I am learning how to post my works on this blog. I just want to share whatever gift God gives to me, and to show you that I am working on it in every moment of my life in the monastery to direct myself to Perfection. In the monastery, with our daily schedule, I am not only just sit down and paint. We need to serve the meal, to keep the house neat and to serve guests, and above all, we need to fulfill our liturgy which is seven times a day. But I dedicate my time to God, and He is the one who counts the point for me. I know He gives me point not only for my painting but also for everything that I am doing for Him. I am not worried if I cook twice a week, clean up half of an hour a day, go out for groceries one day a week… every of my step is counted by Him.
Feb. 20, 2014
Today, finally I can start the Icon of the Archangel Michael for the Annunciation parish. I am trembling to stand in front of the beautiful and pure white gessoed board. This is where I will begin to put my fingers on. I am shaking even though I have already prepared my soul for this moment weeks ago. I am always troubled at the beginning, but then when I am in there I feel at peace. I hope this time the Archangel will give me the same help and feeling so I can go to the end of the work in a peaceful mind and heart.
Oct. 03, 2014
Saint Michael’s Icon was at its place in Albuquerque already but I am still not able to finish the set of Our lady of Vladimir, Saint Michael, and Saint Gabriel for the Parish. Saint Gabriel is still at the beginning: transferring the image to the whiteboard. I have a long way to go to bring the Archangel to the earth!
November 30, 2014
The process of transferring Vows requires me an autobiography. I just finished it and feel amazing how God loves us each of us in His own way. I just want to share with you how God loves me in His mysterious way.
I was born on May 10,1964 in a small village of central Viet nam. Before 1975, we belong to the South Viet nam. My parents have 7 children but, painfully, my older brother passed away when he was only three years old. I am the next in line so I become the oldest of my siblings in my family. Now we are six with three boys and three girls.
My father was in the army that is why he had to spend 12 years in the Communist prison ( at the Kim sơn mountain in central of Viet nam) after they took over the country. In 1989, my father was released from prison. He came home for eight months and escape the country in 1990. After several trials, my father arrived in the U.S in 1994. He started to sponsor my mother and all of us to come with him but the immigration process took very long. I met him in Dallas in 2001 after 19 years. I was the first one to see him because I came through the religious visa sponsored by Abbot Philip Lawrence of Christ in the Desert Monastery in New Mexico. My youngest brother came in 2008. My sister and her two children came in 2009. My next brother, his wife and two sons came in 2012. My other sister and her two children arrived in 2016, and the last one, my other brother came in 2017. Finally, my whole family is able to re-unite in one country.
By the time my father was in prison, I was in 8th grade. After 9th grade, the exam to the next state of high school was serious. The school did not accept any of the children of those who belong to the opposite side. I was thrown out of school. My mother afraid that I would get sick staying home watching all my friends go to school, she sent me to the city to learn sewing. She wanted me to have a better job in the future. But that did not really cure me. I was still so sad and just unconsciously looked for something that I did not know. One day I stepped into the church and met one of the Sisters of Saint Paul de Chartres. She just wanted to know who I was and what I was doing there by myself. I felt right away a peaceful atmosphere around me when I talk with her. I did not know that that feeling still exists in me and I was surprised that there was someone who can give me that feeling because, for a long time after they arrested my father, I lived in fear of everyone around me. I doubted everyone and was taught: never believe in any of your neighbors. That moment was different for me. I was happy when the Sister offered to teach me how to sew at her Convent. At that time, the school was taken away from the Sisters by the Communist Government and they forbade the Sisters to involve in any kind of education fearing that the Catholic Sisters will have an influence on the children. But the small group of amazing Sisters still exist with a quiet, poor and humble life behind the ruined convent. The police came to check up on them very often to see if they behave! If the police found a new face when they compare with the number of the household they will arrest her and the superior as well. Lucky for me, on Sister’s household list there was still the name of the orphaned girl whom the Sisters had sent to another place far away from that city. The superior let me take that name so that I could stay with the Sisters in their Convent without trouble. That was my Aspirancy with a period of 3 years from 1982 to 1985. Then, the Sisters sent me to the motherhouse in Đà nẵng to begin my Postulant period, but we could not start the program because the police kept following us, 25 of us at that time. We had to scatter among the young workers who came to work at the Convent every day. While the workers went to their works we went to our classroom to study. At night we followed them to go to the near villages and stay with some families who risked their lives to accept us to their house. I slept in the corner under the roof of that generous family for the whole year.
