Catharose de Petri – Messenger of Gnostic Christianity
Together with Jan van Rijckenborgh, Catharose de Petri (1902 -1990) 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 founding and leading of a spiritual school with the aim to guide 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. Since then, she knew “that the Rosycross as a school with spiritual force must be introduced 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. A spiritual school is mentioned, because the Lectorium Rosicrucianum is not a „personality“ school and not focussed on the apsects of the soul alone. The aim is rather 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 years, Hendrikje (Henny) Huizer intensively thought about existential questions of human existence, for example, the question about the reason for and very essence of human life here on Earth. She was born as the daughter of a shipbuilder in Rotterdam. Her father came from a Protestant home, her mother’s family belonged to the Re-Reformed Church. But her parents did not do much for support in their belief. Hendrikje’s urge for inner knowledge was not understood in this milieu. Also, the teachings in catechism which she received from a Re-Reformed preacher, did not give her the expected answers.
After school, she was employed in office work. 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 at Oceanside, California.