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Benedict van Haeften

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Benedictine writer, provost of the Monastery of Afflighem, Belgium ; born at Utrecht, 1588; died 31 July 1648, at Spa, Belgium, whither he had gone to recover his health. After studying philosophy and theology at Louvain, he entered the Benedictine Abbey of Afflighem in 1609, took solemn vows on 14 May, 1611, and was ordained priest in 1613. Hereupon he returned to Louvain to continue his theological studies, but has recalled to his monastery when he was about to receive the licentiate in theology. In 1616 he became prior, and in 1618 Matthias Hovius, Archbishop of Mechlin, who wasat the same time Abbot of Afflighem, appointed him provost of his monastery. Afflighem at the time belonged to the Bursfeld Union, and under the prudent direction of the pious van Haeften was in a flourishing spiritualand temporal condition. Jacob Boonen, who had succeeded Hovious as archbishop and abbot in 1620, desired to join the monastery to the new Congregation of St. Vannes, in Lorraine, which had a stricter constitution than Bursfeld. After some prudent hesitation, van Haeften agreed to the change, and on 18 October, 1627, began his novitiate under the direction under the direction of a monk of the Congregation of Lorraine. Together with eight of his monks, he made confession according to the new reform on 25 October, 1628, and founded the Belgian Congregation of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin. The new reform enjoined perpetual abstinence, daily rising at two o'clock in the morning, and manual labour joined with study.Unhappily the new congregation was of short duration. The intrusion uponthe rights of the monks by the Archbishop of Mechlin brought about its dissolution in 1654.

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Van Haeften is the author of a learned and painstaking work of monastic researches n the life and rule of St. Benedict , entitled: "S. Benedictus illustratus, sive Disquisitionsum monasticarum libri XII, quibus S.P. Benedicti Regula et religiosorum rituum antiquitates varie dilucidantur" (Antwerp, 1644). The other six works of van Haeften that found their way intoprint are of an ascetical character.

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