In 1988, I entered Novitiate along with 14 others, still watching for a sudden visit of the police every night. We were trained on how to roll our blankets, our mats and how to walk quietly to the secret place if the police came. If the Novice Mistress clapped her hands at midnight, we had to get up quickly and performed the acts, just as a soldier, always ready. As youngsters, we had fun with those challenges and not really afraid of anything whereas the superior was so worry about being jailed because of us, or the Convent would be dispersed.
After two years, I made my temporary Vows on Feb. 2nd, 1990 with the Saint Paul de Chartres Sisters at Đà nẵng Convent. I was sent to Hue, a beautiful and famous with its peaceful romantic atmosphere to study. The Sisters there invited teachers who were not from the Communist Party secretly came to the Convent to help us to finish our study and get our High School Diploma. After studied for three years at home, we went out to take the national exam. I admire the Sisters for their amazing love for education. Nothing can stop them from that spirit.
After that, I was sent to parishes to work in various jobs from arranging flowers in the church to conducting church choirs, from cooking to teaching…the same way with other Sisters of Saint Paul de Chartres as we were called to serve people in whatever need. I put my whole heart and my enthusiasm into the works I was assigned. However, there was a deeper voice that demanded me to consider a contemplative life. I was thinking: beyond the parishes where I was working, there were many other poor places around me, around the world, also were struggled, how could I help them? My hands were little, how could I reach them as I wanted? ( I know later that the idea mainly came from Saint Therese of Lisieux because when I first began to consider my religious life, my spiritual director handed me the book, the Story of a Soul, and asked me to learn by heart every detail of the story, he would ask me some questions one day. As a young girl, I considered that was my homework. And that was how the story got into my mind, my heart and it ran deep into my soul until now. I still see that in contemplative life I can fulfill all my wishes. I can use any minutes, any smallest works to pray for the others.
The idea that strongly pulled me to the contemplative life at that time was another thought from the Gospel: my hand was too small, I cannot help that many people as I wished. However, if I put my “five loaves of bread” and my “two fishes” on Jesus’ hand, He will multiply them to feed thousands of people.
With that in mind, I looked for a Carmelite Convent in VN. They let me in. That was 1996. But after living in the strict cloister for one year, one day, I cried seeing a nun making her final vow. Her mother came to visit her but they did not let them hug each other. The nun was behind the grill, just put her little hand to hold her mother’s old and skin-boned hand on the other side of the grill. Tears ran down on the mother’s wrinkled face! I could not bear that scene!. I thought to myself: “I am still alive, why I give my mother the feeling that I am dead? I cannot, it is horrible!” Then, from that day, I decided to go. I kept looking for God. For three years, from 1996 to 1999 I lived in Sai gon, helping my relative to work at her Hotel and continued my education. From 1999 to 2001 I was at the Teacher Training College in Qui nhon, my home town, but I did not finish that four-year training because my friend at Christ in the Desert monastery who wanted to introduce me to Abbot Philip. God was calling me. I decided to leave school to continue my religious vocation. I came here in April 2001 and joined the Sisters of Our Lady of the Desert. God did not abandon me because I still love Him and want to give myself to be loved by Him. I made my solemn vows on Feb. 02, 2006. In the same year 2006, I began my journey to work on Iconography. Father Damian Higgins came to the monastery of Christ in the Desert, NM to lead an Icon workshop and to finish the mural of The Holy Trinity in their refectory. I saw him wearing an old and awful short habit covered with paints. I secretly made him a new one. He was so happy and surprised. He told me: “Sister, I want to give you a gift but I want you to make it for yourself”. He let me join his workshop that year and shown me how to use brush and paint. The “Tender Mercy” came out that year. I struggled by myself every night to practice after he left. Struggled and struggled…
From him I start to know how to write Icons, and I am still writing an Icon with “fear and trembling” as he required.
From 2011 to 2013, my superior sent me to study at the Community College of New Mexico in Albuquerque. I finished my school and get my Associate Degrees on Fine Art and Liberal Art on Dec. 07, 2013. That was another great opportunity for me to come back to school and experience the world outside the walls of the monastery.
I will tell you another mystery God has arranged for me this time after I finish my visit here, at the Benedictine Monastery of Perpetual Adoration. It is an astonishing experience of art besides the feeling of the Adoration with our Lord every day. I need to ask for some more information then I will tell you.
