Carthusians are hermits who live within a community. They live in solitude
and follow a style of life that was lived by the Desert Fathers who left the preoccupations and distractions of the world
to seek God in the Egyptian desert.
Carthusian life is governed by a constitution ("Statutes of the Carthusian
Order") that has remained essentially unchanged for nearly a thousand years. The Carthusian monastery today consists of Cloister
monks (who are priests or destined to be priests, and who pass the greater part of the day in the reclusion of a hermitage)
and Brothers (who are either Converse brothers who like the cloister monks pronounce monastic vows of obedience, stability
and conversatio morum or Donate brothers who make a promise to serve God faithfully, observing obedience, chastity and poverty.
The Converse and Donate brothers are those who find the need for 5 or more hours of manual work a day for their human and
spiritual equilibrium, along with hours in cell for prayer, spiritual reading, study, liturgy and other exercises common to
the monastic life).
These different forms of life are authentically Carthusian, living the Order’s
charism of solitude, silence and prayer which St. Bruno started in 1084; together they help strengthen each other in their
respective modes of life. It is fidelity to such charism that we hope to be of benefit to the Church and the world whom we
have not abandoned in embracing a hidden life.
The Blessed Virgin Mary has always been the Order’s principal Patron,
along with St. John the Baptist. Her place in the life of the solitary monk cannot be emphasized enough. At various times
each day, we recite the Little Office of the Virgin Mary, preceding those hours of the Canonical Office. As the Mother of
Christ and the Mother of the Mystical Body, she begets her Son spiritually into the soul. As the immaculate handmaid of the
Lord, always docile to His will and the perfect image of her Son, she is the model the monk never tires of contemplating.