Thomas of Cantimpré
Thomas was born of noble parentage at Sint-Pieters-Leeuw near Brussels, in the Duchy of Brabant in 1201; died 15 May 1272. At the age of five his education began at Liège, where he spent eleven years mastering the difficulties of the trivium and quadrivium.
At the age of sixteen he received the habit of the Canons Regular of St. Augustine in the Abbey of Cantimpré, where he was eventually elevated to the priesthood. In 1232 after fifteen years at Cantimpré, during which he was a constant source of edification to his religious brethren, he entered the Order of St. Dominic at Leuven, also in Brabant. Immediately after his profession in the following year, he was sent to Cologne to pursue the higher theological studies of the order, under the tutelage of the illustrious Albert the Great. From Cologne, where he spent four years, he went to Paris, to the Dominican studium of St. James, to perfect himself in the sciences and to prepare for the apostolate of preaching.
Returning to Louvain in 1240, he was made professor of philosophy and theology—an office he filled with rare distinction. He achieved equal success in the apostolate of preaching, in recognition of which the title of "Preacher General" was conferred upon him. His missionary activities extended throughout Brabant and into Germany, Belgium, and France.
- His first work is entitled Opus de natura rerum. It contains twenty books and took roughly fifteen years to write.
- Between 1257-1263 he wrote Bonum universale de apibus. By an allegory on the life in a community of bees, he treats the conduct and duties of superiors and subjects. This work, which inspired many spiritual writers for many centuries, was printed at Deventer (before 1478), at Paris, and three times at Douai (1597, 1605, 1627).
- Vita Christinae virginis mirabilis dictae
- Vita B. Margaritae Iprensis
- Vita Piae Lutgardiae
- Vita Joannis abbatis primi monasterii Cantimpratensis et ejus Ecclesiae undatoris
- Supplementum ad vitam B. Mariae d'Oignies a B. M. Jacobo de Vitriaco
Jacob van Maerlant's Van der Naturen Bloeme is a Dutch translation of De natura rerum, the natural history in twenty books by Thomas of Cantimpré. Konrad of Megenberg's Buch der Natur, published in 1475, was based on Cantimpré's book.
- Newman, Barbara, ed., Margot H. King and Barbara Newman, trans. Thomas of Cantimpré, The Collected Saints' Lives: Abbot John of Cantimpré, Christina the Astonishing, Margaret of Ypres, and Lutgard of Aywières (Turnhout: Brepols, 2008) (Medieval Women: Texts and Contexts 19).
- Archives de littérature du Moyen Âge (ARLIMA), http://www.arlima.net/qt/thomas_de_cantimpre.html