I left the Icon of Saint Gabriel in Albuquerque undone. I will continue when I am back.
I finished the Icon of Saint Gabriel in mid-January 2015 and was able to do one more icon of “More Spacious Than the Heaven” when I am with my mom in Texas.
February 09, 2015, I flew to Missouri.
Mar. 07, 2015
The Adoration chapel here is a treasure of art that makes someone once said: “who would have expected something that reminded of the cathedral of Ravenna in the Missouri cornfield?”. The cornerstone of the Chapel was laid in May 1901 and it was ready to be consecrated on November 15, 1911. Thanks to the generosity of the Sisters who can share their talent of following the high technique you can visit the Chapel through their web site http://www.benedictinesisters.org. But it is just a halfway in comparison to a real visit. The pictures, even though were taken in hi-tech, do not reflect completely the beauty of the original works. Mosaics and stained glass windows were produced and shipped from Austria. I have a feeling of being in a museum every day to pray and to praise God for his wonderful works. The vaulted ceiling of the Chapel contributes its work to the singing of the 30 Sisters here beautifully five times a day. The love from the Eucharistic Sacrament is reflected on each Sister here with a simple, humble and silent life.
I found a triptych frame in our crafts room, that inspired me to begin another icon. I am on the way and it is the perfect time to work on the first state of gesso where I can see the burial of Christ when I lay the piece of white cloth on the board before covering it with white gesso. A little by little I am trying to work on this Icon to get our Christ the Teacher (Pantokrato) image into the middle board.
Changed my mind, I began with Our Lady instead of The Pantokrato. Halfway through, I am happy to see Her and His face appear on the earth, on my board during this Paschal season. I try to work on the important parts first, faces, hands and feet, to bring the Divine presence to my soul and to this world before working on the other less important parts. But it seems everything is important, I can not pay less attention into any of them on the Icon.
June 17, 2015
Finally, I am able to finish two Icons: Our Lady and The Pantokrator. Thank God, everything went well this time. I have kept my eyes on Him constantly: in the Eucharist, in my daily prayer. Even though sometimes storm clouds occurred in my soul, it was easy to get them down. I knew that since I was very young, but it seems for a long time I have been so busy within myself that I have never paid attention to get a sense of happiness. Sometimes, I thought that it was selfish if I enjoy my inner happiness. My brothers and sisters somewhere else are still enduring their sufferings in many ways. I can not just stay here and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere in the monastery, then I sent away my little sense of happiness to them through my prayers and my sacrifices. I don’t know how much I can give to heal the wound of this world, but that is all I can do. Many sacrifices I have made through my Icons with the hope that He will continue to save my brothers and sisters in any corners of the world.
the Sisters told me that there is a lot of rain this year in this area, we worry about the farmers because there is too much water. I feel I am selfish, and I keep my mouth shut because I am happy to see rain again in my life. I really enjoy it! I feel He loves me in that way. God is very generous, whatever He gives, it is abundant, and you can not stop it. God’s Grace is a mystery beyond comprehension. If you have gut to try, you will see it, but if you just sit there and call, sometimes your voice goes astray, gets lost and does not reach Him.
Tomorrow, I will begin to paint Saint John the Baptist. To prepare for this Icon I put myself back to the desert. It makes me cry: I miss it. It will take me a while to adapt to a different lifestyle here. I am still yearning for a hermit life but the New Mexico desert is too hard for me to live freely every day without physical trouble. I am not that strong as Saint Mary of Egypt, Saint Anthony, or Saint Benedict. I gave up life in the desert. Now I keep it in my heart. The desert is my room, whenever I am here by myself, I am happy. The Adoration of the Eucharist every day fulfills my heart.
Saint John the Baptist is on halfway.
Last day of June, 2015.
A compassion for the prisoner artist.
I am mourning for you and praying for you, Richard Matt! I don’t know who you are. I just know you are a prisoner, a murderer, a stubborn head, but also I can see your artistic talent. My heart sink when I heard you died in a horrible condition. You have a stupid heart, Richard! It just looks like I am reading a novel with a sad ending, but unfortunately, it is a reality in the world that I am in. Someone has asked a question of why they gave you too much freedom in the prison. I answered that person that you have spent eighteen years in prison, that made you change. I believe that I am right when I see your paintings. But that person told me that I was just writing a full-length novel. Yes, if I can write a novel, I will put myself in the troop of the policemen who go search for you in the dark wood. Then when they point the gun to your head, I will throw my gun down, step out and walk toward you. I will call your name and say: “Richard, please do not give up your life in a stupid way like this. Nobody understands you but I do. You are no longer Richard of eighteen years ago. Eighteen years in the prison are equal with a long, forever period outside. My culture has an expression for that: “nhất nhật tại tù, thiên thu tại ngoại”. It means: one day in the prison is thousand Falls outside. I know you have already converted yourself after that long period. You have grown up more and understand more about the people around you. You known how to live with people, you have more control of yourself, but still stupid and proud. I know you want to show off your talent, you want to help your friend to get out of his desperate situation. For yourself, you have only a short period more to be free. You can do that. Or, maybe you fall in love and want to have freedom, you are confused. I know all of that from your paintings. You developed this talent and it lead you to peace. You paint smiling faces, happy portrait, famous and successful figures. There is no dark sign on your painting, no anger, no avenging feeling…That proves that you have forgotten the anger. You want peace and life, but nobody understands you accept the One who created you. But you can not reach Him until now. Nobody in this world can go to your heart and forgive you, trust you, and accept you. They still label you as a murderer and kill you at once without regret if you move. You will die in the other’s anger, not in your own anger anymore. You teased them and make them angry with you, stupid, Richard! You can not win anyone in that way. You want to show that you are more talented than any of them: you are too proud of yourself in a stupid way. If you have good parents when you were a child, you would have known how to aim your talent to be a good person, to be loved by others, to be honored and respected, then you can show off your talent in a good way”. I am mourning for you. I pray and assure you that Jesus understands you totally and He already told you: go in peace.”
R.I.P Mr. Richard Matt!
July 05, 2015
I leave Saint John the Baptist by himself for now. I am working on saint Benedict for Our Lady of the Desert monastery. They will celebrate 25th anniversary this July 11. I try to put their historical locations behind the statue. So far I am happy with all the churches coming around and looked not too bad. In New Mexico, the Sisters moved from a small house in El Rito to Santa Cruze, then to Christ in the Desert property; temporarily passed Saint Rose de Lima Church in Blanco, and now in Gobernador desert. I love the blue color of the sky in New Mexico. I paint the sky of Gobernador but I am afraid it becomes the swimming pool behind saint Benedict, don’t know how to fix!!!
The lovely homily this morning: Jesus can not do anything in his own town. Open my mind not only to be able to absorb new knowledge but also to accept new thing and let it soak into my soul.
He came to me before the consecration: He comes, smiles, and absorbs in me. I have never thought of getting communion before the priest consecrates the hosts. It is true. He is there always for me. ” Tình Ngài một phút đủ vui một đời!” (Your love only one second enough to enjoy the whole life!)
Sept. 12, 2015
A beautiful day of Renewal day at my monastery. How can I count Your Grace which lavishes upon me every day, every time? I am working on the Icon of the Holy Trinity in my room. Tracing the Icon of Andrei Rublev on the board and using oil paints for the first time, I want to try the technique of glazing to pain this Icon. Layer by layer patiently waiting for them to dry. I have hope the icon will come out alright at the end. Oil paints, linseed oil and my prayers together we are working to bring the Divine Presence of the Holy Trinity into this world. Yesterday, at our refectory Sister Dawn read the last pages of the Laudato Si. It was very interesting for me. I want to quote here. It is so precious that I do not want to leave any details out. So I will put all in here for me to remember in the future when I come back to this page to read. Here is the citation:
VII. THE TRINITY AND THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CREATURES
238. The Father is the ultimate source of everything, the loving and self-communicating foundation of all that exists. The Son, his reflection, through whom all things were created, united himself to this earth when he was formed in the womb of Mary. The Spirit, infinite bond of love, is intimately present at the very heart of the universe, inspiring and bringing new pathways. The world was created by the three Persons acting as a single divine principle, but each one of them performed this common work in accordance with his own personal property. Consequently, “when we contemplate with wonder the universe in all its grandeur and beauty, we must praise the whole Trinity”.
239. For Christians, believing in one God who is trinitarian communion suggests that the Trinity has left its mark on all creation. Saint Bonaventure went so far as to say that human beings, before sin, were able to see how each creature “testifies that God is three”. The reflection of the Trinity was there to be recognized in nature “when that book was open to man and our eyes had not yet become darkened”. The Franciscan saint teaches us that each creature bears in itself a specifically Trinitarian structure, so real that it could be readily contemplated if only the human gaze were not so partial, dark and fragile. In this way, he points out to us the challenge of trying to read reality in a Trinitarian key.
