exploration ... in search of traces of God

Research group

The members of the community and the fellow travelers are in contact with researchers who share the experience of being moved by God. Together, we form an association that makes the results of this personal research fruitful for all. This collaboration makes it possible to offer a wider selection of flowers from the garden of mysticism. This research group is of course internationally oriented.

Hein Blommestijn

Spiritual accompaniment

Spiritual accompaniment is not only a practice but also a field of research, because the concrete processes of realization in people being accompanied and in texts that are read mutually clarify one another. God’s workings are not limited by eras or regions, nor are they tied to a social or cultural context or linguistic skills.

Accessibility of mystical texts

In order to make their riches fruitful for a new generation en new readers, it is essential to make these texts accessible by means of publication and, where possible, mystagogic commentaries. There are still many magnificent manuscripts that remain hidden in archives. Jean de Saint-Samson is a current example of this.

Jos Huls

Spiritual accompaniment

The intensive practice of spiritual accompaniment is a continual occasion for reflection on the essence of this practice and on the processes of realization that the persons being accompanied go through. The intensity of the experience of being moved by God and the intangibility of this process in particular are a continuous topic of research.

Mystical heritage

The mystical heritage of the monastic life, of Carmel, but also of mystical authors from northern countries such as Dag Hammarskjöld and Søren Kierkegaard are alternately subjects of research. This alternation yields insight into the essence of the mystical love, as I argued on the basis of Beatrice of Nazareth in a talk during a conference in Nijmegen in 2019.

Rebecca Braun

Franciscan mysticism

The context of life as a Poor Clare in the monastery of Megen is fertile soil for plumbing the depths and current relevance of the texts of Francis and Clare of Assisi. Again and again, it is surprising to discover how these texts run parallel to our processes of realization in the twenty-first century.

To translate is to think along

Translating mystical texts and commentaries is a fruitful process of thinking along and searching for depth of insight. Articles and books written by the members of Ad Montem are usually translated into English by Rebecca.

Carmen Fotescu

Eastern Orthodox Church

The Eastern Orthodox Church has close ties with the lived mystical traditions. Her specialization in the Syrian monasticism of the 12th century gives her her own way of contributing to this field of research and to the communal reflection on the spiritual processes of realization that transcend the borders of countries.

Jean de Saint-Samson

She is a contributor to the publication project Jean de Saint-Samson. First of all, she is studying the four parts that have already been published as well as Hein Blommestijn’s thesis. Next, she will start with the critical edition of part 6 which contains the Carmelite texts, such as the commentary on the Carmelite Rule.

Researchs Projects

Research in to spirituality and mysticism, to our mind, is based on two central convictions. First of all, we find that new experiences and texts always start from the practice of lectio divina or reading Scripture. When Scripture is read in the first person singular, it becomes apparent that the Word of God is being addressed immediately and personally to the reader. This is an intense and fundamental confrontation with one’s personal path and one’s reading of it. Next, we find that mystical texts and important spiritual texts are always a representation of what is lived in person. They don’t present abstract theories or models that are generally applicable. In most cases, the context is formed by mystagogic processes of realization or spiritual accompaniment. These two points of departure, however, apply not only to experiences and texts that have been produced but also to the research into them. To our mind, a researcher should enter into this process of realization personally as well, in order to bring to light and be able to describe this essential level of the object being researched.

Lectio Divina

A personal word

What is essential for the study of spirituality and mysticism is first of all to expose the function of the personal encounter with the Word of God. This applies both to the written word in Scripture and to the word that is inscribed in the total reality of the person, the community, nature, and the universe.

Search for this word

This research aims to show how this encounter with the Word of God is the fundamental starting point of the spiritual and mystical processes of realization in past and present, as they have been recorded in texts or come to light in interviews. The encounter with the word is also the premise that serves as the point of departure for dialogue in spiritual accompaniment.

Beatrice of Nazareth

The encounter with Love

In the little book Seven Ways of Holy Minne, Beatrice of Nazareth (1200-1268) sketched the life of the human person as a varied experience of the encounter with divine Love (Minne). In particular, she shows how this encounter has far-reaching consequences and keeps drawing us further on a journey beyond the horizon of the known.

The path of Minne

The research aims to expose the logic of the path of Minne in all its variety. The significance of this text is mainly of a mystagogic nature and is therefore highly valuable to our current times. In texts and lectures, we strive to let the reader or listener discover the path of Minne as their own personal adventure. After two sessions in Nazareth Abbey in Brecht, these sessions will take place in two Cistercian abbeys in California in the summer of 2020.

