Tag Archives: Hermits

Today I Begin

Br Joseph-Solemn Vows 339One of the rarest vocations in the United States seems to be the call to be a hermit.  In fact, there seem to be only two Carmelite men’s communities of true hermits in the United States. Therefore, it is with rejoicing that one hears about the profession of a man or woman to this most ancient of vocations.

The Carmelite hermits trace their lineage back to the 13th century when a group of hermits living on Mount Carmel in Palestine came together under a formula vitae which developed into the Carmelite Rule. Because of the Prophet Elijah’s association with Mount Carmel, the hermits adopted him as their spiritual father. A colony of hermits is called a Laura in which each hermit has an individual hermitage.

Paul Wathen was living in Colorado when he became interested in the writings of St. Teresa of Avila and felt drawn to the contemplative life. As a graduate in electronics and computer science from Indiana State University, Paul was living a good life. Then the 40 year-old made a trip to the Hermits of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel in Christoval, Texas, and received special graces that weekend. “God let me know this was where He wanted me to be. I found a lot of peace.”

Brother Joseph Mary MotherPaul, now Brother Mary Joseph of the Holy Rosary, says the life is not for everyone. But with God calling him, he could not say no. Telling his mother was easy. she was not only supportive, but overjoyed!

The story of the founding of the Christoval hermits is a miracle in itself. Fr. Fabian Rosetti located the isolated land that he wanted for a hermitage but the owner wouldn’t part with it for three reasons: Fr. Fabian was Catholic,  he was a priest, and he was Hispanic. But God’s plans with prayers and sacrifices could not be stopped. Father got his 200 acres with many Protestant workers assisting in the building of the hermitage. In fact, a good number of their regular visitors and friends are Protestant!

See the complete story in the Southern Indiana Catholic newspaper.

Every day I must say to myself: Today I begin –  St. Anthony of the Desert


bear witness to the passing nature of the present age by the inward and outward separation, from the world. By fasting and Penance, they show that man does not live by bread alone but by the work of God. Such a life “In the Desert” is an invitation to their contemporaries and to

The Rise of Hermits

I saw on the internet a list of the Top 10 Hermits in Church history. One might come to the conclusion that this way of life is part of ancient history.

But Canon 603 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law says:

Besides institutes of consecrated life, the Church recognizes the life of hermits or anchorites, in which Christ’s faithful withdraw further from the world and devote their lives to the praise of God and the salvation of the world through the silence of solitude and through constant prayer and penance. Hermits are recognized by law as dedicated to God in consecrated life if, in the hands of the diocesan Bishop, they publicly profess, by a vow or some other sacred bond, the three evangelical counsels, and then lead their particular form of life under the guidance of the diocesan Bishop.

There are several hermits that are members of the IRL. There is also a community of Carmelite Hermits in Houston, MN. The live in separate hermitages and come together for sunday/holy day meals, one hour of daily prayer and the mass. “Our life is a vocation to prayer,” says Sister Miriam, one of the hermits. “This total union with God is how we are called to serve the Church.”

There is also a IRL men’s Affiliate Community that are hermits. They are the Hermits of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel. They live a life of silence, solitude, prayer and penance for the good of the Church and the salvation of the world. The picture to the right is of Bro. Martin Mary who was ordained to the priesthood in May of 2012.

By the way, the top 10 hermits of all time are: St. Simon Stylites, St. Jerome, St. Mary of Egypt, St. Antony the Great, St. Benedict of Nursia, St. Macarius of Egypt, St. Isaac the Syrian, St. Sergius of Radonezh, St. Meinrad and St. Paul the Hermit. (Note to self: Need to read up on some of these hermits!)