Jan Standonck

Jan Standonck

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Jan Standonck was a Dutch
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 priest
Priest
A priest is a person authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities...

, Scholastic
Scholasticism
Scholasticism is a method of critical thought which dominated teaching by the academics of medieval universities in Europe from about 1100–1500, and a program of employing that method in articulating and defending orthodoxy in an increasingly pluralistic context...

, and reformer
Reform movement
A reform movement is a kind of social movement that aims to make gradual change, or change in certain aspects of society, rather than rapid or fundamental changes...

.

He was part of the great movement for reform in the 15th century French church. His approach was to reform the recruitment and education of the clergy
Clergy
Clergy is the generic term used to describe the formal religious leadership within a given religion. A clergyman, churchman or cleric is a member of the clergy, especially one who is a priest, preacher, pastor, or other religious professional....

, along very ascetic lines, heavily influenced by the hermit saint Francis of Paola
Francis of Paola
Saint Francis of Paola was an Italian mendicant friar and the founder of the Roman Catholic Order of the Minims.-Biography:...

. To this end he founded many colleges, all of them strictly controlled and dedicated to poor students with real vocations. Chief amongst them was the Collège de Montaigu
Collège de Montaigu
The Collège de Montaigu was one of the constituent colleges of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Paris. The college, originally called the Collège des Aicelins, was founded in 1314 by Giles Aicelin, the Archbishop of Rouen...

, latterly part of the University of Paris
University of Paris
The University of Paris was a university located in Paris, France and one of the earliest to be established in Europe. It was founded in the mid 12th century, and officially recognized as a university probably between 1160 and 1250...

. He lived at a time when this model of reform was under increasing pressure from more thoroughgoing critiques - including that of one of his most famous students, Erasmus.

Early years


He was born into extremely humble circumstances, the son of a poor cobbler
Shoemaking
Shoemaking is the process of making footwear. Originally, shoes were made one at a time by hand. Traditional handicraft shoemaking has now been largely superseded in volume of shoes produced by industrial mass production of footwear, but not necessarily in quality, attention to detail, or...

 in Mechlin, at that time part of the Burgundian Netherlands
Burgundian Netherlands
In the history of the Low Countries, the Burgundian Netherlands refers to a number of Imperial and French fiefs ruled in personal union by the House of Valois-Burgundy and their Habsburg heirs in the period from 1384 to 1482...

. He received his early education there but quickly transferred to Gouda
Gouda
Gouda is a city and municipality in the western Netherlands, in the province of South Holland. Gouda, which was granted city rights in 1272, is famous for its Gouda cheese, smoking pipes, and 15th-century city hall....

, where the Brothers of the Common Life ran a famous school along monastic lines. Here Jan developed his preference for a mystical, as opposed to an intellectual, approach to religion, together with a determinedly ascetic approach to religious life. The education he received from the Brothers was a traditional Medieval one, including Grammar
Grammar
In linguistics, grammar is the set of structural rules that govern the composition of clauses, phrases, and words in any given natural language. The term refers also to the study of such rules, and this field includes morphology, syntax, and phonology, often complemented by phonetics, semantics,...

 and Logic
Logic
In philosophy, Logic is the formal systematic study of the principles of valid inference and correct reasoning. Logic is used in most intellectual activities, but is studied primarily in the disciplines of philosophy, mathematics, semantics, and computer science...

, conducted during long days, interrupted by religious devotions, and accompanied by frugal meals, cold beds and many punishments. However, the ancient writers were not neglected - Virgil
Virgil
Publius Vergilius Maro, usually called Virgil or Vergil in English , was an ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period. He is known for three major works of Latin literature, the Eclogues , the Georgics, and the epic Aeneid...

, Ovid
Ovid
Publius Ovidius Naso , known as Ovid in the English-speaking world, was a Roman poet who is best known as the author of the three major collections of erotic poetry: Heroides, Amores, and Ars Amatoria...

, Horace
Horace
Quintus Horatius Flaccus , known in the English-speaking world as Horace, was the leading Roman lyric poet during the time of Augustus.-Life:...

