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ClemensBruno

Carthusian Monkhood

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Yaatee

ClemensBruno,

 

I am very glad that you are contacting charterhouses, specifically the (only) one in Vermont, It is small, and the only one in the US.  I don't know if you are "required" to enter the one in your country and whose language you speak--or not.  Anyway, you appear from your previous posts to be eager to talk with former Carthusians, read books and watch movies about Carthusians--but not to take all of your questions to  the Superior or Novice Master of the Charterhouse in question.   I think that the latter is the best approach, and am glad that you are pursuing this.  I am certain that those Carthusians who interact with enquirers have heard everything and will respond fully, appropriately and with good humor.

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Swami Mommy
ClemensBruno, how wonderful for you that you were raised with the importance of developing and maintaining a spiritual life. That is rather rare today, I think. I don't know any Carthusians but perhaps you could write to the author of the book you have mentioned to see whether she has any contact with the monks she interviewed. I envy you for your vocational inclinations. They are a great gift of grace and bespeak your own interior recollection and longing for the Divine. May you be blessed to find your place in a Carthusian monastery.

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petitpèlerin

My spiritual director, who is a brother in a semi-active community, loves the Carthusians. When he was first looking into religious life he applied to the Carthusians but was turned away due to his age. He still regrets that.

I adore the Carthusians, too. For a while I thought the Sisters of Bethlehem were the perfect community for me but I spent some time visiting them while I was in France and discerned otherwise. (No problems with them, I really love them, I just realized that it wasn't quite the right fit for me.) Same with a good friend of mine: she loves their life and spirituality so much, but when I finally had the opportunity to ask her if she thought she could have a vocation with them, she smiled and said "no, if I really did feel that way I wouldn't make such a big fuss about them".

 

Sorry I don't know any present or former Carthusians, I wonder if there aren't many around because the order is so good that the ones who make vows actually have true vocations to it and thrive and stay. Well, I just wanted to share my love for the order and for Saint Bruno. Prayers for you while you make your visits this week.

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Lagenda

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

 

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Lagenda

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

 


 

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Lagenda

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

 

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Lagenda

Greetings ClemensBruno. I was a postulant for the lay brotherhood at the Carthusian Charterhouse of Parkminster in England when I was 21. Sadly, I was not called to remain there but the time that I spent there made a lasting impression that is still with me at 72. Even now, I often dream that I am back at Parkminster going about the daily tasks and prayers.

The Carthusian vocation is often described as "rare". Many feel that they are called to the solitary Carthusian life but few persevere to the end. Only about 5% of those who try their vocation there go through to final vows. The lay brothers have a better perseverance rate.  To become a Caethusian is truly a matter of vocation, and not personal choice.  As my spiritual director once said "the good that we want to do is not always the good that God wants us to do".  The community at Parkminster when I was there was very much multinational. English is the common language used by the community at the times when they are allowed to talk. The liturgy for the most part is still in Latin. The choir monks spend most of the day in solitude in their hermitages meeting for the conventual Holy Mass in the morning, Vespers in the afternoon and the night office. The choir is unheated and in the winter freezing cold. There was no electricity when I was there other than a generator that gave power to the machines in the laundry.  Lighting was by oil lamp and heating in the individual hermitages and the brothers’ cells by log burning stove.  The priests and brother do not have recreation periods other than the weekly walk (Spatiamentum) the choir monks have outside the monastery.

 

When I was there the Carthusian had their own rite of celebrating Holy Mass. The Conventual High Mass was celebrated each morning. The priest was assisted by a deacon and no other altar servers. The sub deacon chanted the Epistle from the choir.  I believe that the Conventual Mass is now concelebrated in the Novus Ordo rite and the Carthusian Rite is reserved for individual low Masses like the one offered in the Family Chapel for the lay brothers. Carthusian Priors do not have mitre and crozier and therefore do not celebrate Holy Mass pontifically.  There are none of the popular devotions that one usually finds in a parish or community serving a parish. There is no exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and benediction.  There is no organ and no hymn singing other than the Hymns of the Divine Office and Holy Mass which are chanted in Latin. For me this change of liturgy and paucity of popular devotions that I was used to took some getting used to,  as did the multiple recitations of the rosary which the brother were obliged to recite in lieu of the Divine Office.  Letter writing is allowed two or three times a year and family visits are allowed in the guest house once a year.  Though not strictly enclosed like cloistered nuns are, Carthusian do not go home to attend family funerals etc.

 

I hope that these sketchy details of life inside a Carthusian Charterhouse will help you in your reflection and aspirations for the religious life.  If it can be arranged, I think you would find a few days stay with a Carthusian community very informative and beneficial. You might also like to look at the Camaldolese Hermits in Berkeley, CA, which also serves as their house of studies. They also have a little rural monastery near New Boston, NH. There is also a monastery at New Camaldoli, Big Sur, California.   They are a very old branch of the Benediction family but live in hermitages like the Carthusian. Their monasteries are ruled by Abbots. They have a somewhat richer and more elaborate liturgy than the Carthusian. You might try this website for further information;  http://www.contemplation.com/prayers.html

 

With best wishes to you and blessings for your quest to find your true vocation.  

