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The Brothers

Carthusian Monks
The Brothers
Prayer in Cell and at Work

The brothers, like the cloister monks, are called to find God in solitude and silence, whether alone in cell or in their workshops. Their cell is composed of a cubiculum, identical to that of the cloister monk, to which may be added a second, smaller room. There the brother engages in prayer and the reciting of the Divine Office and the Office of the Blessed Virgin, in spiritual reading; study also, for the youngest brothers follow a course of study as an often necessary foundation for their prayer. All of these activities are designed to foster contemplative prayer in which they find God and remain united with Him both in cell and during work.

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A Carthusian Brother prepares a meal

Work time, which follows several hours of cell time in the morning and the assistance at Mass, and then again after dinner for several hours, is also a time of silence and solitude, where "in union with Jesus they may glorify the Father and associate the entire man in the work of redemption," the Statutes read. The brothers work alone when possible. If more than one are called to work together in the same work area, their silence, except when work requires some communication, assures them solitude of mind and spirit by which they can remain attentive to God and directed in spirit to Him. The work itself, which can be anything needed to assure the material needs of the house: cooking, carpentry, gardening, cutting wood in the surrounding forest for winter burning and so forth, by offering a balancing element to the life of prayer and a different activity for mind and body, favors the life of contemplation.

Likewise work done in obedience to the Father, represented by an agent of the Church, namely the Superior who assigns it, is a way of anchoring the brother more firmly in the life of Jesus, who always did the will of the Father, and of bringing his prayer into greater union with His. In so doing, like our Lord himself, he uses his natural talents and supernatural gifts in the execution of the projects assigned him, in full liberty of spirit.

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A Carthusian Brother delivering a meal at the "guichet" of a hermitage

The austerities that form part of his life are similar to those of the cloister monks described earlier, adapted slightly to better fit the special character of the brother's life. Their purpose is always the same: to aid the brother in keeping God the center of his life. Mary, through her maternity in grace and as a model to be contemplated, has a singularly important place in his life.

Charterhouse of the Transfiguration
Vocational Booklet - 1987
The Brothers
Prayer in Cell and at Work

Carthusian Life

Solitary life and Community Life

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