There are four major monastic orders: The Benedictine, The Dominican, The Franciscan, and The Franciscan ‘Minori’. But hidden away in the highlands of south central Calabria, Italy, is a monastery complex not belonging to any of these Orders. It has been there for more than one thousand years, and is still virtually unknown to the outside world.
The monastery is called the Certosa of San Bruno. Its Cloister is inhabited by a small Order of monks known as Certosini. At present there are nineteen monks in residence. They are an Order dedicated to contemplation, solitude, and prayer. They are also unusual for one singular characteristic: they are dedicated to carrying out their mission in complete silence. For the majority of time, the Certosini spend their days in a small, spare room or cell where they read, think, and contemplate in silence. At work (in the fields, the library or the kitchen) they are absolutely silent. At Mass, matins, devotions, and meals not a word is spoken.
Sunday is the one day of the week when the monks may converse. It is their community day. But even then, the conversation is limited to the matters of the Certosa-no “small talk.” Orders for the coming weeks are issued by the Priore, Jacques Dupont, who has held the position for the last ten years. Other issues of importance to the entire community are raised and discussed. Silence then resumes. Read more of this article »
Posted in Italy, Op-Ed