Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Feast of St. Bruno, Founder of the Carthusian Order

In the Catholic Church, today is the feast day of the founder of the Carthusian order, St. Bruno (Unfortunately, he is not recognized on the Lutheran calendar).  Since the Carthusians are strict vegetarians, I wonder how they celebrate a feast?  An extra helping of peas? 

Anyway, I've written before about my admiration for the Carthusians (see "Carthusian spirituality" posts, but I have not written much yet about their founder, St. Bruno.  He was born in Cologne, Germany, and lived from approximately 1030 - 1101 A.D.   Once a professor of theology, he refused an offer to become an archbishop, and began to live as a hermit.  Eventually, this led to the beginning of the Carthusian order.

The Carthusians remember him as "having a profound influence over others.... (and) regard him as a spiritual master. He did not transmit more or less esoteric techniques.  The structure of the life he lived with his companions is drawn from the classical monastic tradition:  hermitages grouped after the fashion of a Palestinian lavra of the early centuries, a solitude in reality, but with the reinforcement of a common life on the one hand, and on the other, certain liturgical offices in common each day.  Their piety was fed by the common resources of the Church: the liturgy, the sacraments, the Word of God, Christ.... Bruno saw a life dedicated to the contemplation of God, not as a sacrifice that impoverished, but as the one thing most useful for a human being, the response to our deepest and most real needs."  (From "The Call of Silent Love", pp. 7-9).

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