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marigold
Lagenda, ClemensBruno is no longer posting on Vocation Station, but if you would like to get in touch with him, I'm sure he will respond to a private message, which you can send by clicking on the little envelope symbol in the top right hand corner.

Thank you for posting your reminiscences - have you read An Infinity of Little Hours? It follows several young men who entered Parkminster in the early 1960s, the last generation to have the 'old style' of formation, observances etc. I found it very interesting as an in depth look at the daily life and the kinds of people who were in the Charterhouse at that time, and was also moved by the sincerity and struggle of some of the candidates.

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fig
Hi and greetings from UK !
I too have just joined Phatmass and almost immediately came across you !
I was talking to a friend on the phone at the time who was explaining the workings of this site.
(It all seems so complex at first and I was struggling) she says that " life is very complicated for me !!!!!
However, it is all particularly interesting as she cares cares for an elderly priest who was a Carthusian for over 20 years !
He left for health reasons and is now retired from active parish ministry but still basically lives a Carthusian way of life.

Interesting too is that many years ago I met an American young fellow who , like me, was staying at Mount Mellarey Trappist Monastery in Ireland. He was going on to England to discern his possible vocation to the Carthusians. As you may know through Nancy Kleins book or elsewhere Parkminster in Sussex is home to the English Carthusians. I had an old postcard from him while he was there. It all happened many years ago but I well remember his message......." HELP ! Get me out of here before I go mad, mad, mad !!!!"
Seemingly the monks brew a rather potent beer and he was given a bottle. He was unaware of its strength and next he knew the Prior was trying to wake him from his drunken stupor !!! So you can well see that my interest /respect for the Carthusians is tainted just a little.

I too loved the film but was not over keen on the " Infinity of Little Hours". I preferred the book " Hear our Silence". I think the author is John Skinner but cannot remember for sure.

I believe there are quite a number of Trappists now exploring a Hermit vocation within their monastic calling etc.
You will no doubt have read Thomas Merton ?

I like your words "Stillness and Solitude" from which point and with Priestly Guidance you cannot go far wrong.
Sometimes to rest our minds from thinking too much and instead, focusing on simply "being" is a road to nowhere in particular but somewhere where we are called to be . Interesting really how the good Lord can move us without us hardly realising and then one day we wake up to "Suprise - Suprise" - the place called home !

However these are my ramblings which I simply share on my first day on Phatmass !!!
I wish you well and many blessings -

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Gabriela

 

 

Clemensbruno: I discerned with the Carthusians in France. Please feel free to PM me.

 

To answer your question: They speak the vernacular in all their monasteries, as well as in their liturgy. There are a few Latin phrases that remain in the Mass, and some antiphons in the Hours, but 95% of the liturgy is in the vernacular. Their Mass is no longer what it once was. A lot changed after VII.

 

Having also discerned with the Monastic Family of Bethlehem, I can say that, though they claim to have a Carthusian spirituality, their life is VERY different from the Carthusians. They are much more active and social. They are not as protective of solitude in general as the Carthusians, and they really don't have nearly as much of it as the Carthusians.

 

Finally: Be cautious about the book An Infinity of Little Hours. Some people find it very discouraging. She focuses a lot on the hardships and challenges, not enough on the joys and peace.

Edited by curiousing

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puellapaschalis

The European contingent grows. This is good.

 

I too loved the film but was not over keen on the " Infinity of Little Hours". I preferred the book " Hear our Silence". I think the author is John Skinner but cannot remember for sure.
 

 

Hear Our Silence was my first encounter with anything Carthusian. It's a great book.

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28yrolddiscerner

Dear ClemensBruno,

I just wanted to say that I LOVE "Into Great Silence" & I will be praying regularly for your vocation. Please pray for me as well! I am visiting a contemplative community & I want everything to go smoothly. I pray that you make a good impression on the monks. This world needs prayer!

28yrolddiscerner

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Indwelling Trinity

Y you might begin your journey by contacting a charterhouse. 

Although I am a Carmelite hermit I had the blessing of staying at the charterhouse for 2 days and the heart felt joy of meeting with Reverend Father Dom Lorenzo as part of a group seeking to live as closely as possible the Carthusian life within their own vocation.  They have a Yahoo group online called the IFSB. Which stands for the International Fellowship of Saint Bruno.

I was a board member at one time but had a severe exacerbation of my MS and so had to pull away from all because the illness 

Dom Lorenzo said mass for us twice according to the Carthusian rite. It was beautiful if I remember right after the  elevation of the host the priest instead of genuflecting goes to the  front of the altar and prostrate then goes back and completes the cannon. There was no singing everything to me was stripped to the Basics.  

 

After mass  father had 2 oof the lay brothers prepare some refreshments and we spoke with Father about the development of the IFSB

 2 of the lay brothers were gentlemen extremely gentle and cultured men they spoke softly while they saw to our needs.  In their gentleness there was nothing effeminate but rather a joy that came  from grace. 

I am pretty  sure yoou can find a few former Carthusian at the IFSB. Finally since they only leave the Charter house for their weekly walk. The only other gathering that I know of would be the general chapter held at the motherhouse, my guess is that they would all speak French... 

Hope this helps. 

You are in my prayers. Please remember  me in yours

IT

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