240. The divine Persons are subsistent relations, and the world, created according to the divine model, is a web of relationships. Creatures tend towards God, and in turn, it is proper for every living being to tend towards other things, so that throughout the universe we can find any number of constant and secretly interwoven relationships. This leads us not only to marvel at the manifold connections existing among creatures, but also to discover a key to our own fulfillment. The human person grows more, matures more and is sanctified more to the extent that he or she enters into relationships, going out from themselves to live in communion with God, with others and with all creatures. In this way, they make their own that trinitarian dynamism which God imprinted in them when they were created. Everything is interconnected, and this invites us to develop a spirituality of that global solidarity that flows from the mystery of the Trinity.
(Pope Francis’ Laudato Si May 24, 2015)
“The Father is the ultimate source of everything, the loving and self-communicating foundation of all that exists”. Andrei in his vision put the Father in an elegant post with golden garment wrapping the divine blue tunic. The eyes are toward the viewers with a general look seems to say he is looking at the whole universe, His own creation. He looks at it in a mysterious, and dominant way. In the middle of the painting, The Second Person gives His look toward the Father to follow the loving order from the First Person. He is clothed in a Divine Blue tunic wrapped by an earthly red garment outside. It meant to say he is an obedient Son and in that He has to bear two natures: one is His own, as God, and the other is for us, a human being. For that, Pope Francis says: “The Son, his ( The Father) reflection, through whom all things were created, united himself to this earth when he was formed in the womb of Mary.” The Holy Spirit, the Third Person in a humble manner but He is the “infinite bond of love, is intimately present at the very heart of the universe, inspiring and bringing new pathways.” Pope Francis said. I can see the harmony of the Divine inspiration in Rublev’s painting and Pope Francis’ writing. The face and the eyes of the Holy Spirit in the painting are turning away from the other Persons. He is at work. He is almost ready to disappear from the Divine realm to go to the world. It makes the Icon become a present, dynamic conversation among the Three Persons. The Chalice on the table clearly indicates the content of the conversation. The faces are very serious, as usual in Byzantine Icons, tell me how important the story is on that table. I often forget the Holy Spirit in me, even though I call to Him whenever I need it. I always get it unconsciously. Doing this painting I am more aware of His important presence in me and in the world. How essential His works but we often ignore. Jesus, in His ministry, two thousand years ago on earth, was in hurry to send the Holy Spirit into this world to work and to continue to bring it to Perfection. Christ worked on this earth for only three years as a missionary. (As in my experience, nothing can be done in just three years). The main work should be passed to the Holy Spirit to continue. Jesus knew that, and He let His earthly life ended pretty soon so that the next person could come soon and continued. There is no need to say any further than The Holy Spirit always fulfill the emptiness of my heart, the hollow of my mind every minute in my life. I beg you to pay attention to Him, and you will find peace, wisdom, insight and the others of the Seven Gifts He is giving away. Do not let them fall into no use. Whether you are Catholic, followers of a religion, or not, the Holy Spirit is always at work for you unnamed.
A thought came to me this morning, I want to write down, lest I forget. I was thinking of my age. The Vietnamese have borrowed some sayings from the Chinese which I am still keep in my mind whenever I contemplate the journey of a human being. They said: “Tam thập lập thân”, means when you are thirty years old ( Tam thập= 30) you are matured and are establishing your life. “Tứ thập nhi bất hoặc”, means, when you are 40 (tứ thập= 40) you are no longer be lured by false ideas. You have the ability to distinguish the good and the bad in your life. ” Ngũ thập tri Thiên mệnh”, means, at fifty years old, as I am now, you have the knowledge to know your destination, your fate and your aim written by heaven. You suppose to know where you are going to. ( Tri= know, Thiên= Heavenly, mệnh= destination). It is really true for me this time. I am around my early fifty and I feel I am more stable in my vocation. No matter what is happening around me ( whether the situation is created by the others or by my own self) I have a clear path for myself. I found my True Self, as the word Richard Rohr uses to call our soul in his book. I am at peace with God, love Him more, and am trying to be at peace with the others who are around me every day. When I am at peace with Him, I can deal with human being’s problems easier.
