Brother Lawrence

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Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection
Brother Lawrence in the kitchen.jpg
BornNicolas Herman
Hériménil, France
Died(1691-02-12)February 12, 1691
Paris, France
OccupationLay brother, Discalced Carmelite monastery

Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection (c. 1614 – 12 February 1691) served as a lay brother in a Carmelite monastery in Paris. Christians commonly remember him for the intimacy he expressed concerning his relationship to God as recorded in a book compiled after his death, the classic Christian text, The Practice of the Presence of God.


Brother Lawrence was born Nicolas Herman in Hériménil, near Lunéville in the region of Lorraine, located in modern-day eastern France.[1] 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.[2]

He fought in the Thirty Years' War and following an injury, left the army and served as a valet.[3] In June 1640, Nicolas joined the Discalced Carmelite Priory in Paris.[4] He entered the priory as a lay brother and took the religious name, "Lawrence of the Resurrection". He made his solemn profession of vows on August 14, 1642.[5] He spent the rest of his life with the Parisian community, where his primary assignments were working in the kitchen and, in his later years, repairing sandals.[6]

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.[7] 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. The conversations had been conducted and recorded by a notable cleric, the Abbe Joseph de Beaufort, who compiled this work after Brother Lawrence died. [8] It became popular among Catholics and Protestants alike, with John Wesley[9] and A. W. Tozer[10] recommending it to others.

His death on February 12, 1691[11] occurred in relative obscurity, but his teachings lived on in the compilation of his words.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lawrence of the Resurrection, Brother, Writings and Conversations on the Practice of the Presence of God (Washington DC: ICS Publications, 1994), p.xviii.
  2. ^ "Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection," Boston Carmel, Website of the Discalced Carmelites of Boston. Boston, MA: Mighty 8th Media, 2014. Viewed July 22, 2017.
  3. ^ Writings and Conversations, op. cit., p. xviii.
  4. ^ Ibid., p. xix.
  5. ^ Ibid., p. xx.
  6. ^ Ibid.
  7. ^ Ibid., pp. xx-xxi.
  8. ^ J.D. Nelson, Practice of the Presence of God with Devotional and Study Guide, p.15.
  9. ^ Fanning, Steven (2005). Mystics of the Christian Tradition. Routledge. p. 169. ISBN 9780415224680.
  10. ^ Tozer, A. W. (1991). The Price of Neglect. Wingspread Publishers. pp. 22–23. ISBN 9780875094472.
  11. ^ Practice of the Presence of God with Devotional and Study Guide, op. cit., p. xxiii.

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