The religious renewal movement ‘Devotio moderna’ (Latin for Modern Devotion) was started in Holland by Gerhardt Groote († 1384) as was his creation, the society Brethren of Common Life (Fraterherren) . They strongly influenced spirituality in the 14th and 15th centuries.
A practical worldly Christianity of active and helping love (care of the sick and poor, schools) open also to lay persons took the place of the monastic ideal of devotion. It stressed meditation and the inner life and attached little importance to ritual and external works. The Imitation of Christ, attributed to Thomas von Kempen, is a classic expression of the movement.
After Groote’s death his disciples founded a house of Augustinian Canons at Windesheim in Holland. The two communities – the former living in the world, the latter monastic – became the principle exponents of devotio moderna which spread to northern France, Spain, Germany and Italy.