Silence, Solitude, Simplicity

“Silence, Solitude, Simplicity: A Hermit’s Love Affair with a Noisy, Crowded, and Complicated World” by Sister Jeremy Hall (2007)
Contrary to what one may think, embracing solitude, even as a hermit, is not a rejection of the world at large. “The person who embraces true solitude, either at certain times, or as a way of life, is not running away from, nor rejecting anyone. Rather, such a person is making room within, is preparing to welcome someone – God, others, self. It is a positive choice, … and it is for a positive goal.” God seems to be calling more and more people to lives of solitude. Hermits, practicing a way of life which has not been greatly embraced since the sixteenth century, are growing in number. Even those who cannot make such an extreme commitment to solitude are seeking it in smaller doses through retreats. Solitude often then leads to greater service. Once the well has been filled with the Spirit, there is more to offer to others. “Every Christian solitary, whether living in a hermitage for a long time or going to a quiet place now and again for some desert time, has to discern, with prayer, in grace, and often with the help of another, the right personal balance between solitude and service.”
sister jeremy
Sister Jeremy Hall, O.S.B., was a member of Saint Benedict’s Monastery, St. Joseph, Minnesota. She held a doctorate in theology from Marquette University and taught theology at the College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University and School of Theology/Seminary, and at Creighton University.

In the late ’70s and early ’80s she took a sabbatical and a few long retreats to the Monastery of Christ in the Desert in Abiquiu, New Mexico, which made a deep impression on her. In her search for more prayer time and solitude, she became vowed hermit. She moved to a trailer on the edge of the property, where she lived from 1983 to 2005 with her dog. From there she wrote, and became well known as a retreat leader for religious communities and a spiritual director for individuals. Like all the Sisters, even as a hermit, she worked. Like that famous hermit Thomas Merton, she wrote innumerable letters. She deeply affected people’s lives. Sister Jeremy was a prolific writer, and produced many letters, articles, meditations and books. Her books were “The Full Stature of Christ: The Ecclesiology of Virgil Michel, OSB”, 1976; texts to accompany the O Antiphons in 1976; and “Silence, Solitude, Simplicity: A Hermit’s Love Affair With a Noisy, Crowded and Complicated World”, 2007. In 2006, Sister Jeremy retired to Saint Scholastica Convent. She died on November 15, 2006

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