Hermits used to find caves
to live in and earned their living
by the work of their hands.
Fr. Z posted on a new group near Asheville, North Carolina, looking for donations to purchase property to establish a hermitage dedicated to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, following the primitive rule of St. Albert.
By a gift of Divine Providence, we have been led to a 400-acre mountain retreat property in the Blue Ridge Mountains about one hour from Asheville, North Carolina. The owners have desired for 35 years that this place be consecrated to God and have been waiting for religious to realize that. Now, they desire our community of traditional hermits to make this another Mount Carmel for Our Lord and Our Lady. - HermitsNeither Fr. Z nor the hermit's website identifies any contact person, they say they are Catholic laymen seeking to establish a traditional contemplative community of hermits, and they are asking for a great deal of money to purchase the property.
Untried, untested vocations?
Before you jump on board, I would suggest getting some details. Is this an offshoot of an existing group? Are these men all laymen? Is their no priest? Are they experienced in religious life? More importantly, are they authorized by the diocese to ask for donations? They say they are seeking canonical recognition - which means they do not have it right now. Is this their own initiative? Normally a diocesan bishop invites a community to make a foundation, and or, gives permission to establish a group - the website gives no indication of any such approval.
Fr. Z offers no clue as to the identity or the legitimacy of the group save for revealing he received the news in an email. There is not even a link to the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte.
There are groups of traditional Carmelite Hermits in the U.S. already: Minnesota, Wyoming and Texas. They all have diocesan approval, each is asking for donations to build, and at least one is safely under the umbrella of O. Carm. authority. Which means, a new Bishop is less likely to dissolve a contemplative community/association of the faithful of diocesan right because they are too traditional.
I recall a friend of mine who established a monastic group for men. He had years of experience as a monk. He is a priest. He was invited by the Bishop of the diocese to form a traditional community - and he did so publicly. He had everything in place. His community is doing well. He asks for donations, but he does so transparently and with the approval of the local ordinary. Everything is in order.
Make sure you know who and what you are supporting. Before donating, I would suggest contacting the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte.