In Praise of Hiddenness

“In Praise of Hiddenness. The Spirituality of the Camaldolese Hermits of Monte Corona”, Father Louis-Albert Lassus (Editor), Holy Family Hermitage (June 1, 2006)
“Living at the heart of the mystery of the hidden life of Jesus at Nazareth, a Camaldolese hermit here sings the praises of the silent life in the desert of those men and women whom Christ calls. These few and very simple conferences were given to some brother hermits. They endeavor to express the meaning of their “disappearance”, which in our difficult and grandiose period of history has about it a savor of modernity. A subsequent reflection of the author on St. Romuald’s monastic experience has been translated from the Italian and added to this edition as an appendix. “A son of St. Romuald, you have sensed the call to disappear, as do all lovers. Hermits themselves are, in fact, lovers who have chosen the shade, a life hidden with Jesus in God . . . . It ought to be enough for us to be known by God.” Father Louis-Albert Lassus, O.P. (1916 – 2002), who prepared this anonymous work for publication in its original French edition and wrote the introduction, was a longtime friend of the Camaldolese Hermits. His writings include “Livre de vie des ermites et des reclus du bienheureux Paul Giustiniani, Pierre Damien, l’homme des deserts de Dieu, and “Nazarena, une recluse au Coeur de Rome”. An Italian translation of the present work was published in 2003.”

“This is a book of conferences by an anonymous Camaldolese Benedictine monk of the strict Monte Corona branch of the order. It is not a general introduction to the subject of the hermit life, it will have the most value for people specifically interested in Camaldolese hermit spirituality. It presents a picture, relatively more practical than sublime, of the monks’ struggle to define and live their vocation in the present, post-Vatican II world. These conferences touch on many different practical and spiritual concerns. What is the Christian meaning of the totally hidden life? Am I a lesser monk if I am not moved to copious tears over my sins? Is work an obstacle to the contemplative life? What is the relationship of the hermit to the Church? These are some of the matters discussed. There is also a 30 page essay “The Monastic Experience of St. Romuald (+ 1027); A New Interpretation of the Sources.””
“In Praise of Hiddenness is a series of eight conferences given by a contemporary prior of Monte Corona, examining true success, solitude, hesychasm, penthos, work, obedience, communio, and joy. The language is simple, but the reflections run deep. The author conforms his thinking to Holy Scripture, the Desert Fathers, and the Camaldolese tradition, but he is quite alert to the ills of postmodern society and to the medicine eremitism can supply. The book closes with an illuminating commentary on the sources for St. Romuald’s life. I highly recommend this book for those who wish to know about the hermit life or who wish to deepen their own spiritual knowledge.”
Further reading on Camaldolese Spirituality might include:

“Camaldolese Spirituality: Essential Sources” translations, notes, and introduction by Peter-Damian Belisle, Ercam Editions, 2007

“The Eremitic Life: Encountering God in Silence and Solitude” by Cornelius Wencel, Er.Cam.
Ercam Editions, 2007

The Privilege of Love: Camaldolese Benedictine Spirituality, Edited by Peter-Damian Belisle (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2002).

Camaldoli: A Journey into its History and Spirituality by Lino Vigilucci (California: Source Books, 1995).

The Mystery of Romuald and the Five Brothers: Stories from the Benedictines and Camaldolese by Fr. Thomas Matus (California: Source Books, 1994). The book includes Fr. Matus’ translation of two early Camaldolese classic texts: The Life of Blessed Romuald by St. Peter Damian and The Life of the Five Brothers by St. Bruno of Querfurt, one of the first disciples of St. Romuald, as well as Fr. Matus’ own Camaldolese experience and reflection.

Love on the Mountain: The Chronicle Journal of a Camaldolese Monk by Fr. Robert Hale (California: Source Books, 1999). The book offers a glimpse into the day-to-day life of the Hermitage monks, and reflections on Camaldolese spirituality.

See also “The Spiritual Theology Of The Camaldolese Hermits Of Monte Corona”

For a brief introduction to the Camaldolese see:
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For an interesting modern Camaldolese community in the USA, see:


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