Brother Lawrence

c.1605-1691. Christian mystic. Born Nicholas Herman of Lorraine and of humble background, he had spent many years as a soldier and then as a footman—“a great awkward fellow who broke everything.” At over fifty years of age he entered the Carmelite* Order in Paris as a lay brother and served in the kitchens. He became known as Brother Lawrence. After his death his Conversations and Letters were published and are printed together in The Practice of the Presence of God. They stress the need to do everything, including kitchen work which Brother Lawrence naturally disliked, for the love of God, and thus achieve a condition in which the presence of God is as real in work as in prayer. They influenced current mystical thought (cf. the writings of Fénelon*).