Feast of Johann von Staupitz (November 8)   Leave a comment

Martin Luther’s Spiritual Mentor; died in 1524

Johann von Staupitz, born circa 1460, joined the Augustinian Order in 1485.  In 1500 he became a Doctor of Theology.  Two years later Staupitz became Dean of Theology at the University of Wittenberg, then Vicar-General of the German Congregation of Augustinians the following year.  In 1512 he resigned his professorship and moved to southern Germany.  Eight years later Staupitz resigned as Vicar-General.  In 1522 he joined the Benedictines to become Abbot of St. Peter’s in Salzburg, Austria.

While visiting the Augustinian monstery at Eufurt, Staupitz met a monk named Martin Luther.  From 1505 to Staupitz’s death the two men stayed in contact.  Staupitz heard Brother Martin’s lengthy confessions then counseled Luther regarding grace and encouraged him to pursue an academic career.

When Luther sparked the Reformation with the 95 Theses Staupitz understood Luther’s criticisms as valid critiques of church abuses, not dogma or doctrine.  If Staupitz had been in power in the Roman Catholic Church, the Church would have stopped selling indulgences.  But he was not in church power.  Yet Staupitz criticized the Protestant Reformation as schismatic, for he shunned schism.  Staupitz’s connection with Luther caused suspicion to fall upon him, and Pope Paul IV placed his writings on the Index of forbidden books in 1559.


Almighty God, your Holy Spirit gives to one the word of knowledge, and to another the insight of wisdom, and to another the steadfastness of faith.  We praise you for the gifts of grace imparted to your servant Johann von Staupitz, and we pray that by his teaching we may be led to a fuller knowledge of the truth we have seen in your Son Jesus, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Proverbs 3:1-7 or Wisdom 7:7-14

Psalm 119:89-104

1 Corinthians 2:6-10, 13-16 or 1 Corinthians 3:5-11

John 17:18-23 or Matthew 13:47-52


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