Eremitic Life

There are varied forms of consecrated life within the Catholic Church. The eremitic or anchoritic life is one of the most ancient forms. An individual called to this form of consecrated life is called a hermit or hermitess or an anchorite or anchoress. See Our Lady of Tenderness Hermitage.  Also, you may view  What is a Diocesan Anchoress? .

This ancient vocation was renewed in the Church following a revision of the Code of Canon Law (Church Law) in 1983.

Canon 603

§1. Besides institutes of consecrated life, the Church recognizes the eremitic or anchoritic life by which the Christian faithful devote their life 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.

§2. A 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.

For a hermit /anchoress, God must be enough. A hermit is called to witness to the primacy of God in all our lives. Pope John Paul II, states: “Men and women hermits, belonging to ancient orders or new institutes, or being directly dependent on the bishop, bear witness to the passing nature of the present age by their inward and outward separation from the world. By fasting and penance, they show that man does not live by bread alone but by the word of God (cf. Mt 4:4). Such a life “in the desert” is an invitation to their contemporaries and to the ecclesiastical community itself never to lose sight of the supreme vocation, which is to be always with the Lord.”  – Vita Consecrata 7

Desert solitude and silence are essential to the life call of a "desert dweller". The hermitage provides this “desert space.” Here the prayer (love) of one’s heart, the work of one’s hands and the penance inherent within the eremitic life are offered to God for the spiritual needs of all.

An anchoress embraces hiddenness to hold all in her heart; lifting humanity to Christ for His touch of justice, peace and love. The eyes of her heart are upon Christ Crucified, to Whom all is given that others may see, love and long for Him as she does.

Prayer to Our Lady of Tenderness

Dear Lady of Tenderness,

We live in an angry and violent world. War and terrorism threaten us on all sides. We respectfully turn to you, O Mother of the Compassionate One. We beg your intercession for us, your suffering sons and daughters. Because of the intimate bond you share with your Son Jesus, our Risen Lord, we know you will hear and heed our prayer for help. Ask your Savior Son to pour forth His Peace into our minds and hearts so that we might become one truly holy family united and guided by His Holy Spirit.

Bishop John W. Flesey


Prayerful Creations
2400 B Cooper Street
Piscataway, NJ 08854