The number of monastic institutions in the island is very small.
Towards the end of Ruysbroeck's life, in 1378, he was visited by the fervid lay-preacher Gerhard Groot (1340-1384), who was so impressed by the life of the community at Groenendal that he conceived the idea of founding a Christian brotherhood, bound by no monastic vows, but living together in simplicity and piety with all things in common, after the apostolic pattern.
There are traces of monastic buildings near the church, for it belonged to a Benedictine house of early Norman foundation.
The church is cruciform and the altar stands beneath the eastern lantern arch, a fine rood screen separating off the choir, which was devoted to monastic use, while the nave was kept for the parishioners, in consequence of a dispute between the vicar and the monastery in 1499.
Their founder was Johann Conrad Beissel (1690-1768), a native of Eberbach and one of the first emigrants, who, after living as a hermit for several years on Mill Creek, Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, founded the sect (1725), then again lived as a hermit in a cave (formerly occupied by another hermit, one Elimelech) on the Cocalico Creek in Pennsylvania, and in 1732-1735 established a semi-monastic community (the "Order of the Solitary") with a convent (the "Sister House") and a monastery (the "Brother House") at Ephrata, in what is now Lancaster county, about 55 m.