January 22, 2016
It has been a while. The old year has passed, the new year is here when I am writing. My old year 2015 concluded with the solemn feast of Christ the King. On that day I received a gift which I wanted to write down but have not done so yet till now. I have been busy. Today is my hermit day I am taking some moments to recall the gifts God has given me in those past days. Grace of God is in every moment, every aspect, and every breath I am taking in and out. To make it short, on the Feast of Christ the King, my Spouse, I received a gift from the King. Can you imagine how precious the gift King David, Queen Elizabeth II give to his or her loved one?. At least they can give them a castle, a palace or a house. My King doesn’t give me that kind of material goods for this life. I was wondering within myself: what kind of gift my King can give me which would have more value than the gift from King David? I heard in my soul: “My gift for you is a Spring!”How beautiful the season of Spring. I am pleased with the beautiful gift that no one in this world can give. Only Him can have that gift for me. You can see the beauty of the season Spring in this world: how peaceful, beautiful, joyful, and full of life it is, let alone the Eternal Spring that I wish for when I am going on to the next step of my life. I am content with the gift from my King. The feeling still swelling in me whenever I think of it. I am at peace with this gift and I will treasure it forever.
Loving God for all He has done for me, for my loved ones, I want to go further and further to the deepest of Benedictine’s spiritual life. I wish for a hermit life to be full of Him every day without disturbed by the world around me. The idea has been in my thought since I found Him in my religious call years ago but I am still looking forward to His Will for me. At this point in life, I realize that I cannot do anything successfully, peacefully if I just follow my will. I can put all my energy in the work but my strength is too limited to endure the trial of a special gift, so I rely on Him. If He wants me to do it He will give me insight and courage and opportunity. I am at peace and happy with Him for now at where I am. Sometimes, my sins hinder Him to work further for me. I don’t know until when I can be without sin! But then, the inner contradiction also happens in me: If I am too devout, I am afraid He will call me to something else making me break the peaceful shelter in which I am hiding! Isn’t it a false peace?
The bell ring, that’s enough for today.
May 18, 2016
Trying to come back. The Internet is weak and it takes me too long to load one page. That is the situation at my present place, Nazareth Hermitage. But it does not prevent me to work on my Icons. The quiet atmosphere give me more peace and calm. The first feeling when I entered my hermitage is the calmness running through my blood, my brain. There is no sense of rush or worry here when I am by myself with my own schedule. That is the precious gift of a hermit. I am training myself to stay calm for a longer period during the day. The sense of the Presence of the Blessed Sacrament helps me to be more conscious of my behavior every moment.
July 03, 2016
One month has passed. How quickly time flies, it is just in front of my face then disappears! I want to hold it a bit longer to finish my work, but it doesn’t allow me. But it is OK, thank you Lord for your arrangement in my life. I am not on a hurry if you want me to. It is still there, my tendency to hurrying, doing things quickly, trying to finish works before time… and etc, etc… I can not escape it. That is the typical feeling of this contemporary time: swim or sink. I am not an exception. But now, I am trying to reduce that tendency and trying to direct my mind to a different direction. It is more peaceful. Here is the tool I am using to practice:
-“besides institutes of consecrated life, the Church recognizes the eremitical or anchoritic life by which Christian faithful devote their lives to the praise of God and salvation of the world through a stricter separation from the world, the silence of solitude and assiduous prayer and penance.
– The hermit is recognized in the law as one dedicated to God in a consecrated life if he or she publicly professes the three evangelical counsels confirmed by a vow or other sacred bond, in the hands of the diocesan bishop and observes his or her own plan of life under his direction.” ( Canon 603)
Theological Identity of hermit life:
A “desert Spirituality” involves accepting the poverty of one’s own heart, allowing oneself to be led by Jesus through His Word and the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit. It is a call to continuing conversion, a way of discovering the forgiving and healing love of the Father, and entering more deeply into union with Him. The teaching of Saint Peter Damian is important for understanding the solitary communion of the hermit with the entire Church. The prayer of the Hermit cannot be strictly solitary; while physically isolated, the hermit is fully present to the Church. Damian called the hermit a minor ecclesia, a Church in miniature, in communion with all its members. Life is a radical choice of God and a life of radical solidarity with all of humanity.
( from The Source Material for the Discernment of Hermit Vocation according to Canon 603- Nazareth Hermitage)
I like these elements: the hermit vocation is an “individual form of consecrated life”, a “Church in miniature” and “fully present to the Church”…these ideas rescue me from the feeling of being rejected!