The Confraternity of Penitents welcomes Diocesan Hermits, who are living a Rule of Life similar to ours, into alliance with the Confraternity. While not members of the Confraternity, hermit allies support the life of penance lived by CFP members and members support the hermits in their Diocesan vocation.
They must submit their Diocesan approved Rule of Life to the Minister General of the CFP who will present it to the Visitor and the Confraternity Council for consideration.
If the hermit's Rule is deemed to coincide with the Rule of the Confraternity of Penitents in all major areas, the hermit will be invited to become an ally to the Confraternity.
Once accepted, the hermit may then attend Confraternity retreats and days of recollection as well as Chapter and Circle meetings and other Confraternity functions. The hermit will be eligible to be a spiritual director to Confraternity members and a spiritual adviser to Confraternity Chapters and Circles.
Sister Elizabeth Bridget Clare
The Confraternity of Penitents welcomes Sister Elizabeth Bridget Clare of the Eucharist, a Diocesan hermit under the Diocese of Scranton PA (USA), as the first Diocesan Hermit in alliance with the CFP.
On March 27, 2004, then a wife and mother known as Elizabeth Hill, the future Sister had taken a life pledge and private vow to live the CFP Rule and Constitutions for life.
As her family obligations changed with the death of her husband, Elizabeth began to explore deeper forms of consecrated life, while still living the CFP Rule and Constitutions.
With the guidance and approval of Bishop Joseph Bambera of the Diocese of Scranton and his delegates, Elizabeth wrote a Rule of Life for herself as a Diocesan hermit, which closely follows the CFP Rule and Constitutions while adding additional statutes that pertain to the life of a consecrated Diocesan hermit.
Once the Diocese accepted her Rule, she presented it to the CFP for consideration.
The CFP has accepted the Rule as being extremely similar to the CFP Rule and Constitutions, thus bringing Sister Elizabeth Bridget Clare into alliance with the CFP.
We are grateful to God that our pledged and privately vowed sister has embraced the consecrated life of a hermit and equally grateful that her alliance with the CFP will allow for her continued interaction, on a religious level, with the Confraternity. May Christ bless her profession and the CFP as well.
Information on Diocesan Hermits
". . . The apostles left everything behind in order to be with Christ and to put themselves at the service of God and of their brothers and sisters. They had the mission of proclaiming the Kingdom of God.
God continues to call people to follow His Son and to devote themselves to Him with an undivided heart. He calls some to follow Him and dedicate their lives to Him by a special consecration through a life of poverty, chastity, and obedience. These men and women profess these three vows of the evangelical counsels in order to share Jesus’ experience, His life of poverty, chastity, and obedience.
It is a radical way of living the Gospel on this earth.
Since the early centuries of the Church, men and women have been called to live this consecrated life. It has taken many different and varied forms throughout the history of the Church. We are celebrating this year the Year of Consecrated Life, giving thanks to God for the gift of consecrated life in the Church. Most Catholics are quite familiar with the consecrated life of religious sisters, brothers, and priests, women and men who live in religious communities. Most of these communities are active; some are contemplative communities of monks and cloistered nuns.
There are also persons who live a consecrated life but are not members of religious communities. One form of this consecrated life is the eremitical life, the life of hermits. There have been hermits in the Church since at least the third century. We remember the famous Saint Anthony of Egypt, for example.
The lives of hermits were marked by solitude and prayer.
The Second Vatican Council acknowledged and affirmed this ancient form of consecrated life and it is described in the 1983 Code of Canon Law in this way: “In addition to the institutes of consecrated life, the Church recognizes the eremitic or anchoritic life by which the Christian faithful devote their life to the praise of God and the salvation of the world through a stricter withdrawal from the world, the silence of solitude and assiduous prayer and penance.”
The Code also says that “a hermit is recognized by law as one dedicated to God in consecrated life if he or she publicly professes in the hands of the diocesan bishop the three evangelical counsels, confirmed by vow or other sacred bond, and observes a proper program of living under his direction.”
(From a Homily given by Bishop Kevin Rhoades at the Temporary Profession of a Diocesan Hermit on July 8, 2015)