Blessed John Ruysbroeck served as influential leader in the Devotio Moderna (Modern Devotion). That 14th-century movement brought people both to a personal commitment to follow Christ and to a deeper life in the Spirit. From 1317 to 1343, John devoted himself to prayer. And he published several spiritual books. John wrote in Flemish rather than the traditional Latin to reach as broad a readership as possible. In 1349, John and two associates founded a monastery at Groenendaal in present-day Belgium. As prior of the community, he provided spiritual leadership for the brothers. John’s presence at Groenendaal made it a renewal center for the Modern Devotion. Hundreds of people made pilgrimages there to hear him and obtain his advice.