Whoever you are, whom the hazards of the Internet have led to this site, you are welcome.
You will find little or nothing of what the present world appreciates, not even the concern to be different. We offer you here a quick presentation of the Carthusian Order; in the corresponding pages of the monks and nuns you will be able to go deeper into the little known world of the Carthusians…
Jesus said: « I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through me » (Jn 14, 6).
« Christ, the Father’s Word, has through the Holy Spirit, from the beginning chosen certain men, whom he willed to lead into solitude and unite to himself in intimate love » (Statutes 1.1).
It is to this call that the Carthusians want to respond, imitating him especially in his hidden life of Nazareth, in his fasting in the desert, in his prayer to the Father alone in the mountain, and in the total gift of self.
Master Bruno, « man with a deep heart », after leading, for a long time, the famous cathedral school of Reims, responded to the divine call to live a life exclusively for God alone, entered the Chartreuse massif in 1084 with six companions to revive the spirit of the Desert Fathers in the West. He later founded another monastery in Calabria, where he died in 1101.
Initiator and inspiration of the Carthusian vocation, he is our Founding Father.
The Carthusian Order
This semi-hermitic monastic order has developed over the ages in other places and countries. It includes a man’s branch and a woman’s branch. Today there are twenty-one houses in the world.
The houses are united by charity, by an identical observance, by the General Chapter (every two years) and by regular canonical visits.
For more than nine centuries all its monasteries have been dedicated exclusively to the contemplative life, without pastoral ministry, where monks and nuns lead a life of solitude and prayer in the heart of the Church.
The Carthusians devote their lives entirely to prayer and the search for God in the secret of the heart. Their mission is to remain with the Source, in the name of all. They intercede for the Church and for the needs of the whole world.
Their lives are balanced around three axes:
silence, solitude, remaining in the cell;
the common prayer of the Church, three times a day, as well as some fraternal encounters;
their own liturgy, adapted to their lifestyle and their small number.
The solitary life
« Our principal endeavour and goal is to devote ourselves to the silence and solitude of cell. […] 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 » (Statuts 4.1).
All live a solitary life of prayer and work, in cell for some, while others are more dedicated to the daily tasks of the monastery. Prayer, meditation and work follow one another with great regularity, in the rhythm of the liturgical year and the seasons.
Their solitude implies a separation from the world, realised by the enclosure. This translates itself, among other things, into, the renunciation of receiving guests and all exterior apostolate; visits limited to our family, once or twice a year; no, or very little direct contact with the media.
« The grace of the Holy Spirit gathers solitaries together to form a communion in love… » (Statutes 21.1).
Carthusian solitude is not total, but is balanced by a share of community life, in particular by the conventual Eucharist, the long night vigils and Vespers.
On Sunday, the union of hearts is more visibly expressed and strengthened by the midday meal in common and a recreation.
The weekly walk permits both fraternal meeting and relaxation in contact with nature.
We like to celebrate the eternal novelty of the mystery of the Blessed Virgin Mary spiritually engendering Christ in our hearts. That is why normally her little office precedes the hours of the liturgical office of the day.
We are used to calling her « The Most Special Mother of the Carthusians » because by her example of humility, total openness to God and fidelity to his will, she is the mother and model of all Carthusians.
She leads us to Jesus.
The material life
The Carthusians may have “left the world”, but they are not withdrawn from the human condition common to all; they must therefore supply all the needs of a life characterised by poverty and austerity.
Each community is economically autonomous and generally assures its subsistence by agricultural or artisan work, and also by Mass offerings. However, at the level of the Order, there is a system of equalisation by which the richer houses support the poorer, in particular through the revenue generated by the fabrication of the liquor of Chartreuse.
You, who are my Lord,
you, whose will I prefer to my own,
I can no longer pray just with words:
Hear my cry rising to you like an immense thunder …
You, whose servant I have made myself,
with perseverance I pray you,
and will pray to you again,
to deserve to get you.
For it is not a possession of the earth that I seek;
I ask only what I must ask: You alone!
Have, then, pity on me.
And since your mercy is immense
and great is my sin,
have pity on me greatly
to the full extent of your mercy!
Then, I will be able to sing your praises
in contemplating you, Lord.
I will bless you with a blessing
that will last throughout the centuries.
I will praise you with praise and contemplation,
in this world and in the other,
like Mary of Bethany, whom the Gospel tells us
chose the best part.
(Prayer attributed to saint Bruno)