Solitary Bird (solitarybird) wrote,
Solitary Bird
solitarybird

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The guest

Today I discovered the story of Sister Nazarena, whose birth name was Julia Crotta. She was born in Connecticut in 1907 and studied music at Yale before attending a Catholic women's college, where she discovered a calling to a life of silence and solitude at the age of 26. It took eleven years for her to find a place to live that vocation. She started with the Carmelites, but did not find what she was seeking. Finally a tiny Camaldolese convent in Rome invited her to live with them, not as a nun, but as their guest. She lived there as an anchoress in total seclusion in one room for forty-five years until her death in 1990.

For forty-five years, she never left her cell, and spoke to no one except her confessor and the abbess. Like the anchorites of medieval times, she received communion through a grate in the wall, and food was left for her through a small door. The room was furnished only with a straight wooden chair, a wooden table, a board that served as her bed and a small washroom with a cold shower. In this stark environment, she spent her time in prayer.

One of the things that leapt out at me from this story was the hospitality of the Camaldolese nuns who agreed to have her live in their house as their guest.

Given the fruits of my research, I think that being a "guest" of a religious order may be the best I can hope for. It's possible that one of the orders who live "dispersed" might agree to having a hermit among them. So before I go it completely on my own, I would like to cast about to see if there are any who might be willing. I have put out a few feelers.
Tags: monasticism, solitaries
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