Should not interfere with anything in regards to family life. Quite the contrary, everything should improve. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and everything else will be given you." (Sacred Scripture).
I had already been living the life of a Lay Dominican (and Passionist) since my college days. When the Cloisterites went eremitical, I was advised to live the life myself in order to better redirect the group from a cenobitic focus to eremitical. Combining this with autism, where in some cases one prefers to be a homebody, I found my niche. I was also asked about autistic spirituality by a local autism service provider, and eremitism in such a case makes perfect sense.
I had been using the term 'recluse' because that's what came to me. Upon further research, that's exactly what the layfolk who embraced such a way of life were called when the Anchoritic Movement swept Europe around the year 1000. Anchorites lived in "anchorholds" attached to churches, and some were permitted to go into the church for the sake of giving instruction. Otherwise, they were content to spend the rest of their living days sealed into one to three rooms, praying; giving advice through a grill; and observing Mass and receiving communion through a window. More often than not, they were Third Order Secular.
St. Colette of Corbie, the great Poor Clare reformer, was a Secular Franciscan recluse in her hometown of Corbie, France, before the reform. The scars of the anchorhold can still be seen on the Rue Parmentier side of the church, at the back, between two buttresses. (Google Earth is the next best thing to being there, too).
Back to the year 1000, though. Layfolk were drawn to this way of life, also, but in their own particular circumstances. Two hundred years later, the phenomenon would occur again when St. Clare formed the Poor Ladies in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi. Rich women had cloisters built onto their mansions. Anchorites/Anchoresses were still in vogue when St. Colette became one, but the Franciscans had strayed from their austere, empoverished way of life, hence the reason why God called her from the anchorhold to become a reformer.
The Code of Canon Law of 1983 resurrected the Order of Hermits, and I don't see any problem with God calling someone from the laity to be counterparts of their vowed eremitical brethren. History supports this trend. I refer to lay hermits as "catechetical" hermits, because the catechism doesn't specify vows, it says only that some are drawn to live such a life. Hermits who have made vows to their bishops are known as canonical hermits, persuant to canon 603.
In the two spiritual traditions in which I live--Dominican and Paulacrucian (Passionist)--both founders placed a lot of emphasis on getting one-on-one with God. St. Paul of the Cross had their convents--"Retreats"--built in secluded areas surrounded by nature for the sake of rejuvenating his friars. St. Dominic would spend the entire night in prayer before going out to preach.
As I tell everyone who comes to Cloister Outreach for vocational support, the cloister is God and the soul--the building is irrelevant. Concentrate on the cloister of the heart first, then if He wants you in an actual, physical cloister living the evangelical counsels, He will provide. And from the looks of the statistics for cloistered vocations, He is indeed calling many to appease His Wrath.
However, in the spirit of St Therese, a cloistered nun-saint who did little things with great love, we should give ourselves over to the Loving Father who is the One True God. He wants a loving relationship with us--always has, always will. No matter how wretched our past has been, He will take us back (contrary to what the pagans/occultists are telling their adherents). St. Augustine was a former Manachean. Blessed Bartolo Longo, TOP, was a former Satanic High Priest.
In our Book of Revelation, Mary is the woman who will slay the Great Dragon (the goddess at her "best"). There will be no defeat of the "judeo-christian god," because He was there before these imposters were. (Please note that in the movie "The Passion of the Christ," the Devil is portrayed as a woman. The movie is based on the revelations of one of the great mystics of the church, Sr. Anne Catherine Emmerich, a German Augustinian nun. Places which she had seen have been independently verified).
In my reclusion, I aim to console the One True God for the insanity which has pervaded our world. Silence fills this little hermitage out of respect for the King of Kings. I am very little, but that massive bloodshed on Good Friday was meant for me, too. It was meant for everyone, no exceptions. This means you, too.
I don't remember a lot about the last several months, aside from going through symptoms that I thought were never going to end. I dragged myself back to the GI specialist, and he said that the systems should have adjusted by then, and put me on some medication. Such proved to be the "magic bullet," but I was still very weak from the previous symptoms. If the gallbladder stuff had happened without the gastroenteritits, I would have recovered faster, and vice versa.
During this time, I learned a lot about the Prayer of Simple Regard, and the Prayer of the Will. The latter I discovered when reading about St. Vincent de Paul's writings on Mental Prayer. He taught the sick to use the "Prayer of the Will," as he called it. I found it to be similar to St. Therese's prayers during the final days of her life. Her sisters found her looking to Heaven with her hands folded in prayer. She explained that that was her prayer--loving Him.
I have had to chill in more than one way. I could not watch TV or read the news. Sensory Integration Dysfunction overload had to be quelled. Absolute silence both within and without. I asked God if there was anything we were missing/overlooking, and my attention was drawn to the master bathroom lineoleum. Once the old stuff was removed, I felt a lot better.
In June, God showed me what He wants me to do after He takes hubby, and it does not include marriage. Hubby then left the church in July, disenchanted by the sex abuse scandals, among other things. When the boys returned to school in late August, the germs were already flying. On the fourth day of school, one was home sick. After what I've been through, I'm a sitting duck where immunity issues are concerned. I have been praying fervently for my guys not to bring anything home to me. In our family history, February and March have been the worst months for it. Germs picked up during Christmas holidays will have had time to incubate.