, Cicero
Cicero
Marcus Tullius Cicero , was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.He introduced the Romans to the chief...

 and Cato
Cato
-Literature:*Distichs of Cato, or simply Cato, a Latin collection of proverbial wisdom and morality from the 3rd or 4th century AD author Dionysius Cato...

 were much studied with a view to producing a good Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 style and many moral
Moral
A moral is a message conveyed or a lesson to be learned from a story or event. The moral may be left to the hearer, reader or viewer to determine for themselves, or may be explicitly encapsulated in a maxim...

 messages. But he was warned against the views of these pagan
Paganism
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

 authors, to counterbalance which he studied the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 and the Church Fathers
Church Fathers
The Church Fathers, Early Church Fathers, Christian Fathers, or Fathers of the Church were early and influential theologians, eminent Christian teachers and great bishops. Their scholarly works were used as a precedent for centuries to come...

. In particular, he studied the Devotio Moderna
Devotio Moderna
Devotio Moderna, or Modern Devotion, was a 14th century new religious movement, with Gerard Groote as a key founder. Other well known members included Thomas à Kempis who was the likely author of the book The Imitation of Christ which proved to be highly influential for centuries.Groote's initial...

; a mystical approach based on Thomas a Kempis's
Thomas à Kempis
Thomas à Kempis was a late Medieval Catholic monk and the probable author of The Imitation of Christ, which is one of the best known Christian books on devotion. His name means, "Thomas of Kempen", his home town and in German he is known as Thomas von Kempen...

 Imitation of Christ
Imitation of Christ
In Christian theology, the Imitation of Christ is the practice of following the example of Jesus. In Eastern Christianity the term Life in Christ is sometimes used for the same concept....

 - in particular, imitation of his sufferings. Jan paid for his studies, as many poor boys did, by serving in the kitchen, or attending to richer students, and performing menial tasks, such as ringing the bell. According to the anonymous monk who was his first biographer (1519), he could not afford candles, so he read, after a hard day, high up in the bell tower by the light of the moon. He never managed to develop a good Latin style - it was apparently always rough and full of mistakes - and he knew nothing of the Greek that was kindling the enthusiasm of so many of his contemporaries, but he never lost his love of the severe religious life learned at Gouda
Gouda
Gouda is a city and municipality in the western Netherlands, in the province of South Holland. Gouda, which was granted city rights in 1272, is famous for its Gouda cheese, smoking pipes, and 15th-century city hall....

.

On 22 November 1469 he enrolled at Leuven University but seems to have moved on to Paris very soon afterwards. Here he again performed menial services - this time for the monks of Sainte Genevieve - in return for his education. He got his degree in 1475. He was immediately asked to become Regent
Regent
A regent, from the Latin regens "one who reigns", is a person selected to act as head of state because the ruler is a minor, not present, or debilitated. Currently there are only two ruling Regencies in the world, sovereign Liechtenstein and the Malaysian constitutive state of Terengganu...

 - that is, student-master - in the Collège de Montaigu
Collège de Montaigu
The Collège de Montaigu was one of the constituent colleges of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Paris. The college, originally called the Collège des Aicelins, was founded in 1314 by Giles Aicelin, the Archbishop of Rouen...

, where he also began his (more advanced) studies in Theology
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

. Soon afterwards, he visited a renowned Italian hermit
Hermit
A hermit is a person who lives, to some degree, in seclusion from society.In Christianity, the term was originally applied to a Christian who lives the eremitic life out of a religious conviction, namely the Desert Theology of the Old Testament .In the...

 who had been invited to France by the King, Charles VIII
Charles VIII of France
Charles VIII, called the Affable, , was King of France from 1483 to his death in 1498. Charles was a member of the House of Valois...

. This was St Francis of Paola
Francis of Paola
Saint Francis of Paola was an Italian mendicant friar and the founder of the Roman Catholic Order of the Minims.-Biography:...

, who had given up all possessions, (he had walked to France from Italy), including the personal use of money, and subjected himself to severe privations in terms of food, clothing, cleanliness, heat and bedding. Jan was tremendously struck by Francis's air of saintliness.

Collège de Montaigu


On 30 May 1483, he became Master of the Collège de Montaigu
Collège de Montaigu
The Collège de Montaigu was one of the constituent colleges of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Paris. The college, originally called the Collège des Aicelins, was founded in 1314 by Giles Aicelin, the Archbishop of Rouen...

, a home for poor students from far away. The College had been founded in 1314 by Giles Aycelin, in Normandy
Normandy
Normandy is a geographical region corresponding to the former Duchy of Normandy. It is in France.The continental territory covers 30,627 km² and forms the preponderant part of Normandy and roughly 5% of the territory of France. It is divided for administrative purposes into two régions:...

