London solitary’s hut

From the Daily Mail: Albert Pike lost his job and suffered a nervous breakdown, becoming homeless. But through his ingenuity, the 28-year old has constructed a makeshift shelter in a north London wood, gradually enhancing the hut’s amenities to include running water, solar panels, and vegetable garden. A trust that claims ownership of the property has announced that he must vacate. This is a not unfamiliar drama for involuntary solitaries and shows the vulnerability of not only society but members who cannot psychologically transition back to the world — or get to the point where they don’t want to anymore. Albert Pike himself notes:

Through being spiritual, positive and adapting to the changes in life I have managed to get through these hard times and become a better person. … No one knows I’m here. I am so proud of what I have achieved and feel so lucky to call this place home.


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Swiss nun quits hermit post

As reported in 2014, the Verena Hermitage in Switzerland had announced a job search for a resident hermit. The position called for a solitary who nevertheless could entertain visitors to the historic church and grounds and maintain popular interest in the centuries-old site. The administrators of the church and hermitage selected Sister Benedikta, but the arrangement did not work out as the publicity about the hermitage and the new hermit resident brought an unexpectedly large number of visitors. Sister Benedikta quit after 18 months. From the SwissInfo site:

Because the hermitage has proved a sightseer magnet, the local community had asked for a “sociable” hermit to fill the position. This followed the resignation of the previous occupant, Verena Dubacher, who, after five years in the job, withdrew in 2014 on the grounds that too many visitors had damaged her health.

Sister Benedikta, a divorced mother of four children who took religious orders in 2011, had declared herself as ready for the rigours of the unusual posting when she beat off 118 other applicants in the summer of 2014. But she now has been forced to step down after being treated as an object of curiosity.

“I never had a problem with the number of people who came for spiritual advice or pastoral care,” she told the 20 Minuten newspaper. But other visitors were just nosy, and wanted to see what a hermit was like or to have a chat. “It simply became too much for me,” she said.