Tag Archives: Carthusian

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

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.

Pope Benedict throws light on the value of the monastic life

Pope and Carthusians 2011.jpgIn speaking at a Charterhouse on October 9, Pope
Benedict contrasted modern life and the monastic life saying that society
“throws light on the specific charism of the Carthusian monastery as a
precious gift for the Church and for the world, a gift which contains a
profound message for our lives and for all humanity. I would summarise it in
these terms: by withdrawing in silence and solitude man, so to speak, ‘exposes’
himself to the truth of his nakedness, he exposes himself to that apparent
‘void’ I mentioned earlier. But in doing so he experiences fullness, the
presence of God, of the most real Reality that exists. … Monks, by leaving
everything, … expose themselves to solitude and silence so as to live only
from what is essential; and precisely in living from the essential they
discover a profound communion with their brothers and sisters, with all

Pope and Carthusian Prior 2011.jpg

This vocation, the Pope went on, “finds its response in a
journey, a lifelong search. … Becoming a monk requires time, exercise,
patience. … The beauty of each vocation in the Church lies in giving time to
God to work with His Spirit, and in giving time to one’s own humanity to form,
to grow in a particular state of life according to the measure of maturity in
Christ. In Christ there is everything, fullness. However we need time to
possess one of the dimensions of His mystery. … At times, in the eyes of the
world, it seems impossible that someone should spend his entire life in a
monastery, but in reality a lifetime is hardly sufficient to enter into this
union with God, into the essential and profound Reality which is Jesus

“The Church needs you and you need the Church”, the
Holy Father told the monks at the end of his homily. “You, who live in
voluntary isolation, are in fact at the heart of the Church; you ensure that
the pure blood of contemplation and of God’s love flows in her veins”.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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