Sunday, March 13, 2011
At our "Come to the Quiet" Retreats, the Portiuncula Hermitage follows these brief instructions for Hermitages which St. Francis of Assisi set forth around 1222 to 1223 A.D.
Not more than three or at the most four friars should go together to a hermitage to lead a religious life there. Two of these should act as mothers, with the other two, or the other one, as their children. The mothers are to live the life of Marthas; the other two the life of Mary Magdalen.
Those who live the life of Mary are to have a separate enclosure and each should have a place to himself, so that they are not forced to live or sleep together. At sunset they should say Compline of the day. They must be careful to keep silence and say their Office, rising for Matins. Their first care should be to seek the kingdom of God and his justice (Luke 12:31). Prime and Terce should be said at the proper time, and after Terce the silence ends and they can speak and go to their mothers. Afterwards, they should say Sext and None, with Vespers at the proper time.
They are forbidden to allow anyone to enter the enclosure where they live, and they must not take their meals there.
The friars who are mothers must be careful to stay away from outsiders and in obedience to their custos keep their sons away from them, so that no one can speak to them. The friars who are sons are not to speak to anyone except their mother or their custos, when he chooses to visit them, with God's blessing. Now and then the sons should exchange places with the mothers, according to whatever arrangement seems best suited for the moment. But they should all be careful to observe what has been laid down for them, eagerly and zealously.
Saint Francis of Assisi
Religious Life in Hermitages