Jump to content
ClemensBruno

Carthusian Monkhood

Recommended Posts

ClemensBruno
I am curious if there are any former Carthusian aspirants, postulants, novices, and monks in this phorum who would be willing to provide me with their perspective and advice on becoming a Carthusian.

Some background: I just discovered and joined this phorum today. God has been calling me to the contemplative life since before my teenage years. Throughout primary education, high school, college, and my professional career, I have been reluctant to answer in the affirmative. Until early this year, responding to his call has been a deep, constant, and private struggle for me. When I finally said, "Yes, Lord," while on a long retreat several months ago, I have been aware of a profound inner sense of peace that had been absent previously for years, unbeknownst to me.

Since then, I have been working toward a graceful transition to life as a Trappist, the Order I long assumed to be in my future. But, then, a few weeks ago, I "discovered" the Carthusians online whose purpose and practices align almost perfectly with my own expectations and predilections for a life of prayer.

I have spent the past few weeks scouring the internet for all things Carthusian, and have now exhausted all virtual resources. I have already begun correspondence with a charterhouse about my vocation. However, I have a few lingering questions for any ex-Carthusian willing to oblige me, such as: On the rare occasions that require verbal communication, is Latin the preferred language in all charterhouses worldwide?

With gratitude for your attention to my cause,
Your Brother in Christ

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
brandelynmarie

:welcome: Praying for you & your intentions...hopefully someone on here has some answers for you. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
miserere55

Hi Clemens Bruno,  Welcome to Phatmass/VS!  I am not a Carthusian, but I had a chaplain/spiritual director that had been a Carthusian at the Grande Chartreuse in France.  He is now a diocesan priest in the USA, but always speaks lovingly and teary-eyed about his time as a carthusian.  He loved it and told many stories of life there. Its an extremely penitential life and a truly solitary one.  Good luck. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Anselm

ClemensBruno,

 

I live very close to the UK's only Charterhouse and go to Mass in the extern chapel there most Sundays. I am hoping to join a Benedictine house before too long (in fact I am going to visit again tomorrow) and, though that life is very different to that of the Carthusians, I have a most profound respect for their life. It is the vocation that I wish I had!

 

May I ask, which country are you in? Do please reply by private message if you would prefer.

 

Anselm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ClemensBruno
Thank you, brandelynmarie and miserere55. I certainly would be grateful for your prayers on my behalf.

Anselm, I am in the US. As you may well know, there are only 17 charterhouses for Carthusian monks worldwide. It seems reasonable--even necessary--that each of the 17 would house an international community, hence my initial question above. If Latin is used as the common tongue, then being sent to one of the 14 charterhouses in non-English-speaking countries would seem less daunting of a challenge for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
maximillion

As far as I am aware the inhabitants of each house speak the common language of the country they are in.

In 'Into Great Silence' (get it if you have not seen the DVD already) the monks spoke French, German and English. Latin seems to be confined to the Liturgy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
VeniJesuAmorMi

Praying that you will soon find where Our Lord has made a place for you.

 

If you haven't seen it already, or want to see it again, Here is the link to "Into Great Silence." It was put on five months ago, but mostly the other ones that have been put on YouTube before I couldn't find, so it may get taken off soon I'm not really sure.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqU18nKiVss

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ClemensBruno
VeniJesuAmorMi, I would be grateful for your prayers. Thank you!!

maximillion and TheresaThoma, thank you for recommending Philip Gröning's film Into Great Silence. I have watched/studied the film several times already. Somehow, I conveniently forgot when I wrote my initial post that the monks communicated in French. So...good point, maximillion!

I also know about, but have yet to read, the book An Infinity of Little Hours (2006) by Nancy Klein Maguire, which I anticipate to be richly informative.

In retrospect, I may be giving this language concern of mine too much weight and allowing it to distract and delay me.

I still wish to connect, however, with any ex-Carthusians out there who may oblige me with their experience.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Julie de Sales

I also know about, but have yet to read, the book An Infinity of Little Hours (2006) by Nancy Klein Maguire, which I anticipate to be richly informative.

 

I wish you all the best in your discernment process! :) I read this book and it was interesting and funny sometimes. It gives a good perspective about the carthusian life and the difficulties that can arise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Anselm

Interestingly, Dom Leo in the book is actually DOm Cyril, who is the monk who says the weekly Mass in the extern chapel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
PhuturePriest
They're not Carthusian, but have you heard of the Carmelite Monks in Wyoming? They are the only Carmelite Monks in the entire world (The rest being Carmelite Friars), and they live cloistered and in separate little huts. Some of the brothers choose to live as hermits, and the brothers travel up the mountain every three days (I think) to give them their food and other necessities.

