Brother Lawrence

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Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection
Brother Lawrence in the kitchen.jpg
Born Nicolas Herman
Hériménil, France
Died February 12, 1691(1691-02-12)
Paris, France
Occupation Lay brother, Discalced Carmelite monastery
Religion Catholic

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. 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.

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