Carthusian

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The Carthusian Order, also called the Order of St. Bruno, is a Roman Catholic religious order of enclosed monastics. The order was founded by Saint Bruno of Cologne in 1084 and includes both monks and nuns. The order has its own Rule, called the Statutes, rather than the Rule of St Benedict, and combines eremitical and cenobitic life.

The name Carthusian is derived from the Chartreuse Mountains; Saint Bruno built his first hermitage in the valley of these mountains in the French Alps. The word charterhouse, which is the English name for a Carthusian monastery, is derived from the same source.[1] The motto of the Carthusians is Stat crux dum volvitur orbis, Latin for "The Cross is steady while the world is turning."

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Carthusian character

A Carthusian Charterhouse might best be described, paradoxically, as a community of hermits. There are no abbeys and each house is headed by a prior and is populated by choir monks, referred to as hermits, and lay brothers.

Each hermit- that is, a monk who is or who will be a priest - has his own living space, called a cell, usually consisting of a small dwelling. Traditionally there is a one-room lower floor for the storage of wood for a stove, a workshop as all monks engage in some manual labour. A second floor consists of a small entryway with an image of Mary, the Mother of Jesus as a place of prayer, and a larger room containing a bed, a table for eating meals, a desk for study, a choir stall and kneeler for prayer. Each cell has a highly walled garden, wherein the monk may meditate as well as grow flowers for himself and/or vegetables for the common good of the community, as a form of physical exercise.

The individual cells are organised so that the door of each cell comes off a large corridor. Next to the door is a small revolving compartment—called a "turn"--so that meals and other items may be passed in and out of the cell without the hermit having to meet the bearer. Most meals are provided in this manner, which the hermit then eats in the solitude of his cell. There are two meals provided for much of year, lunch and supper. During seasons or days of fasting, just one meal is provided. The hermit makes his needs known to the lay brother by means of a note, requesting items such as a fresh loaf of bread, which will be kept in the cell for eating with several meals.

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