The Holy Celtic Church

Here you may uncover some aspects of the life of the hermit monk of St. Mary’s Hermitage (the Brunonites); this hermit priest dressed in his unusually designed coarse white woollen habit which is also worn by the Carthusians very little indeed is known about the Father where he lives in a separate cell in St. Mary’s Hermitage Nr. Canterbury in Kent. The other hermits of Saint Bruno (Brunonites) brothers and sisters live as solitaries in satellite hermitages around the world as far as Paraguay. What sense can be made of the hermit withdrawing from the world, a silent life, which is so different from the life of other priests, and of members of religious Orders dedicated primarily to pastoral work, teaching, missions, in a secular world of this age?

St. Mary’s Hermitage comes under the jurisdiction of the Holy Celtic Church in Ticino Switzerland. The Holy Celtic Church is affiliated to the World Council of Churches through their membership of the International Council of Community Churches.

Our presiding Bishop and Abbot (Primus inter pares) is the Rt. Revd. Dom. Alistair Bate OSBA (csr), MA.Div.  who is from Ireland and is now based in Ticino, Switzerland. Dom Alistair has been a teacher of Celtic spirituality  for many years. 

The Brunonite Hermits firmly guard their silence and their withdrawal from the world in order to live their own distinct form of charism. Devoted to an unchanged rule that was written in the 13th century by Guigo 5th prior general of the Carthusian Order. No visitors are ever allowed to enter within the hermitage, contacting a hermit of Saint Bruno is exceedingly difficult if not impossible, yet when you do get through to someone a reply can take up to 12 months if not longer. The Brunonite lives a frugal life, in constant prayer never leaving his cells except for a country walk once a week or for a doctors appointment when absolutely necessary. He eat no meat, has no telephone, internet, television or radio. There are no musical instruments and he rarely speaks to other religious let alone an outsider. All his contact to the outside world is conducted through an intermediary, who will pass on any message he deems important to the father of the hermitage, whom, if he feels it necessary will pass the message on to others. This is why a hermit avoids publicity and rarely grants interviews to the press. So, as could be expected, they are somewhat unknown.

Nevertheless, the solitary life of a Brunonite has always attracted men who are thirsty for the infinite, who wish to lead a life which is hidden from the eyes of the world, devoting their existence entirely to God in the silence and solitude of a hermitage. Saints like Ignatius of Loyola, John of the Cross, and others, felt the desire to enter the Carthusian Order yet their paths lead elsewhere. The Hermit’s of Saint Bruno tend to awaken the interest of not just a few of the faithful who feel attracted to a life of simple faith centred in that which is essential, substantial.