September brought my Aspie son's 18th birthday, and we have guardianship issues to take care of. October, I was busy putting together a 10 page report for my local bishop on the activities of Cloister Outreach this past year. November I turned 47 and we had a blessed Thanksgiving with relatives. We should always support in prayer those who are experiencing the holidays without their loved ones, for whatever reason they might be absent.
I was also stunned to learn of the death of one of our beloved high school coaches in my hometown. He was not only a pillar of the community, but a deacon of the church in which I grew up. He had been my Sunday School teacher one year, and always referred to Jesus as "God." He was a man of tremendous faith and compassion, and could not believe that God had blessed him with twins the first time he and his wife were expecting.
I am seriously considering giving up blogging. Experience has proven it is not healthy--at least not for me. I started it for the sake of those praciticing lay eremitism. I admit that while I have lived a reclusive life for religious reasons (and my bishop knows about this), my experiences probably have not been all that helpful to anyone. Some readers seem to think I am in need of an "in your face" style of novitiate for some reason. I am not a religious, I am a lay person, and insist on being respected as such. I have no qualms about contacting someone's ISP if they persist in their harrassment. I have an amicable relationship with my local chancery.
The Cloisterites are going to eventually take over Cloister Outreach's webpresence, to include the blogs. If I see that my energies are useful on the blogisphere, I may return. As of right now, I don't have the energy.
I would've blogged sooner, but I sustained a concussion when I ran into the oral surgeon's light's elbow joint last Tuesday. I might be a 94 on the Attention Deficit Disorder scale, but that whack put me at 99.
I am still dealing with the stomach issues. I had a lot thrown at me this past year, and I just simply have to chill and give the body a chance to regroup. My GI specialist wants to scope me, too. I've been working on a couple of novels (I consider myself a freelance writer in semi-retirement), and I'm trying to organize research materials for other works-in-progress. This in addition to my work with Cloister Outreach.
School finally ended on the 11th. My Aspie son made the A Honor Roll; the other son made the A-B Honor Roll. We're catching up on Dr. Who now. The Aspie has oral surgery on the eve of the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. He has one tooth impacted, which will be removed. Two others haven't come in yet, but since they are unopposed, they will have to be removed--probably within the next 2-3 years. The only reason I'm posting that is for educational purposes.
Presently recouperating from laparoscopic gallbladder removal surgery. I met with the surgeon last Wednesday, and Friday morning, bright and early, I was at the local surgery center. State law forbade a stay longer than 23 hours, so I was back home by 5:30am Saturday morning. I'm still deaing with gastroenteritis, though.
My Aspergers son is having feeding issues, too, but the Duocal seems to be stimulating his appetite, finally. He lost 20 pounds last year during the wintertime virus season, and never gained it back. We were sent to the "Kids-Eat" program at Wake Forest, and they put him on a treatment plan.
I had thought after mom's funeral I would be able to settle into some peace and quiet here at the house, and lead a quietly penitential Lent, but God had some very incredible plans for us. As St. Francis de Sales says, "Don't go looking for the cross, it'll find you."
Our locality was hit hard by wintertime viruses. After being sick for two weeks, the Norwalk virus exploited my Asperger's son's condition. He had a seizure--a result of dehydration--and had to be taken to the ER via ambulance. Once he was through that, my other son was out of school several days with a fever that wouldn't hardly go down. I got the same fever, and on top of that, had to contend with internet slander that was unleashed upon me and the fledgling Cloisterites. My spiritual director, a Dominican involved in full-time formation in Quebec, was a real hero through it all. I am a simple housewife, mother, webmaster, and foundress. In the last two offices, I work entirely within my boundaries.
I kept thinking the abdominal pain I was experiencing was just stress, or a virus, but when the pain increased, and I had to start double-swallowing, I knew I needed to get to the dr. Four ounces at a time, and even that didn't want to be happy where it was. I am reclined more than I am up. Gravity makes the symptoms worse. TV and radio--sound for that matter--are intolerable. I need to spend the time with God anyway.
An ultrasound showed gallstones, but that doesn't explain the rest of my symptoms. A barium swallow is scheduled for this week. (Hopefully, the country doesn't melt down before that).
I will have to close here, since I am weak from not eating and from the symptoms themselves.
Where were you when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated? I was being born in KY's second oldest city. I spent the next 17 years being raised in a God-fearing Southern Baptist home, while learning retail sales. I joined the 1980 Tiber Swim Team, then went on to practical nursing school after graduating high school. From there I attended Berea College, and changed majors to English after burning out of nursing.
I obtained a secretarial job with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) through Manpower after graduating.
In the course of my vocations work, I started having memories of childhood abuse (NOT my dad!!!). After being in therapy, I met hubby.
Our marriage has been anything but "normal." Deaths by cancer, wars, relocation for jobs, babies, autism, homeschooling. . .
and promoting vocations to the cloisters on the side.
God is good--and He does have a sense of humor!