Jean de Saint-Samson

The path of pure love

Despite his blindness, Jean de Saint-Samson (1571-1636) left behind about 4000 pages of mystical texts. Central to his thought and his accompaniment of others is the way the encounter with divine Love brings about a ceaseless process of purification. In order to truly come face to face with God, we have to let go of “everything that is not God” on the path that God travels with us. He can be compared with John of the Cross or John of Ruusbroec.

Publishing project

Due to the growing anti-mystical movement after 1650, at this time his mystical texts were published in an adapted or “corrected” form. For this reason, it is of great importance to provide a critical edition of his texts: Oeuvres Complètes (1992, 1993, 2000, 2020), as well as editions in modern languages (French, English, Italian, Dutch …). Work is also being done on writing mystical commentaries on these texts, to make them more accessible. We are in touch with a number of young scholars who are working on dissertations on Jean.

Søren Kierkegaard

Kierkegaard as mystic

Kierkegaard’s work is extremely varied and in many ways he was ahead of his time. He was a theologian and philosopher, but a less obvious and apparently easily forgotten quality of his was that he was a mystical author. Moreover, we find in him biblical spirituality before the term existed. These two latter aspects of his work in particular are central in our research.

The Dark Night

After a series of articles about his texts, and the important and sizable book Being Seen in God, in English and Dutch, work is now being done on an exceedingly important theme in the writings of Kierkegaard: spiritual trial. This, after all, greatly resembles the classic mystical theme of the Dark Night in John of the Cross. After a substantial scholarly article, the time has now come for a book, again in English and Dutch.

Dag Hammarskjöld

A mystically gifted diplomat

After his death in 1961, the politician Dag Hammarskjöld mainly remained well-known due to his mystical journal Markings. In this book it became apparent, not only how familiar he was with mystical authors such as Eckhart, Thomas a Kempis, and John of the Cross, but also and particularly how he had experienced his own relationship with God. Only a mystical or mystagogical reading of this book can expose its treasures.

Mystical commentary

Work is being done on a mystical and mystagogical commentary on the entire book Markings, based on a careful reading of the Swedish text. Because Hammarskjöld’s text is of a great linguistic wealth, a proper understanding of the mystical import is dependent on insight into the stratification of key words in particular.

Titus Brandsma

Philosopher and mystic

When the Catholic University or Radboud University Nijmegen was founded in 1923, Brandsma was appointed as professor of philosophy. Besides the contacts that he had with the Jesuits in 1925 when the Ruusbroec Fellowship was established in Antwerp, as well as the journal Ons Geestelijk Erf, he was also given responsibility for the Institute for the History of Dutch Mysticism within the Faculty of Arts in Nijmegen, where he built up a small library and did a great deal of research into the unknown manuscripts. Particularly in his regular column in the newspaper De Gelderlander, he turned out to be a mystagogue who was able to to spark an interest in mystical texts in a wide audience.

International influence

On the initiative of the Radboud University, work is being done on a project for the publication of texts of Brandsma’s in English. We are collaborating in this on their request. In this context, there are also preparations being made for an international conference on Brandsma, on occasion of the university’s centennial. We are also working on writing some articles on Brandsma’s mysticism.

The founding charism

Love as center

After Vatican II, all religious were encouraged to once again draw inspiration from their “Founding charism”. For many years now, we have therefore been doing research for various congregations within the context of a return to the sources. At the moment, the emphasis is shifting from “identity” to the search for the essence of religious life itself.

Beyond boundaries

The founders of religious communities were often deeply moved by a certain passage from Sacred Scripture in their practice of lectio divina. What is central is always the desire to follow the example of Jesus Christ both inwardly and outwardly, also inspired by the example of the first community of Christians. On the basis of this, it is now essential that from out of the multicolored spectrum of religious life and beyond the boundaries of social identity we go in search of the essence of this movement in the churches.

Contemporary authors

Mysticism of today

It is striking how many spiritual and mystical texts turn up in inheritances left behind after death. This sometimes leads to the question on the part of the next of kin whether “this text” or “this notebook” should be kept and perhaps made fruitful for others. Often these turn out to be pearls, written by people of whom no one suspected this during their life. Being moved by God apparently continues to be an undiminished and living reality, despite the secularization of society.

Caring for the heritage

It is a solemn duty not to limit ourselves to authors and texts from the past that are generally acknowledged and admired. For this reason, we also study texts and authors that are not immediately labeled as mystics or inspiring people who are surrounded by a multitude of followers or guaranteed readers. Because these people are nearer to us in culture and language, it is important to make their texts accessible. In this way, we can offer new generations sources of inspiration for their own processes of realization.


Research translates into publications. If you are interested in one of our books or other publications, have a look at the page below. There you will find our most recent publications. This page also contains a list of publications that resulted from our research.

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