Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection
Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection (Nicolas Herman, d. 1691) is not a saint in the formal sense, but his spiritual insights mean that he is regarded with special love by the Carmelite Family.
Brother Lawrence (baptismal name, Nicolas Herman) was born in 1614 in Lorraine in a deeply Christian family. At the age of 18, he underwent a decisive spiritual experience. At that time, he chose a military career alongside the Duke of Lorraine, but two close brushes with death and an injury forced him to leave his military career when he was 21 years old.
During a period of convalescence, he decided to consecrate his life to God; he became a hermit but he did not find the peace that he desired. So, Nicolas left for Paris where he became a footman in the household of a councilor of King Louis XIII. At age 26, he decided to enter the Discalced Carmelites in Paris on the Rue de Vaugirard as a lay brother. He received the name of Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection.
For 15 years, he was the community's cook and then the sandal-maker. His first ten years of religious life were filled with spiritual darkness, coupled with a keen sense of his sins. But, he abandoned himself to the Lord and made a concerted effort to live simply under the gaze of God in all things and in every moment of the day. Thus, he found peace.
It was then that Brother Lawrence really began to shine. He received many visitors. Brother Lawrence spent his life in a very simple relationship with God, whom he joined February 12, 1691 at 77 years of age.
A biography written by one of his friends quickly made him known through his message of the practice of the presence of God. This teaching spread very widely, even beyond Catholicism, especially in English-speaking settings where Brother Lawrence's fame endures.