650 years ago Gerhard Groote created an amazing school for children who were orphaned because the Black Plague had killed their family. This school was called the Brethren of the Common Life school.
Gerhard’s parents were killed in the Black Plague and because his family was quite wealthy, he became an orphaned, bratty and spoiled child. He did make some good decisions by attending a very good school and obtaining a very good education. During one of Groote’s travels he saw and heard an Augustinian monk preaching the Gospel and Groote had a burning in his soul to study theology. He was converted to Christianity by the monk.
The Black Plague came to his village again and he survived it again! But many boy’s and girl’s parents did not. So he took them into his house, gave them food and water and also taught them the Gospel and basic reading and writing skills. As he continued to help the children he organized a small school and he taught many people.Then he went and started to preach the Gospel to others and he gained support and many followers. He created more schools and his previous students, now taught very well, taught in these new schools.
As he continued he brought in more followers and students but, third times the charm,(or in this case a saddening death) the Black Plague struck again and this time it killed him. I am so glad that I don’t have to tell you that his schools fell apart after he died, because his schools and students and teachers continued to learn and teach for another 150 YEARS!!
His schools, Brethren(and Sisters) of the Common Life, taught some of the great reformers in time to come. So for Ulrich Zwingli to bring forward his ideas on theology and the Reformation is all thanks to Gerhard Groote and his School!
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(Unfortunately, no pictures today. Sorry! 🙂