who succeeded to the government of the convent as prior, four years afterwards, became the real founder of its importance. During thirty-three years he was zealous in the promotion of its internom prosperity, as well as in the erection of its buildings and the extension of its influence. Its riches became immense under his administration, and the number of monasteries, and also of nunneries, connected with it, increased remarkably. Among these the monastery of St. Agnes, near Zwoll, became chiefly famous, through Thomas a Kempis and Johann Wessel, who were its inmates. In 1402 the first convocation of the general chapter was held at Windesheim. In 1435 the Council of Basle directed Windesheim to undertake the reformation of the convents of Regular Canons in Germany. This reformatory work extended in time even to the convents of other orders, and continued until the general reformation of the 16th century brought it to a close. The convent of Windesheim itself continued to exist luntil the end of the 16th century, and a chapter of Windesheim even until the 18th century. Its members were bound only by the three substantialia of monasticism, the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, and they employed themselves, particularly during the earlier period, with the copying of manuscripts and industrial pursuits. Their reformatory labors aimed merely at a re- establishment of the earlier monastic discipline by reducing ascetical requirements to a tolerable degree. See Busch, Chronicon Windesemense (Antwerp, 1621); De Rel. Maonaster. quorund. Saxoniae, in Leibnitz, Scriptores Brunsvic. c. 2; Delprat, Over d. Brmoderschap van G. Groote (2d ed. Arnhelm, 1856; Germ. ed. by Mohnike, Leipsic, 1846); Herzog, Real-Encyklop. s.v.

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