, France - who was the Archbishop of Rouen
Archbishop of Rouen
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Rouen is an Archdiocese of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church in France. As one of the fifteen Archbishops of France, the ecclesiastical province of the archdiocese comprises the majority of Normandy....

 from 1311 to 1319). Later that year, he was also made the librarian for the Sorbonne
Sorbonne
The Sorbonne is an edifice of the Latin Quarter, in Paris, France, which has been the historical house of the former University of Paris...

, the famous Theology Faculty of the University of Paris
University of Paris
The University of Paris was a university located in Paris, France and one of the earliest to be established in Europe. It was founded in the mid 12th century, and officially recognized as a university probably between 1160 and 1250...

.

The College was in great disrepair when Jan Standonck took over - some of the walls were falling down. It had become known as the Collège de Montaigu, after the Archbishop's brother, and Jan was to make it famous. He imposed a very severe regime on the students. They could leave only with his permission and had to return before nightfall - he took the key from the porter every night. They wore only a single cloth gown and were given only a piece of bread each day to eat. They had to go to the door of a nearby monastery at eleven o'clock each morning to receive a hand-out of food. They were punished for the slightest fault, and were encouraged - out of pure charity - to inform of any misdemeanours, and to criticise each other's conduct. Erasmus
Desiderius Erasmus
Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus , known as Erasmus of Rotterdam, was a Dutch Renaissance humanist, Catholic priest, and a theologian....

, one of the students, later said he did not think anyone could forget - or even survive unscathed - their time at the College.

On 16 December 1485, Standonck was elected Rector of the University. The students rose up in violent protest, such was his reputation for severity and strictness. (On 10 April 1490 he made a formal complaint to the authorities that students were not attending his lectures).

Reform of the clergy


In 1490 he received his Doctorate
Doctorate
A doctorate is an academic degree or professional degree that in most countries refers to a class of degrees which qualify the holder to teach in a specific field, A doctorate is an academic degree or professional degree that in most countries refers to a class of degrees which qualify the holder...

 in Theology
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

, though he never made any original contribution to Theology. He just was not interested in this abstract speculation. Indeed, in the disputation
Disputation
In the scholastic system of education of the Middle Ages, disputations offered a formalized method of debate designed to uncover and establish truths in theology and in sciences...

s that he is recorded as having carried out, with other University Doctors, he always comes off second best. He was more interested in the practical means of salvation - in his terms, a return to poverty and complete self-denial - and these he preached, in a Flemish accent, but in powerful French. He followed the rule of Francis of Paola very strictly and preached that all priests and monks should do so too. By 1493, there were 80 students at the College. They only left when they went to a monastery or to become a parish priest. Standonck hoped by this means to reform the church. In the same year, the King had set up a Commission to examine abuses in the church and he was asked to give a lecture to them, which he did on 12 November at Tours
Tours
Tours is a city in central France, the capital of the Indre-et-Loire department.It is located on the lower reaches of the river Loire, between Orléans and the Atlantic coast. Touraine, the region around Tours, is known for its wines, the alleged perfection of its local spoken French, and for the...

. In this he set out a long list of demands. Most of these were familiar to church reformers - only fit and proper persons should be priests, there should be no money charged for their services, or for accepting a post. There should be free election (by fit and proper priests) of their bishop
Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

s, or monks of their abbot
Abbot
The word abbot, meaning father, is a title given to the head of a monastery in various traditions, including Christianity. The office may also be given as an honorary title to a clergyman who is not actually the head of a monastery...

s, and all other religious positions (including teachers at the University). He added demands that the priests and monks should lead exemplary lives. This meant his by now well known strictly ascetic life - including enforcing celibacy
Celibacy
Celibacy is a personal commitment to avoiding sexual relations, in particular a vow from marriage. Typically celibacy involves avoiding all romantic relationships of any kind. An individual may choose celibacy for religious reasons, such as is the case for priests in some religions, for reasons of...

 among the clergy.

