Father Charles Brandt, Canadian Hermit and Ecologist

Charles Brandt went live on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, in 1965. A year later, he was ordained to the Catholic priesthood at the Canadian Martyrs Church in Courtenay, which is now a theatre. He was mandated to live the life of a hermit priest.

“Which is pretty unusual,” he said. “I came from the Trappist Monks, that’s a Benedictine order. Everybody knew about the hermits on Vancouver Island from all over the world. It was a group that wanted more solitude that you couldn’t find in the big order…I came from New Melleray Abbey (Iowa) to join the hermitage on the Tsolum River — when the mine was going in on Mount Washington.”

As a member of the Hermits of St. John the Baptist, Father Charles first lived in a cabin he constructed near Headquarters Creek in the Tsolum River watershed before moving his hermitage to the banks of the Oyster River. Prior to moving to Canada, Brandt had served as a navigator with the U.S. air force during the 1940s. He later graduated with the aforementioned BSc. and a bachelor of divinity from Nashotah House, a theological seminary in Wisconsin.

“I’m not just a hippie copping out of society,” he said with a chuckle.

Every couple of years or so he will pack his van and journey south of the border to visit family and friends.
Besides his skill behind the lens, Brandt is also gifted with the pen. His published books include “Meditations From the Wilderness” and “Self and the Environment”.

He is also the subject of a chapter entitled “A Hermit of the Rivers”, which appears in the Stephen Hume book A Walk with the Rainy Sisters. Hume, a writer for the Vancouver “Sun”, was among a crowd that squeezed into a Campbell River church in 2007 to celebrate Brandt’s 40th anniversary as a hermit priest. Hume writes: “Brandt represents an ancient tradition of wise men and women withdrawing from the world, the better to reflect upon how best to serve God.”


Julian [of Norwich] wrote of a vision that she had had, a vision that we might have for the land: In her vision she understood God as holding all creation in his care, just like the little thing he showed her in her hand, the size of a hazel-nut, by which she came to understand that all creation “continueth and always shall, because God knoweth it, loveth it, keepeth it…and all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”
And so with The Land, our Watersheds, our hope is that all shall be well… if we are willing to share in the Great Work, helping to bring about a transition of our Society that is having a disruptive influence on the Earth to one that will have a Benign Presence to the Earth: To approach the Earth, the Universe with a sense of wonder and delight instead of a commodity for our personal benefit, as we fall in love with the earth, knowing that the earth is a sacred commons, and that we will only save what we love, only love that which is sacred: that only the sense of the sacred will save us.

see also http://ariverneversleeps.com/father-charles-brandts/

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