Showing posts from March, 2020

Who are you, really?

In my first blog post, I wrote about this painful thing that happens early in solitude (voluntary or pandemic-induced), when you confront your "shadow self," which contains all those parts of yourself you would prefer to pretend don't exist. These might be real weaknesses, or just aspects of your personality that don't match up with the person you wish you were. Maybe you're a quiet intellectual, but you idealize socially sparkling or charismatic people. Maybe you're a fantastic singer, but you feel like a fraud because you're not good at song-writing. Now, I only took my first vows as a hermit a little less than a year ago, but I feel like I actually went through this radical revision of my self-concept the  first  time I retired, almost 13 years ago. That's when I first found out that being a "hermit" was a thing, in our time, and I knew it was for me. It didn't go well! I was so not ready. Thank God I found my way to a Benedictine mo

Even hermits need love

Reach out! In my Rule of Life, I addressed the boundaries of my vow of solitude, in part by citing my spiritual forebears, the Desert Fathers & Mothers. This is how I put it in my Rule: As the ancient desert hermits gathered together on Sundays and major feasts for liturgy and fellowship, so will I come to the monastery or to a local parish community. I really depend on my weekly Mass and fellowship with the monks and my fellow oblates and others who worship there. It's almost all the social life I have. I am very happy living as a hermit, but I don't want my solitary life to become sterile and self-referential. Without love, there is nothing. The religious life is barren without love. God is Love , and I love God, and God loves me ... but in total isolation from other human beings, that's kind of like "loving" a rock star or movie idol, back when we were kids. Contemplative solitude immerses the hermit in the heart of God, but the heart of God also love

God couldn't NOT love you if He tried

I am a Catholic lay hermitess and a Benedictine Oblate. I have taken vows of Solitude, Silence, and Simplicity. Over time, with this blog, I will explore the meaning of my vows and how I am growing into them. I took the name "Felicity" because it means "happiness." So, in this time of "social distancing", I thought I might have something to offer to the many people who are now finding themselves shut away into solitude involuntarily. I am starting this blog during the COVID-19 crisis, to offer some hope and comfort to others who might be finding the disruption and solitude challenging. The thing that most hermits say is most awfully challenging about settling into a life of solitude is having to confront themselves, in all their squalid flaws and weaknesses, without anyone else around them to share the blame or distract them from their own imperfections. It is a most painful process! So, the first thing I want to write about is learning to accept and lov