Catharose de Petri – Messenger of Gnostic Christianity

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Catharose de Petri portrait
Catharose de Petri

Catharose de Petri (1902 -1990), together with Jan van Rijckenborgh,  held the spiritual leadership of the Lectorium Rosicrucianum. She fulfilled her own task in terms of spiritual development and the worldwide expansion of the work of the Spiritual School of the Rosyross.

The real name of Catharose de Petri was Hendrikje Stok-Huizer. Even as a child she was a ‘seeker’ and felt herself a stranger in this world. Later – in the 1920‘s – she became one of the the founders of the Lectorium Rosicrucianum. At her side was Jan van Rijckenborgh.

The foundation and leadership of a spiritual school with the aim of guiding a group of seeking people into the world of soul and spirit is a task that must be based on an inner vocation. Catharose de Petri, as she reported afterwards, experienced such a vocation at the age of 28 years “from the bonafide Order of Holy Rosycross”. It was a spiritual experience that occured after many philosophical and religious considerations. She then knew “that the Rosycross must be introduced as a school with spiritual power to all those who long for the liberation of the soul”.

The liberation of the soul from bondage to the world of mortal matter is the inner longing to which Catharose de Petri refers. The term ‘spiritual’ is used because the Lectorium Rosicrucianum is not a ‘personality’ school and its focus is not limited to aspects of the soul. Rather, the aim is to enable the direct connection of the human soul with the highest power, the Spirit of Christ.

The Experience of being a Stranger in this World

Even at the age of eight, Hendrikje (Henny) Huizer thought intensively about existential questions of human existence, such as the reason for and very essence of human life here on Earth. She was born the daughter of a shipbuilder in Rotterdam. Her father came from a Protestant home and, her mother’s family belonged to the Re-Reformed Church, but her parents were not active in support of their belief. In this milieu, Hendrikje’s urge for inner knowledge was not understood, and the catechism teachings, which she received from a Re-Reformed preacher, did not give her satisfactory answers.

After school, she was employed in an office. But here also she suffered from the fact that she could not share her inner world with anybody. She often felt strange and misunderstood by her colleagues and friends,

Over the years her inner vocation became more profound, and a central question appeared more and more clearly: “What is my life based on?” In 1929, she married H. J. Stok, who brought her in contact with the “Nederlandse Genootschap Rozekruisers”, the Dutch arm of Max Heindel’s Rosicrucian Fellowship in Oceanside, California.

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