By the way, my birthday is the Feast Day of Saint Bruno! Edited by FuturePriest387

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ClemensBruno
Anselm,
Thank you for that bit of info. So far, I have only read the Introduction and a few pages of Chapter 1 of An Infinity of Little Hours. Knowing my predilections, I decided to wait for an obligation-free day or two because I can tell that it would be challenging for me to read it casually and intermittently as my schedule permits. It's the kind of book that will draw me in and keep me occupied until I finish it.

Maguire mentions in her Intro that names have been changed in keeping with Carthusian anonymity, one of the aspects that has drawn me to the Carthusians.


Julie de Sales,
Thank you for your encouragement and kind comments. I truly appreciate treading them.


Pia Jesu,
Thank you for your prayer. I will check out the review you mentioned after I finish reading the book.


Father Cute Face,
Yes, I have done a bit of research on the Carmelite Monks in Wyoming, which is essentially a new order founded a mere decade (or two?) ago. The many photos I've found online show the Wyoming monks beaming with happiness. All the monks seem youthful (under 35), maybe a consequence of their continual joy. And they have big plans for an impressive neo-Gothic monastery.

I'm sure the image they project to the outside world is enticing to many who feel a call to contemplative life, not to mention necessary advertising for such a young order. My older brother--who pushed his vocation before he found his true call to married life--seemed to be gripped by pangs of regret when I shared with what I found online... I'm exaggerating here a bit, but not by much.

I, however, do not feel drawn to the Carmelite Monk order in Wyoming. On the contrary, I feel somewhat repelled by the tone of their online presence. I am keeping the details of my reasons private because it has all to do with me, and does not reflect any actual flaw of the order. Suffice it to say that "it's not my cup of tea." But I do applaud the good effects of their existence in the world.

What about you, Father Cute Face? (I know: you're really FuturePriest387, but Father Cute Face is ROFL!!) Could your vocation be for the contemplative life?

How blessed you are to have been born on the Feast Day of St. Bruno! My birthday is on the founding day of the Cistercians.


--Your brother in Christ

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
PhuturePriest

Anselm,
Thank you for that bit of info. So far, I have only read the Introduction and a few pages of Chapter 1 of An Infinity of Little Hours. Knowing my predilections, I decided to wait for an obligation-free day or two because I can tell that it would be challenging for me to read it casually and intermittently as my schedule permits. It's the kind of book that will draw me in and keep me occupied until I finish it.

Maguire mentions in her Intro that names have been changed in keeping with Carthusian anonymity, one of the aspects that has drawn me to the Carthusians.


Julie de Sales,
Thank you for your encouragement and kind comments. I truly appreciate treading them.


Pia Jesu,
Thank you for your prayer. I will check out the review you mentioned after I finish reading the book.


Father Cute Face,
Yes, I have done a bit of research on the Carmelite Monks in Wyoming, which is essentially a new order founded a mere decade (or two?) ago. The many photos I've found online show the Wyoming monks beaming with happiness. All the monks seem youthful (under 35), maybe a consequence of their continual joy. And they have big plans for an impressive neo-Gothic monastery.

I'm sure the image they project to the outside world is enticing to many who feel a call to contemplative life, not to mention necessary advertising for such a young order. My older brother--who pushed his vocation before he found his true call to married life--seemed to be gripped by pangs of regret when I shared with what I found online... I'm exaggerating here a bit, but not by much.

I, however, do not feel drawn to the Carmelite Monk order in Wyoming. On the contrary, I feel somewhat repelled by the tone of their online presence. I am keeping the details of my reasons private because it has all to do with me, and does not reflect any actual flaw of the order. Suffice it to say that "it's not my cup of tea." But I do applaud the good effects of their existence in the world.

What about you, Father Cute Face? (I know: you're really FuturePriest387, but Father Cute Face is ROFL!!) Could your vocation be for the contemplative life?

How blessed you are to have been born on the Feast Day of St. Bruno! My birthday is on the founding day of the Cistercians.


--Your brother in Christ

 

Okay! It's completely understandable if you don't feel attracted to them.

 

I was interested in contemplative life for a while, and I won't say it's not attractive, but I'm far too active and energetic. I could never be confined to a thousand square feet for the rest of my life and still be happy. If the Monks did something like go outside with other people every once in a while, I would consider it more, but that's not their vocation, and I understand that. I'm leaning heavily towards diocesan priesthood at the moment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ClemensBruno
Don't get me wrong, Padre Bel Viso...

