Circle of Prayer - Famous Catholic Mystics
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The Section on Private Revelations contains the following links:

Private Revelations
The Church's Position
Famous Catholic Mystics
Why Revelations Today?
Revelations Worldwide
Revelations in Ireland
Denis O'Leary, Cork
Christina Gallagher, Mayo
Doon, County Limerick



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Mystics and Visionaries have always held a place of interest and spiritual influence in the Catholic Church. Below is a list of the more well-known Mystics from the early days of Christianity. Each links offers an outline on their lives.

Christian Mystics and Movements in the Early Church

Ignatius of Antioch (c. 35-c.107): Christocentric mystic. For him Christ's death and resurrection take on mystical significance.

St. Polycarp (c.69-c.155): Had a mystical vision which foretold his martyrdom by fire.

Justin Martyr (c.105-c.165): First Apology. Used Greek philosophy as the stepping-stone to Christian theology. The mystical conclusions that some Greeks arrived at, pointed to Christ. Influences: Pythagoras, Plato, Plotinus, Aristotle, Stoicism.

Irenaeus(c.125-c.202): Revolution and Overthrow of False Knowledge (or Against Heresies). Irenaeus' work was directed against Gnosticism. He emphasized John's gospel, particularly the Logos, which became the voice of God that revealed itself to all people.

Tertullian(c.155-c.222): To Martyrs, Apology, Against the Valentinians, Against Marcion, On the Soul. Emphasized a faith that was a contradiction to reason. "I believe because it is absurd." First to use trinitarian (three-in-one) formulation for God.

St. Antony (c.251-356): The Letters of St. Antony the Great. Early hermit or solitary monk, and a model for later monasticism, particularly of his eremetical type.

Basil the Great (c.330-379): Longer Rules, Liturgy of St. Basil. One of the Cappadocians, early church fathers. He gave a mystical orientation to the monastic movement.

Augustine(354-430): De Trinitate, Confessions. Important source for much mediaeval mysticism. Brings Platonism and Christianity together. He emphasizes the soul's search for God, made possible by the illumination of the mind of God. Influences: Plato, Plotinus.

St. Gregory I the Great (b. at Rome, c. 540; d. there, 604): "Commentaries on Job"; this book is called the Ethics of St. Gregory. The writings of Dionysius the Pseudo-Areopagite did not reach the West until about 824, when they were sent to Louis the Pious by Michael the Stammerer, Emperor of Constantinople: "Opera".

Catholic Mystics in the Mediaeval Church:

William of St.-Thierry (c.1085-1148): Golden Letter, On the Contemplation of God, On the Nature and Dignity of Love. A Cistercian contemporary of Bernard's, William also emphasized love-mysticism, but with subtle differences from Bernard in his use of Augustine.

Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153): Sermons, De diligendo Deo, On the Love of God. Cistercian mystic. Promoted a mystical vision of rhapsodic love, in which the Church is described in erotic terms as the bride of Christ. His love-mysticism had the tendency to be anti-intellectual, as in his disputes with Abelard.

Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179): Scivias, The Book of Divine Works, Letters. Early German speculative mystic, reminiscent of Isaiah or Ezekiel at times. She was greatly respected in her time, both for her writings as well as for her music and art. Influences: Augustine, Bernard of Clairvaux.

Hugh of St. Victor, canon regular at Paris (b. in Saxony, 1096; d. at Paris, 1141): On Sacraments. Hugh is the more important of the two. He argues for a close tie between reason and mysticism.

Richard of St. Victor, canon regular at Paris (d. at Paris, 1173): "De contemplatione".

Francis of Assisi (John Bernardone) (1182-1226): Canticle of the Sun. Founder of the Franciscan order, which emphasized self-renunciation and poverty. Francis approaches nature mysticism at times, particularly when he sees God in all living things.

Albertus Magnus (1206-1280): The teacher of Thomas Aquinas. In the tradition of Pythagoras, emphasized the essential unity of science and mysticism. Influences: Augustine, Pseudo-Dionysius.

Beatrice of Nazareth (1200-1268): The Seven modes of Sacred Love. Belgian Cistercian mystic. Associated with the Beguines. Influences: Augustine.

Mechthild of Magdeburg (1207-1282): The Flowing Light of the Godhead. Strongly feminine images in mysticism. Devotional mystic. Associated with the Beguines. Influences: Bernard of Clairvaux, Hildegard, Gregory the Great.

Bonaventure (John Fidanza) (1217-1274): The Mind's Road to God, The Tree of Life, The Life of St. Francis. Franciscan monk, and the architect of the philosophical, theological, and mystical side of Francis' thought. Mysticism in the Augustinian tradition. Influences: Augustine, St. Francis of Assisi, Victorines.

St. Bonaventure, Minister General of the Friars Minor (b. at Bagnorea, 1221; d. at Lyons, 1274): "Journey of the Soul towards God". The "Seven Roads of Eternity", which has sometimes been attributed to him, is the work of a Friar Minor, Rudolph of Bibrach, of the fourteenth century.

St. Thomas Aquinas (1224-1275): Summa Theologica, De Anima, many others. Dominican monk and the greatest Catholic theologian and philosopher. Late in life, he had a mystical experience which caused him to question his scholastic past. Influences: Aristotle, Augustine, Pseudo-Dionysius, Eriugena.

