Thomas à Kempis (c. 1380 – 25 July 1471), was a German-Dutch canon regular of the late medieval period and the author of The Imitation of Christ, one of the most popular and best known Christian devotional books. His name means Thomas “of Kempen”, his home town, and in German he is known as Thomas von Kempen (in Dutch, Thomas van Kempen).
He was a member of the Modern Devotion, a spiritual movement during the late medieval period, and a follower of Geert Groote and Florens Radewyns, the founders of the Brethren of the Common Life.
Thomas à Kempis wrote the biographies of New Devotion members—Gerard Groote, Floris Radewijns, Jan van de Gronde, and Jan Brinckerinck. His important works include a series of sermons to the novices of St. Augustine Monastery, including Prayers and Meditations on the Life of Christ, Meditations on the Incarnation of Christ, Of True Compunction of Heart, Soliloquy of the Soul, Garden of Roses, Valley of Lilies, and a Life of St. Lidwina of Schiedam. Kempis’s 1441 autograph manuscript of The Imitation of Christ is available in the Bibliothèque Royale in Brussels (shelfmark: MS 5455-61).