Thomas à Kempis, CRSA (c. 1380 – 1471) was a German Dutch canon regular (priests in the western tradition living in community under a common rule) of the late medieval period. He is best known as the author of the "Imitation of Christ," which has been influencial for centuries. Sir Thomas More said it was one of the three books everybody ought to own. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, read a chapter a day from it and regularly gave away copies as gifts. John Wesley said it was the best summary of the Christian life he had ever read.

"We must imitate Christ's life and his ways if we are to be truly enlightened and set free from the darkness of our own hearts. Let it be the most important thing we do." - Thomas à Kempis

Thomas' parents were John and Gertrude Haemerken. (à Kempis indicates where he was from.) They were of the artisan class; it is said that Gertrude kept the village school, and most probably John worked in metals. We only know of two children, John, his older brother, and Thomas. Thomas was only thirteen when he followed his brother to the schools of Deventer, in Holland. On his arrival he learned that his brother had gone with five other brothers of the Common Life to lay the foundations of a new congregation of Canons Regular at Windesheim, Thomas went there and joined them. Thomas wrote Immitation of Christ around 1418-1427. It is said to be a handbook for spiritual life arising from the Devotio Moderna (Modern Devotion) movement. This movement is often called a religious reform movement, calling for apostolic renewal through the rediscovery of genuine pious practices such as humility, obedience, and simplicity of life.

It is often good for us to have others know our faults and rebuke them, for it gives us greater humility. When a man humbles himself because of his faults, he easily placates those about him and readily appeases those who are angry with him. - Thomas à Kempis, Initation of Christ

In his old age Thomas wrote biographies of Gerard Groote, Florentius Radewyn, and their followers. They were some of the the Founders of the Devotio Moderna.

Some of his works online at 2/26/18