Carthusian Life: Introduction

The Carthusians were founded by St. Bruno in 1084. He and some of his friends went to live as hermits in the valley of Chartreuse. The Carthusian life has changed little to this day. There are two groups of monks, the fathers and the brothers. Both are monks. The former train to be priests and live a life of greater solitude. They live in cells around a great cloister and join together 3 times a day for the liturgy. They only converse with each-other twice a week, once on Sundays after lunch, and once on Mondays during the walk which lasts about 4 hours.

The latter, the brothers, live in cells along their cloister, but leave their cells for about 6 hours each day for manual work around the monastery (the Carthusian Statutes say that the maximum time a brother should be involved in manual work in any one day is seven hours). Because of this the hours they spend in liturgy are less. A person who joins has to choose which type of monk he wants to be. The formative years for one will not do for the formative years of the other and so it is not possible just to swap 'if one wanted to'. Bruno's feast day is on October 6. (Remote hyperlink to data on St. Bruno.)

For a list of Carthusian monasteries, addresses and contact numbers, see bottom of the main menu (left).

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