Week #22 Essay, History
Gerhard Groote was born in 1340 A.D. in the Netherlands. He lived during the years of the Black Death and his wealthy parents were killed by it, making him a rich orphan. He was converted to Christianity by an Augustinian monk in 1374 and read a lot of books about God.
The Black Death swept through his town again and he survived, but many children’s parents were killed. Gerhard helped the boys who were orphaned and let them live in his house. Then, he helped all the orphaned girls and built a house next door to his for them to live in. He taught all the children about the Gospel and educated them.
Gerhard traveled, preached, and built more schools like the ones he had started for the orphans in his hometown. He called the schools the “Brethren of the Common Life”. His schools weren’t noticed over the chaos of the Hundred Years War and the Black Death.
In 1384, the Black Death came again and this time it killed Gerhard. Even though he had started his schools only about ten years before his death, they continued to be used without his instructions under the lead of the original students. The Brethren of the Common Life continued for 150 years after Gerhard’s death.
Written by Amelia Jacobson 2016