Meanwhile, his reputation for saintliness was growing. He was made a Canon
Canon (priest)
A canon is a priest or minister who is a member of certain bodies of the Christian clergy subject to an ecclesiastical rule ....

 of Beauvais
Beauvais
Beauvais is a city approximately by highway north of central Paris, in the northern French region of Picardie. It currently has a population of over 60,000 inhabitants.- History :...

 on 11 November 1493. In the following year, he asked the monks of Chartreux
Chartreux
The Chartreux is a breed of domestic cat from France and is recognised by a number of registries around the world. It is not recognised by the GCCF in the UK, ostensibly for being too similar to the British Shorthair, one of whose colours is a similar blue-grey. The Chartreux is large and...

 to oversee the spiritual welfare of his college, which he had set on a firmer footing, with regular rules, approved by the Chapter
Chapter (religion)
Chapter designates certain corporate ecclesiastical bodies in the Roman Catholic, Anglican and Nordic Lutheran churches....

 of Notre Dame Cathedral. The Admiral of France
Admiral of France
The title Admiral of France is one of the Great Officers of the Crown of France, the naval equivalent of Marshal of France.The title was created in 1270 by Louis IX of France, during the Eighth Crusade. At the time it was equivalent to the office of Constable of France. The Admiral was responsible...

, Louis Malet de Graville gave him a property which brought in 120 livres a year, which he used for the College. The Admiral also paid for a new building. He got another gift to the same value the following year from Jean de Rochechouart, which he dedicated to the college. When he preached at St Georges at Abbéville during Lent
Lent
In the Christian tradition, Lent is the period of the liturgical year from Ash Wednesday to Easter. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer – through prayer, repentance, almsgiving and self-denial – for the annual commemoration during Holy Week of the Death and...

 in 1496, the only payment he asked for was some black and grey cloth to clothe his students.

In 1498, king Manuel I of Portugal
Manuel I of Portugal
Manuel I , the Fortunate , 14th king of Portugal and the Algarves was the son of Infante Ferdinand, Duke of Viseu, , by his wife, Infanta Beatrice of Portugal...

 complained officially to France for the sale of portuguese merchandise taken by french corsairs via Admiral Graville. To appease the king, Standonck offered two scholarships for worthy portuguese students in the college. The king accepted, becoming a benefactor of Collège de Montaigu, sending Diogo de Gouveia
Diogo de Gouveia
Diogo de Gouveia , known as Diogo de Gouveia, the Elder to distinguish him from contemporary homonyms such as his nephew, was a leading Portuguese teacher, theologian, diplomat and humanist during the Renaissance...

 to study there in 1499.

Reform spreads


His message of a reformed clergy was in great demand (though interestingly, he had to call for armed help from the Admiral's men to evict an Augustinian friar from the pulpit at Abbéville
Abbeville
Abbeville is a commune in the Somme department in Picardie in northern France.-Location:Abbeville is located on the Somme River, from its modern mouth in the English Channel, and northwest of Amiens...

). Later that year he tried to bring a heretic
Heresy
Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

 to see the error of his ways. Jean Langlois
Jean Langlois
Jean Langlois was a Quebec lawyer, professor and political figure. He represented Montmorency in the Canadian House of Commons as a Conservative member from 1867 to 1878....

 was a priest who had travelled widely - in Spain, Provence
Provence
Provence ; Provençal: Provença in classical norm or Prouvènço in Mistralian norm) is a region of south eastern France on the Mediterranean adjacent to Italy. It is part of the administrative région of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur...

, Italy and Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

 where he had picked up some dangerous ideas. On 3 June 1496 he pushed the priest serving Mass
Mass
Mass can be defined as a quantitive measure of the resistance an object has to change in its velocity.In physics, mass commonly refers to any of the following three properties of matter, which have been shown experimentally to be equivalent:...

 at Notre Dame Cathedral and scattered the Hosts from the chalice
Chalice (cup)
A chalice is a goblet or footed cup intended to hold a drink. In general religious terms, it is intended for drinking during a ceremony.-Christian:...

 before stamping all over them and declaring the idea of the real presence
Real Presence
Real Presence is a term used in various Christian traditions to express belief that in the Eucharist, Jesus Christ is really present in what was previously just bread and wine, and not merely present in symbol, a figure of speech , or by his power .Not all Christian traditions accept this dogma...

 of Christ
Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

 in them to be a superstition
Superstition
Superstition is a belief in supernatural causality: that one event leads to the cause of another without any process in the physical world linking the two events....

. He was also a brother of one of Standonck's students, so Jan visited him in prison to try to get him to repent, which he did. However, when he learned he was to be handed over to the civil authorities - to be put to death - he retracted his repentance. He was ceremoniously stripped of his priesthood in front of Notre Dame, and the public executioner chopped off the hand that had offensively touched the sacred chalice. He was then put backwards on a donkey and led to the pig market to be burned. Standonck followed him all the way, preaching and imploring him to repent until he was so exhausted he could not speak. Langlois repented just as he was being burned. Standonck declared that from henceforth he would maintain a strict Lenten fast
Fasting
Fasting is primarily the act of willingly abstaining from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. An absolute fast is normally defined as abstinence from all food and liquid for a defined period, usually a single day , or several days. Other fasts may be only partially restrictive,...

