A Canon 603, consecrated, diocesan lay-hermit - who doesn't promote herself.
Teresa Thomas, obviously edified and filled with admiration for her sibling's vocation, wrote a very nice article titled, My Sister the Hermit. Perhaps I'm too literal when it comes to hermits, but I can't help being surprised that so many new contemplatives seem to find so much time away from their prayerful lives to spend online discussing the greatness of their eremetical vocations and spiritual adventures, not to mention the fundraising for upgrades to the hermitage and web access. Anyway - this hermit's story is strikes me as completely genuine and authentic...
My sister is a hermit. No, she’s not shy. I don’t mean that. When I say that my sister is a hermit, what I mean is that she is a religious hermit, a consecrated person, a diocesan hermit to be exact.
“We have great reason to rejoice,” said the bishop in his homily at the Mass of the Rite of Public Profession of the Evangelical Counsels for a Person Following the Eremitic Life, “for Mary becomes the first professed hermit in the diocese … the consecrated life of a hermit goes back to the early years of the Church. Today, Mary embraces a station of life where she separates in some ways from world to be more united with the Lord Jesus.” Encouraging her assembled family he continued, “Be assured we can still talk to her, but most of her day will be spent in prayer. “"She herself would shun it..." Now that's a hermit!
The hermit’s life of silence and solitude is not absolute. Mary’s life follows a plan of life daily including times of complete silence/solitude, but also allows for times of “work” which can include manual labor, language study, works of mercy if a dire need arises, personal spiritual growth, and some very limited spiritual correspondence/direction with people seeking help, as well as occasionally giving retreats or talks, all under the direction of the bishop.
Mary lives a simple life. She dresses plainly, although she has no formal “habit”. Some of the younger nieces and nephews (she has more than 50) call her “Auntie Brown” because of the shades-of-brown clothes and sandals or boots that she wears most of the time. She’s allowed to have some visit time – just not much, and she doesn’t attend social events, parties or get togethers, as a general rule.
Mary’s favorite thing to do, when she is able to visit with family, is cuddle with the youngest nieces and nephews or to strum the guitar and sing with them. She always has a baby on her hip. Mary, the ninth of 13 children, lives in her parents’ home and has a small retreat hermitage on part of their property, where she spends additional prayer time. The building is simple, unheated, and has just enough room for a rocker, a kneeler, a huge crucifix and a blanket. It is there that Mary, when she is not in church, brings her intentions before the Lord.
Mary really did not want me to write this article, because she doesn’t want the attention put on herself. She points to God; she loves Him fiercely. But I convinced her it was okay, telling her that you all would want to know about his as an option – for yourselves or your children – and to know how this all might work if you choose it. Besides I’m her godmother, and older sister. I know how to pressure, even a hermit.
My intention is not to laud the praises of my sibling, though. Oh no, she herself would shun the attention. - Read the entire story here.