Chapter

Jean-Joseph Surin: Schizophrenia or Spirituality

John Saward

in Perfect Fools

Published in print December 1980 | ISBN: 9780192132307
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191670046 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780192132307.003.0008
Jean-Joseph Surin: Schizophrenia or Spirituality

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This chapter focuses on the first of Lallemant's disciples, Jean–Joseph Surin. He was one of the most prolific spiritual writers of the 17th century, but for twenty years he suffered a mental illness with many of the symptoms of catatonic schizophrenia. The most promising Jesuit of his generation, he was brought to a condition of total mental collapse following his traumatic experiences as an exorcist Loudun. Later restored to health, he became an indefatigable correspondent and author and, in his later years, an active apostle around Bordeaux. Surin is a classical example of a fool for Christ's sake. It is true that this madness was involuntary and caused him great pain. But by humbly enduring it, he became a witness and prophetic sign.

Keywords: holy folly; holy fools; Jesuits; madness; schizophrenia

Chapter.  13267 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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