.

The demands for his services were so much that he had to went for help to the Brothers of the Common Life in Holland (Windesheim
Windesheim
The name Windesheim may refer to:* Windesheim, Netherlands, a place in the Netherlands, near Zwolle*the Christelijke Hogeschool Windesheim, a Christian institution of higher education there...

), who agreed to send him six priests, led by Jean de Bruxelles, and including an interpreter. These, along with Montaigu graduates, he sent to monasteries and bishops who asked for help in reforming their priests. They would work by setting an example of a strict ascetic life of prayer and devotion. Many monks began to suspect some order of take-over. Still others began resenting the suggestion they did not know how to live a holy life, while still others felt that Standonck's approach was too extreme. He had mixed success, and the Dutch brothers returned home. He won some powerful enemies in several prestigious convent
Convent
A convent is either a community of priests, religious brothers, religious sisters, or nuns, or the building used by the community, particularly in the Roman Catholic Church and in the Anglican Communion...

s, including St Victor.

Opposition grows


On 27 October 1496, the Chapter of Notre Dame Cathedral ordered all the priests in the diocese
Diocese
A diocese is the district or see under the supervision of a bishop. It is divided into parishes.An archdiocese is more significant than a diocese. An archdiocese is presided over by an archbishop whose see may have or had importance due to size or historical significance...

 to give up any women they were living with. There was violent opposition to this. The following year he got one vote in the election for Archbishop of Rheims and Jan was persuaded to use this as a challenge to the dubious methods used by the winner, the candidate of the King. Charles VIII had died and the new king, Louis XII
Louis XII of France
Louis proved to be a popular king. At the end of his reign the crown deficit was no greater than it had been when he succeeded Charles VIII in 1498, despite several expensive military campaigns in Italy. His fiscal reforms of 1504 and 1508 tightened and improved procedures for the collection of taxes...

 was crowned by the new archbishop at Rheims Cathedral on 17 December 1498. To consolidate his position, Louis divorced his wife, Jeanne
Joan of France, Duchess of Berry
Joan of France was briefly Queen consort of France as wife of King Louis XII of France, in between the death of her brother, Charles VIII, and the annulment of her marriage....

, and married the widow, Queen Anne
Anne of Brittany
Anne, Duchess of Brittany , also known as Anna of Brittany , was a Breton ruler, who was to become queen to two successive French kings. She was born in Nantes, Brittany, and was the daughter of Francis II, Duke of Brittany and Margaret of Foix. Her maternal grandparents were Queen Eleanor of...

, of the late King, who had been his nephew. Jan unwisely advised the Queen against the marriage and preached against divorce (interestingly enough, except in cases of adultery). Early the following year, he, along with the other Doctors in the University went on strike in protest against what they saw as unlawful interference in their affairs by the King. He was prominent in setting out their case. He also helped one of the more forceful opponents of the divorce escape. The King got his divorce and set about punishing his opponents. Standonck was lucky to get only two years exile. He handed over direction of the College to Noël Béda and John Mair
John Mair
John Mair was a Scottish philosopher, much admired in his day and an acknowledged influence on all the great thinkers of the time. He was a very renowned teacher and his works much collected and frequently republished across Europe...

 and set off to Cambrai
Cambrai
Cambrai is a commune in the Nord department in northern France. It is a sub-prefecture of the department.Cambrai is the seat of an archdiocese whose jurisdiction was immense during the Middle Ages. The territory of the Bishopric of Cambrai, roughly coinciding with the shire of Brabant, included...

 in his native Flanders, where he was welcomed by the Bishop.

Last years


He used the time in exile to continue preaching and he founded schools, based on the rule of the Collège de Montaigu
Collège de Montaigu
The Collège de Montaigu was one of the constituent colleges of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Paris. The college, originally called the Collège des Aicelins, was founded in 1314 by Giles Aicelin, the Archbishop of Rouen...

 in various towns, including his hometown of Mechlin, Breda
Breda
Breda is a municipality and a city in the southern part of the Netherlands. The name Breda derived from brede Aa and refers to the confluence of the rivers Mark and Aa. As a fortified city, the city was of strategic military and political significance...

 and his old University of Leuven
Catholic University of Leuven
The Catholic University of Leuven, or of Louvain, was the largest, oldest and most prominent university in Belgium. The university was founded in 1425 as the University of Leuven by John IV, Duke of Brabant and approved by a Papal bull by Pope Martin V.During France's occupation of Belgium in the...