Angela of Foligno (c.1248-1309): The Book of Divine Consolations of the Blessed Angela of Foligno. Mysticism is based on the facts of Christ's life and death. Influences: Francis of Assisi, Bonaventure.

St. Gertrude, a Benedictine (b. at Eisleben, 1256; d. at Helfta, Saxony, 1302): Revelations.

Jan van Ruysbroeck (1293-1381): The Adornment of the Spiritual Marriage (Spiritual Espousals), The Sparkling Stone, The Book of Supreme Truth. Flemish mystic, sometimes considered one of the Rhineland mystics. Outlines the stages of the mystical life. Influences: Eckhart, Hadewijch.

Henry Suso (1295-1366): The Little Book of Truth, The Little Book of Wisdom (Horologium Sapientiae). A Rhineland mystic. Influences: Eckhart.

Johannes Tauler (1300-1361): Sermons. Rhineland mystic and Dominican. Tauler emphasized the inner person rather than outer works, and because of this became popular in Protestant circles in the Reformation, and later Pietism and Romanticism. He was part of the same community that produced the Theologia Germanica. Influences: Eckhart, Mechthild of Magdeburg.

Richard Rolle (1300-1349): The Fire of Love. Part of the "English school" of late mediaeval mysticism. Emphasizes the "physicality" of the mystical experience (feeling heat, seeing colours, etc.).

Birgitta (Brigida) Suecica of Sweden (1302-1373): Ascetic mystic. Heavily involved in political activity. Influences: St. Francis of Assisi.

Walter Hilton (d. 1395): The Scale (Ladder) of Perfection, Epistle to a Devout Man. An Augustinian monk, Hilton was an English mystic.

Julian of Norwich (1342-1413?): Showings or Revelations of Divine Love. Julian was part of the "English school" of late mediaeval mysticism. Mystical experience that came at the point of death. The experience came with healing, and she devoted her life to understanding her vision. Influences: Pseudo-Dionysius, Aquinas (?).

Catherine of Siena (1347-1380): Il Dialogo. Italian. Mystic; advisor to Pope Gregory XI. Influences: Augustine.

Thomas à Kempis (c.1380-1471): The Imitation of Christ. Augustinian monk. Finest expression of devotio moderna, modern spirituality, which downplays the Rhineland mystics' concern with contemplation and speculative theology, and stresses the practice of simple piety and asceticism. Influences: Eckhart.

Famous Catholic Mystics 15th to 19th Century

St. Catherine of Genoa (1447-1510): Life and Doctrines, Treatise on Purgatory. Mysticism spurred in part by the abuse and neglect by her husband. Her trauma becomes mystical as she argues that purgatory is a stage on the mystical path, the final purification of the effects of self-love.

Teresa of Avila (1515-1582): Life, by Herself; The Way of Perfection; The Interior Castle. Spanish Carmelite nun. Formed the Discalced (Barefoot) Carmelites, with St. John of the Cross. Is very important for describing the stages of the mystical journey. Influences: Augustine.

St. John of the Cross (Juan de Yepes) (1542-1591): Dark Night of the Soul and Ascent of Mt. Carmel. Spanish mystic. (Discalced Carmelite) Both John and Teresa emphasize mysticism as union with God, attainable only in the denial of the self. Influences: Teresa of Avila.

Venerable Luis de Lapuente (b. at Valladolid, 1554; d. there, 1624): "Life of Father Baltasár Alvarez", confessor of St. Teresa (Madrid, 1615); "Spiritual Guide" (Valladolid, 1609); "Life of Marina de Escobar" (2 vols., Madrid, 1665-73).

St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622): The Introduction to the Devout Life (Philothea), Treatise on the Love of God. French mystic. Devout Life is a classic of French spirituality.

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque  Religious of the Visitation Order. Apostle of the Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, born at Lhautecour, France, 22 July, 1647; died at Paray-le-Monial, 17 October, 1690. Known as "the Beloved Disciple of the Sacred Heart", and the heiress of all Its treasures. The love of the Sacred Heart was the fire which consumed her, and devotion to the Sacred Heart is the refrain of all her writings.

Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824)

Sister Emmerich, an Augustinian nun from Westphalia, Germany, lived during one of the saddest and least glorious periods of the Church's history. She was a stigmatist and visionary of note.

Saint Catherine Labouré  b.1806 d. 1876 Saint Catherine Labouré responded to the divine call by entering the Community of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul in Paris. Here, during the first months of her novitiate, she was favored with a number of apparitions of the Blessed Virgin, who confided to her the mission of having the Miraculous Medal made.

Twentieth Century Mystics

Saint Faustina 1905 - 1938 Cannonised on April 30, 2000 - Apostle of Divine Mercy

Saint Pio - Padre Pio b.1887 in Pietrelcina, Benevento, d.1968


In conformity to Pope Urban VIIIí Decree and the directives of the Council Vatican II, the author declares not to have the intention to precede the judgment of the Church about the supernatural character of facts and messages related on this page.This judgment belongs to competent authorities of the Church, to whom the author submits fully. Words like « apparitions, miracles, messages » and similar have here the value of human witness.

This list kindly supplied by Who's Who in the History of Western Mysticism


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