Born into a poor family in Lorraine, France, Nicholas Herman (later known as Brother Lawrence) grew up and became a soldier and a household servant. He never received any formal education, and yet he left behind one of the classic memoirs of the devotional life.
In 1666 he became a lay brother in the Discalced Carmelite order in Paris. He worked there in the kitchen, calling himself "a servant of the servants of God." He remained there until his death at the age of eighty. In his own life he determined to be an experiment of living every moment in "the presence of God." his attempts to create an habitual state of communion led to new heights of spiritual living. Like a pioneer, he discovered a new world of spiritual living that others, notably Frank Laubach and Thomas Kelly, have since traveled.
No task was too trivial for Brother Lawrence, for he was able to transform the mundane chores of the kitchen into glorious experiences of heaven. Like Benedict and Bernard of Clairvaux, he blended work with prayer. Perhaps no other writer in all of Christian literature so beautifully and simply express the joy of living in the presence of God.