. Later he founded one at Beauvais
Beauvais
Beauvais is a city approximately by highway north of central Paris, in the northern French region of Picardie. It currently has a population of over 60,000 inhabitants.- History :...

, where he was canon of the Cathedral. In Brussels
Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

 he preached to the Archduke Philip of Austria
Philip I of Castile
Philip I , known as Philip the Handsome or the Fair, was the first Habsburg King of Castile...

 and he visited the Brothers at Windesheim
Windesheim
The name Windesheim may refer to:* Windesheim, Netherlands, a place in the Netherlands, near Zwolle*the Christelijke Hogeschool Windesheim, a Christian institution of higher education there...

 and Gouda
Gouda
Gouda is a city and municipality in the western Netherlands, in the province of South Holland. Gouda, which was granted city rights in 1272, is famous for its Gouda cheese, smoking pipes, and 15th-century city hall....

. Louis XII, under pressure, relented in 1500, signing very fulsome testimonial on 17 April. On 21 August that year, Pope Alexander VI
Pope Alexander VI
Pope Alexander VI , born Roderic Llançol i Borja was Pope from 1492 until his death on 18 August 1503. He is one of the most controversial of the Renaissance popes, and his Italianized surname—Borgia—became a byword for the debased standards of the Papacy of that era, most notoriously the Banquet...

 formally agreed to the rules Standonck had set out for his colleges and the following year, he set out to visit new ones at Valenciennes
Valenciennes
Valenciennes is a commune in the Nord department in northern France.It lies on the Scheldt river. Although the city and region had seen a steady decline between 1975 and 1990, it has since rebounded...

, Leyden and Harlem
Harlem
Harlem is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Manhattan, which since the 1920s has been a major African-American residential, cultural and business center. Originally a Dutch village, formally organized in 1658, it is named after the city of Haarlem in the Netherlands...

, as well as re-Mechlin. In 1502, he received one vote for the Bishopric of Paris, but wisely did not follow this up. He tried to convert another heretic
Heresy
Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

, but this time he failed, but he had not lost his typically medieval taste for litigation. In 1503, he took one of the College masters (Jacques Almain
Jacques Almain
Jacques Almain was a prominent professor of theology at the University of Paris when he died at an early age. Born in the diocese of Sens, he studied Arts at the Collège de Montaigu of the University of Paris. He served as Rector of the university in 1507.-Life:Beginning in 1508, Jacques Almain...

) to court for leaving, taking some students with him. They were ordered to return. He later fell ill with a fever, so bad that the doctors insisted he take some meat, which he did. He echoed St Francis of Assis in welcoming the fever bouts with "Welcome, Sister Fever!". He recovered a little but had a relapse in early 1504. He died during the night of 4th and 5 February and was immediately buried without ceremony at the door of the chapel, so that people could walk over his grave. The inscription was "Souvenez-vous du pauvre homme Standonck" - remember the poor man, Standonck.

Influence


There is no doubting the tremendous influence of Standonck at the time and the college founded was for centuries one of the most prestigious in the world, producing scholars and ardent reformers of all camps, including Béda, John Mair, Erasmus and later Calvin
John Calvin
John Calvin was an influential French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation. He was a principal figure in the development of the system of Christian theology later called Calvinism. Originally trained as a humanist lawyer, he broke from the Roman Catholic Church around 1530...

 and Loyola
Ignatius of Loyola
Ignatius of Loyola was a Spanish knight from a Basque noble family, hermit, priest since 1537, and theologian, who founded the Society of Jesus and was its first Superior General. Ignatius emerged as a religious leader during the Counter-Reformation...

. His form of reform - the education of exemplary clergy - was taken over in the Catholic Reformation but was rejected by the more radical reform demanded by Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

, Calvin and Knox
John Knox
John Knox was a Scottish clergyman and a leader of the Protestant Reformation who brought reformation to the church in Scotland. He was educated at the University of St Andrews or possibly the University of Glasgow and was ordained to the Catholic priesthood in 1536...

, for whom personal mortification rather missed the point. The Catholic
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

reformer Erasmus agreed. His judgement on Jan Standonk was that his intentions were good, but he lacked judgement. Erasmus's own judgement on the Collège de Montaigu was brutal indeed. Others - John Mair, for example - looked back on it with immense gratitude and respect.