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Thomas à Kempis (c. 1380–1471) was a late-Medieval Catholic monk and the probable author of The Imitation of Christ—a classic in Christian literature and one of the best-known books on Christian devotion. His name means “Thomas of Kempen,” his hometown, and in German he is known as Thomas von Kempen. He also is known by various spellings of his family name: Thomas Haemerkken, Thomas Hammerlein, Thomas Hemerken, and Thomas Hämerken.
As he traveled with his brother to attend school in the Netherlands, he was introduced to the Brethren of the Common Life—followers of Gerard Groote's Modern Devotion movement. After finishing school, he joined the Mount St. Agnes monastery, where he spent the rest of his life in devotion and prayer.
Thomas' sermons, meditations, and prayers—compiled in The Works of Thomas à Kempis (7 vols) have influenced many Christian writers.