Joseph Randolph, Franciscan Hermit in Australia
“At heart, the hermit represents the deepest yearnings and desires of the human person. The hermit speaks to the profound and simple nature of solitude, self-awareness, and letting go, or emptying of the self. What happens when we empty the self? Something might be there. Or something might be empty. We can only try, and wait, and see. Part of the mystery, and the danger, is that we do not know. And maybe we should not be allowed to know, I mean, ever. By living unknowing, we live in the very nature of question. We live the question.
By living the question, we wait in silence. In the liminal spaces between being and not being. We often imagine we hear an answer, like a small whisper. Some of us are quite deluded to think we have the answers, and then we teach and preach and wax and wane… endlessly… But God is not God, unless God is more.
So there is a deep irony in this Latin phrase, Vox Eremita. At once the ‘voice’ of the desert, of the wasteland, of the hinterland beyond the living places where people dwell, where life for anyone is hardly sustainable, this voice may well arise from illusion and projection, if not wholly from complete delusional thinking. And yet, the voice may also be of sight, touch, or smell, when the Spirit of Vital Life and Divine Wisdom breaks into our dull senses, and gives us something precious beyond reckoning. If we were to speak then, struck down by lightening. Nothing can compare with the wonder of God’s voice. But damned be the person who believes they are speaking with God’s voice.
And here is the rub… The voice of the hermit must surely be all of delightful madness and poetry. Like the songs of the Ancient Bards of Ireland. Like the mystical workings of the Ovate Masters, whose work it was to walk between the worlds of the Sacred Madness and the Human Sciences…
Therefore, we solitary hermits, other practitioners in the world, and we Christians who have let the Church be for many years, and who have stood by and watched the Church change these many years, and lived our lives silently, making our vows and good intentions part of our daily bread, we must now stand up and be counted.
The Church needs us. Western societies need us. The community and the political arena need us. The Church has and continues to wake up, as well, and is far more active across the world.”
“I follow the path of a hermit of mercy in Jesus and Mary, in the Franciscan tradition. My home is dedicated as Northcott St Clare Hermitage, in Armidale, New South Wales, Australia. As a member of the laity, my vows are taken privately, and while in discussion with the local bishop, my way of life does not yet fall under Canon 603 pertaining to a diocesan hermit.
My life is formed by St Clare’s four fold path of gazing, considering, contemplating, and imitating Jesus of Nazareth. I highly value Carmelite, Carthusian, and Cistercian traditions. I am a Roman Catholic.
Many people know me as Dr Joseph Randolph (Randy) Bowers, as a counselling psychotherapist, Senior Lecturer, teacher, and scholar.”
For Brother Joseph’s postings on the eremitical life, see: http://voxeremita.wordpress.com/category/hermit/ especially:
“A Study of the Lifestyle and Maturity of Hermits and People who Live in Solitude” [2 parts]
“On the Primacy of Solitude – The Path of a Hermit”
“St. Francis of Assisi, Rule for Hermitages 2 – A Model for the Diocesan Hermit”
Brother Joseph holds a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies and Philosophy from Mount St Vincent University (MSVU and a Master of Human Ecology and Family Life Education. In 1996, he completed a Master of Education in Counselling at Acadia University. In 1998, he received a PhD scholarship in Australia at the University of New England (UNE), and graduated during 2002. Dr Bowers has taught in universities ever since, holding positions with Australian, Canadian, United Kingdom, and Irish campuses.
See also http://mikmawarchives.ca/authors/randolph-randy-bowers and http://www.cbu.ca/mrc/randolph-bowers
He is the co-author (with Nadine Pelling and Philip Armstrong) of “The Practice of Counselling” [Nelson Thomson Learning, 2006] and the author of “On the Threshold: Personal Transformation and Spiritual Awakening – A Primer on the Spiritual Life with Activities” [Earth Rattle Publishing Pty Ltd, 2012] and “Humanity. The Search for Place” [Earth Rattle Publishing Pty Ltd, 2013].