Jean Joseph Surin

1600-1665. French mystic. He was born in Bordeaux and studied in the Jesuit college there, and at Collège de Clermont, Paris, entering the order in 1616. At Cardinal Richelieu's request he went to Loudun (1636) to be the exorcist in a community of Ursuline nuns diabolically possessed. As a result, he believed himself to be possessed, which devastating experience persisted for twenty years, finally advancing his own spirituality as a mystic. He was accused of Quietism and of overstressing the extraordinary in the mystical life. The Italian translation of his Catéchisme spirituel was put on the Index, though Bossuet defended his orthodoxy and Fénelon esteemed him. Les Fondements de la vie spirituelle (1667), Dialogues spirituels (1704-9), and other works emphasize purification through suffering and self-denial.