The Call of the Desert

A classic study of the Christian eremitical tradition is Peter Anson’s “The Call of the Desert: the Solitary Life in the Christian Church” (1964, new edition 1973)), now, alas, long out of print. This is an expansion on the author’s earlier work, “The Quest of Solitude” (1932): text available at–Solitude.pdf
Peter Anson
Peter Frederick (Charles) Anson (August 22, 1889-July 10, 1975) was a notable English writer on religious, architectural, and maritime topics, whose own religious life and interests were more than a little eccentric.
anson yelton
See Michael Yelton, Peter Anson: Monk, Writer and Artist”(Anglo-Catholic History Society, 2010).

Anson was also the author of “Hermit of Cat Island: The Life of Fra Jerome Hawes” (1957).
John Cyril Hawes (1876-1956) was saintly, romantic, slightly eccentric, a devoted missionary, a true Franciscan and a renowned priest-architect,- as an Anglican, he wanted to establish the Franciscan Order within the body of the Church of England. Converted to Roman Catholicism, he labored as a missionary and priest-architect in Australia and the Bahamas and finally built himself a hermitage on Cat Island where he was seldom left alone to live the hermit’s life to the full. Cat Island, Bahamas, is a hook-shaped island stretching about 48 miles long and only four miles across at the widest part. It is in the central Bahamas and boasts the nation’s highest point – Mount Alvernia – which rises to 206 ft (63 m). At the top, sits a monastery called The Hermitage, built in 1939.
Hawes’ architectural talents were in demand and he spent much time designing churches and supervising building on Cat Island, Long Island, and in Nassau where a convent, a boys’ college, and the Benedictine Monastery of St Augustine brought him fame. Worn out through hard work and a severe regimen, he died in St Francis Hospital, Miami, Florida, United States of America, on 26 June 1956. He was buried in the cave he had prepared for himself below his hermitage on the hilltop of Cat Island.


One Response to “The Call of the Desert”

  1. I am aware of the work of Father Jerome Hawes in the Bahamas which includes Nassau , Cat Island and Long Island.One of his greatest construction is the church of “Saint Francis of Assisi” on Cat Island.He was a scholar of St. Francis and imitated his life of poverty and faith.My prayer is that one day he will be a Saint of the
    Roman Catholic Church.
    Vera Chase

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: