Hermits and a book recommendation

Silence, Solitude, Simplicity

A few summers ago I met two hermits when I went to a Monastic Institute in Collegeville, MN. Both are women, one in her mid-fifties, the other, Sr. Jeremy Hall OSB, is now in her late 80s and probably could be called a “retired hermit”. By that I mean that she is back living communally with the Benedictines of St. Benedict monastery.

I got to know the younger hermit a little over a few days as we discussed her life, our poetry and spiritual direction. She goes out of her house once a month for groceries and spiritual direction with Sr. Jeremy. I think she has been a hermit for almost 20 years. I found her to be very down to earth and then shy and then very observant. Our conversations followed a particular rhythm that was quite comfortable for me.

I only greeted and had small talk with Sr. Jeremy. But,now I feel I’m getting to know her because I’ve chosen to do sacred reading of her book Silence, Solitude, Simplicity: A Hermit’s Love Affair with a Noisy, Crowded and Complicated World (Liturgical Press, 2007). I’m still in the first section called -A Benedictine Way to God- in which she covers many of the Benedictine charisms which we discussed at our last Oblate Day in Rock Island. The next two sections are called Desert Spirituality and God’s Questions. I look forward early each morning to reading a few paragraphs because I know I will be fed. Sr. Jeremy writes in a quintessentially Benedictine manner I think backing up her wise insights with very relevent and numerous quotes. I am so struck by her profound grappling with the Rule.

Some days, when the yearing for solitude and for prayer time fills me I wish I could be in a hermitage. I’ve imagined being a hermit (a mature one already!!). Have you ever imagined that? Have you met a hermit? I hope some of you will pick up Sr. Jeremy’s book.

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2 thoughts on “Hermits and a book recommendation

  1. Hello and Peace Be In and Around You:

    Having read many of your blogs. I find it both comforting and intriguing this way of life. I being baptized Catholic in the earliest 1950’s have been on a lifes mission in travel to discover God, His followers and His various other religions. It has taken me mostly through the orient but it has been a highly richened education of human kind through many religions (mostly Catholic). I believe as an individual of the Rule of St. Benedict and pretty-much follow it quite throughly. I don’t belong to any abbey or affiliation, I am mostly alone, mostly in prayer and prayful thought and highly diciplined. I guess I may be more like the early hermits of the Benedictine order because I am soooooooooooo very private.
    It’s a diffcult life when you look at it through the eyes of those who don’t have any ideal that it is Christ I serve and live to please through His Divine Father’s will.
    It pleasures me that there are those of us out here in this BIG world that follow the Rule of St. Benedict and can do so whole heartedly in true peace and comfort.
    I pray God’s Diving light pave a path of gentle, secure comfort to and for you. Again, it delightful reading your words and experiences.
    Sincerely,
    S. Gaijivada

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  2. I can empathize with S. Gaijivada. I too follow the Rule of St. Benedict in my daily life, having been attracted to Benedictine Spirituality for many years and I also am not affiliated with any abbey or monastery, although I was for many years. I am retired from active ministry as a permanent deacon and live alone, so there is something of a hermit dimension to my life. May the Lord bless us and St. Benedict protect
    us, who live out here in the BIG world.

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