Tag Archives: Carthusian

St Bruno embraced love

What is the vocation of the Carthusian monk/nun founded by St. Bruno of Cologne?

“The mystery of vocation, by which God calls certain people to a purely contemplative life and all-embracing love; the mystery of hidden lives of self-effacement with Christ who effaced himself; the mystery of the prayer of Christ in the wilderness during the nights of his public life and at Gethsamene; that prayer of Christ that continues in certain privileged souls at every period in the history of the Church; the mystery of being solitary while remaining present to the world, of silence and the light of the Gospel, simplicity, and the glory of God.” (Andre Ravier, Saint Bruno the Carthusian, 14)

Saint Hugh of Lincoln

St Hugh of Lincoln“Saint Hugh’s primary emblem is a white swan, in reference to the story of the swan of Stowe which had a deep and lasting friendship with the saint, even guarding him while he slept. The swan would follow him about, and was his constant companion while he was at Lincoln. Hugh loved all the animals in the monastery gardens, especially a wild swan that would eat from his hand and follow him about and yet the swan would attack anyone else who came near Hugh.”

Hugh is a 12th century monk, priest and bishop of Lincoln. The monk-bishop is a reformer. One reform was that the priests needed to live at the parishes they were assigned and to minister to the sick and the needy. He is the patron saint of sick children, sick people, shoemakers, and swans. Hugh is the first Carthusian to be canonized.

Saint John Houghton, Saint Robert Lawrence, and Saint Augustine Webster

St John Houghton.jpg

Saint John Houghton (1487-1535), born in Essex, England, became a parish priest then found his vocation with the Carthusian Order, an order founded by Saint Bruno. In history the Carthusian vocation is given to few.  In the North America, in fact, in Vermont, there is only Charterhouse for monks. There is no monastery for Carthusian nuns. We do, however, have a monastery of nuns aggregated to the Carthusian order called, The Monastic Family of Bethlehem and of the Assumption of the Virgin, Livingston Manor, New York. They are impressive nuns because of the complete faithfulness to the charism of being with God alone.

Father Houghton was elected Prior of the Beauvale Charterhouse, Northhampton, for a few months before moving to the London Charterhouse.  In 1534, he was with Blessed Humphrey Middlemore (killed on 19 June 1535), for refusing to accept the Act of Succession, which recognized the legitimacy of the monarchial authority of Elizabeth I. Had Houghton and Middlemore signed the  Act of Succession they would have been released. There were two Carthusian monks accepted the law “as far as the law of God allows” and were released.

Houghton was arrested again in 1535 but this time with Saint Robert Lawrence and Saint Augustine Webster finally for refusing to accept the Act of Supremacy.  Lawrence was the Prior of the Beauvale Charterhouse and Webster was the Prior of the Axholme Charterhouse at the time of the arrests. The three were hanged, drawn, and quartered on this date in1535.

With the Church we pray:


Almighty and everlasting God, who kindled the flame of your love in the hearts of your holy martyrs Saint John Houghton, Saint Robert Lawrence, and Saint Augustine Webster: grant to us, your humble servants, a like faith and power of love, that we who rejoice in their triumph may profit by their examples.

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God keeps us waiting because…


“Why does God, who is love, keep us waiting?
Because He is love, and seeks love. Love that does not know how to wait is not
love. To love is to give ourselves. No only for a fraction of a lifetime, nor
with a part of its strength: love is, and seeks, the total gift of self….
Delays in union [with God] are not time lost; far from it. God sees very far
ahead; He makes wonderful use of what we call evilof our wanderings, our
hesitations and detours
, although He does not love them or want them. It is at these
moments, above all, that we need confidence and perseverance. The prayer,
whether for ourselves or for others, that is not discouraged, which persists
and besieges Heaven, touches God’s heart; and that is why He tells us to
persevere.”


Dom Augustin Guillerand, O. Cart.
A French Carthusian monk (1877-1945) of the Charterhouse of La Valsainte, Switzerland

Saint Bruno


St Bruno in prayer.jpgO God, who called Saint Bruno to serve you in
solitude, grant, through his intercession that amid the changes of this world
we may constantly look to you alone.


In the USA, there is only one monastery for men that lives under the Rule of Saint Bruno. The Charterhouse of the Holy Transfiguration (Arlington, VT). A friend recently began his novitiate there, so let’s pray for Father Ignatius as he transitions into his new vocation.

But there is another group in the USA, of women, who follow the Rule of Saint Bruno but are not aggregated to the Carthusian Order, called The Monastic Family of Bethlehem and of the Assumption of the Virgin (Livingston Manor, NY). Founded in 1950, the Order has had tremendous growth.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT, follows the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, and is an Oblate of Saint Benedict, works as a monastery farmer and a keeper of honey bees. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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