Theo Todman's Web Page - Notes Pages



(Text as at 23/08/2007 14:54:14)

(For earlier versions of this Note, see the table at the end)

St. Hugh’s Charterhouse,
Henfield Road, Partridge Green
Horsham, Sussex RH13 8EB
17th April 1978

My Dear Theo,

I was very pleased to get your letter and to learn that you had decided to make the trial in cell here. There can be no doubt that it is the wise and prudent thing to do. As I said to you when you were in the guest house, you would not be able to give yourself wholeheartedly to anything else until this matter is settled one way or the other. It’s good to hear that the Abbot1 is of the same opinion.

As to date: our Canonical Visitation begins on Saturday 22nd and will last about a week. You could come any time after – Tuesday 2nd May or as soon after as convenient for you. If you come on nd (Tuesday) better to arrive not earlier than about 4 pm in case the walk2 is on that day. Also, better avoid Sundays or Mondays, inconvenient for me. The two retreatants3 have come, and gone! So I have sufficient vacant cells. The postulant comes on Friday. So you should have three4 companions.

It is clear that Our Lord is calling you to intimate union with him. From my own experience of twelve years as a coenobite5 and twenty as a hermit monk I can testify that the latter vocation does provide a much more favourable milieu for the contemplative life; and a vocation to it is a great grace. But whatever God wills. That is all that maters. And there are many beautiful and holy vocations in the Church, including the English Benedictine Cong(regation). We are [having?] Card(inal) Hume’s book in the refectory and I note he is unsympathetic to the absolute contemplative ideal. The mixed life of his monastery is his personal ideal. It is all a question of vocation.

May I suggest that in your attempt here you take a very positive line regarding our vocation? It is perhaps the negative side that is more evident on a first visit – separation from world, fasting, silence etc. But if one looks to the monastic traditions, how positive they were! A monastery is “a school of love” where love is practiced and taught. They speak of the “Paradise of the Cloister”. The cell “is holy ground, a place where, as a man with his friend, the Lord and his servant often speak together, there is the faithful soul frequently united with the word of God; there is the bride made one with her spouse; there is earth joined to heaven, the divine to the human.”
(quotation from our statutes). This is what the life is all about. The negative side is concerned with removing obstacles to this life of love.

“The Golden Epistle” of. St. William of St. Thierry which is published in the Cistercian Fathers Series (Number six), Shannon, Ireland, and which was written for the Carthusians, presents a very high and fine ideal of the life. Read paragraphs 1-40. You will be able to get the book in the library.

Meanwhile I will keep you in my prayers and masses that God may guide you to what He wants. You may be certain that a retreat in cell here will bring you abundant graces, whatever the outcome.

God bless you and fill you with his peace.

Yours devotedly in Christ Jesus

Fr. Bernard O’D

P.S. You got my name correctly. Please let me know date of arrival.

Previous Version of this Note:

Date Length Title
22/08/2007 14:45:36 3239 Bernard_780417

Note last updated Reference for this Topic Parent Topic
23/08/2007 14:54:14 552 (Bernard_780417) Carthusians - Main Text

Summary of Note Links from this Page

Ampleforth Carthusian Novices Carthusian Retreatants Carthusian Walks Coenobites and Hermits

To access information, click on one of the links in the table above.

Summary of Note Links to this Page

Carthusians - Main Text        

To access information, click on one of the links in the table above.

Text Colour Conventions

  1. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)

© Theo Todman, June 2007 - June 2019.Please address any comments on this page to output:
Website Maintenance Dashboard
Return to Top of this PageReturn to Theo Todman's Philosophy PageReturn to Theo Todman's Home Page