I was recently told that I was too social, and needed to slow down to find myself. And this bit of unsolicited advice came from a new friend who was a notorious party dude. For many years in my life, I was rarely home. If not at work, doubtless you would find me in a large dinner party at a trendy restaurant, meeting friends for drinks at the pub-of-the-day, or making my rounds at a friend's house party. I've enjoyed more than my share of fun in life.

Recent events in my life, however, conspired to force me to seek introspection. I now try to maintain a healthy balance of solitude and community, but I have found the benefits of solitude and silence far exceed those of community, at least when given my own predilections. I grew up in a vary religious family in which Mass and the rosary were daily family activities to complement frequent periods of prayer in solitude. In a sense, making time for solitude and silence feels a lot like coming home: it is a natural and important part of me that it is to my own detriment to ignore it.

Given what little I've revealed about myself, it might be understandable why I think a monk's cell is freeing, and not the confinement you described. Besides I would never be alone in a cell. If God gives me the strength to endure and do things properly, my life will be a continuous prayer and focus on God on behalf of the countless souls in the world who never think of Him.

Although important, finding personal happiness is not my goal. In Kantian terms, my categorical imperative is to seek God's Love for the benefit of the Church. Any personal benefit is a mere consequence of God's Mercy to help me endure the Carthusian life.

Anyway... You hit the mark on being highly social, an important issue for which I felt the need to seek some reassurances before contacting any monastery. Unfortunately, my search for reassurance also could have been a fool's errand that merely distracted me and delayed my acting decisively on my vocation.

Hopefully this account clarifies that I seek oneness with our Mother Church, not isolation for its own sake.

I will remember you in my prayers while I remain a nonCarthusian.

--Your brother in Christ

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
PhuturePriest

Don't get me wrong, Padre Bel Viso...

I was recently told that I was too social, and needed to slow down to find myself. And this bit of unsolicited advice came from a new friend who was a notorious party dude. For many years in my life, I was rarely home. If not at work, doubtless you would find me in a large dinner party at a trendy restaurant, meeting friends for drinks at the pub-of-the-day, or making my rounds at a friend's house party. I've enjoyed more than my share of fun in life.

Recent events in my life, however, conspired to force me to seek introspection. I now try to maintain a healthy balance of solitude and community, but I have found the benefits of solitude and silence far exceed those of community, at least when given my own predilections. I grew up in a vary religious family in which Mass and the rosary were daily family activities to complement frequent periods of prayer in solitude. In a sense, making time for solitude and silence feels a lot like coming home: it is a natural and important part of me that it is to my own detriment to ignore it.

Given what little I've revealed about myself, it might be understandable why I think a monk's cell is freeing, and not the confinement you described. Besides I would never be alone in a cell. If God gives me the strength to endure and do things properly, my life will be a continuous prayer and focus on God on behalf of the countless souls in the world who never think of Him.

Although important, finding personal happiness is not my goal. In Kantian terms, my categorical imperative is to seek God's Love for the benefit of the Church. Any personal benefit is a mere consequence of God's Mercy to help me endure the Carthusian life.

Anyway... You hit the mark on being highly social, an important issue for which I felt the need to seek some reassurances before contacting any monastery. Unfortunately, my search for reassurance also could have been a fool's errand that merely distracted me and delayed my acting decisively on my vocation.

Hopefully this account clarifies that I seek oneness with our Mother Church, not isolation for its own sake.

I will remember you in my prayers while I remain a nonCarthusian.

--Your brother in Christ

 

Oh, I'm aware being social doesn't mean you aren't capable of being a Carthusian. But I feel more called to reach out and save souls personally through the diocesan priesthood, rather than through prayer in a Carthusian cell. Trust me, I'd love to be a Carthusian! They're really cool guys, and it would be really fulfilling to be one. But my discernment of almost three years (February marks a full three) and my discussions with my spiritual director have led me to believe God has something more upfront and personal in my journey to save souls.
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ClemensBruno
Thank you for sharing your perspective, FCF, and your interest in my discernment. It sounds like you're doing all the right and smart moves in response to your call.

And... I am most especially grateful that you brought life back to my discussion thread. To be honest, I have been considering ways to keep this thread prominent in the Vocations section. No former Carthusian has contacted me so far, but I suppose it's to be expected of a reclusive and exceedingly small group.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TheresaThoma

You never know. More than one person has been brought here due to Googling different vocation related terms and winding up on the phorum!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×