Solitaries of DeKoven

An interesting and innovative, and now defunct, attempt at a revival of the eremitical life was the Solitaries of DeKoven, a Religious Order of Hermits within the Episcopal Church that embraced an ecumenical expression.
dekoven cross
“With the death of one of our members and due to increasing age of the existing two members, we are no longer accepting new inquirers for vowed membership.

Although we may be small in numbers, we endeavour to live our vows faithfully in marked solitude and prayer in joyful abandonment to God’s love and life in the silence of the hermitage. Our day revolves around the Divine Office, contemplation, and intercession, study, and manual labour.

Although the vocation to solitude may appear strange in today’s world, hermits follow in the footsteps of many thousands of people throughout the centuries who have drawn apart to spend their lives in prayer for the Church and the world. In the 3rd and 4th centuries hundreds of thousands of men and women lived in the deserts of Egypt, Palestine, and Syria as hermits or anchorites (the terms are interchangeable). This was the beginning of the vowed Religious life in the Christian Church and branched into both communal and solitary expressions of that life.

The vocation to silence and solitude witnesses to the fact that life is measured not by doing but by being. The work of prayer demands a discipline comparable to any other endeavor; and this work of prayer is not one of life’s extracurricular activities, done in spare time, but the very foundation of any other work a Christian may undertake.”
James DeKoven (September 19, 1831 – March 19, 1879) was a priest, an educator and a leader of the Oxford Movement in the Episcopal Church. DeKoven is buried on the grounds of Racine College, now the DeKoven Center, in Racine, Wisconsin.



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