Hakai Magazine profiles the Catholic priest and hermit Charles Brandt, who lives on Vancouver Island. At 95, the naturalist reflects on nature, solitude, and spirituality in an article about him titled “The Oracle of Oyster River.” (Fr.Brandt has been cited in this blog several times.)
93-year old hermit-priest Charles Brandt, who lives on Vancouver Island, Canada, seeks lessons of nature in his avocation as avid photographer. Writes the Globe and Mail:
Father Brandt describes being a hermit priest as “a life of prayer, of meditation, of simple contemplation,” spent in search of a deeper connection with God through solitude.
“It’s actually trying to experience the ultimate reality, not just to think about it abstractly, or to read about it,” he said.
Operating out of the hermitage he built on a 15-hectare grove of old-growth forest situated on the banks of the Oyster River, Father Brandt lives alone, but not in isolation. Until he developed peripheral neuropathy recently, a nerve condition that causes numbness in his feet and hands, he regularly came out of his hermitage to help relieve local pastors. In the 1970s and 80s, he was engaged in environmental campaigns to protect the Oyster and Tsolum Rivers.
Twice a month, he plays host to meditations in his small cabin where he talks about inner peace and leads contemplative walks through the woods.
Short piece from the Vancouver, BC media site North Island Midweek, about Charles Brandt, a Catholic “hermit-priest.” Fr. Brandt is an 88-year old book conservator and photographer who lives in a hermitage off the Oyster River in a Vancouver wilderness. He was originally a Trappist.
Writer Stephen Hume, who features Brandt in a chapter of a book as “A Hermit of the Rivers,” writes of him:
“Brandt represents an ancient tradition of wise men and women withdrawing from the world, the better to reflect upon how best to serve God.”
Canadian poet/singer/songwriter Tanya Davis and filmmaker Andrea Dorfman created this reflective 4+ minute video titled “How To Be Alone.” At the YouTube site, click the caption to read the poem.
Brief newspaper item from The Gazette (Montreal) about Cynthia Bourgeault, “author, lecturer, workshop leader, Episcopal (Anglican) priest, grandmother … and a hermit.” Bourgeault lives on an island off the coast of Maine. The article notes her home, surroundings, and the role of solitude and silence in her teaching and books.
Other websites about Cynthia Bourgeault:
Biography and audio: http://www.contemplative.org/cynthia.html
Sample article “Silence is God’s First Language”: http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Faith-Tools/Meditation/2004/11/Silence-Is-Gods-First-Language.aspx
“Famous Hermits in Canadian History” is a recent blog maintained by Chris McKinnon. URL: http://canadianhermits.blogspot.com/
Article about Paul Marquis, employed as a webmaster for the local Catrholic archdiocese, who will live as a wilderness hermit. From the article: “After months of considering various locations, he said he expects this ‘desert’ experience will be in a simple shelter on a remote, forested piece of land, maybe on an island somewhere off the west coast of Canada.” Marquis is not pursuing the priesthood or canonical status as a hermit; his is a personal project. URL:
A Globe and Mail story (Oct. 11, 2005) about Wendell Beckwith, an amateur scientist who lived a reclusive life on Best Island, Ontario (Canada). American-born Beckwith hand-built an elaborate home in the woods, conducted scientific observations, and entertained a stream of visitors before his death at 65 in 1980. The Ministry of Natural Resources is mulling over whether to refurbish the isolated place or let it take its course in the wild. Concludes the article:
Ernie Nichols is a float pilot who lives in Armstrong and is one of the few locals to remember Mr. Beckwith. “He was a very intelligent man, but he was, at heart, a recluse,” he said. “He would have wanted it all just to go back to nature.”