Hans Urs VonBalthasar

Dr. Adrienne Von Speyr  (1902-1967)

BORN in Lucerne, Switzerland, Hans Urs Von Balthasar joined the Society of Jesus in 1929.  He served as university chaplain in Basel from 1940-1948, where he met the physician, Adrienne Von Speyr.  Following her conversion to Catholicism, she became renowned as a mystic, stigmatist, and visionary.  Under their combined influence a lay institute, the Society of St. John (Johannes Gemeinschaft) was founded.  Controversy over the nature and validity of Von Speyr’s visions and insights eventually resulted in Von Balthasar leaving the Jesuits in 1950 to join the Johannes Gemeinschaft, which had acquired the status of a secular institute.

Although not invited to take part in the Second Vatican Council, in 1969, Pope Paul VI appointed him to the International Theological Commission. From the nadir of having been requested not to teach as a result of leaving the Jesuits, his reputation rose to the extent that Pope John Paul II created him cardinal in 1988. However, he died in his home in Basel on June 26 1988, two days before the ceremony at which he would have received the red hat.

Von Balthasar’s writings include his incomplete Herrlichkeit (The Glory of the Lord), as well as the writings of Dr. Von Speyr, whose visions he recorded and whose writings he edited.


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