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"For abba Arsenius, this was a rule for the whole of life: 'Be solitary, be silent, and be at peace.'" The Sayings of the Desert Fathers, Ward, page xxi.

As Hermit Sisters of Mary, our charism is a particular blend of the eremitical and communal. Our Constitution is an adaption of The Rule of Saint Benedict. Prayer, work, study, and hospitality are aspects of our belonging to the family of St. Benedict.

We chose this most ancient rule because it is closest to the Desert Fathers from whom we take our inspiration, while trying to adapt to this time and culture. We have a strongly Eucharistic spirituality as evidenced by our love for the Mass, personal and community holy hours, and vigils on special occasions.

We are a Marian community and look to Our Lady as our real mother, model in faith, and guide in the spiritual life. We love our solitude, silence, and seclusion for prayer, but we have real joy in community when we recreate, share spiritually, work together, and care for one another in illness. Hospitality is an opportunity to put prayer into action by receiving all who come as Christ Himself.

Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit.
We trust that this Gospel life enables us to witness to that joy in the Lord Jesus Christ. As a sign of our public witness we wear a religious habit, and are conscious of being the Church to many who are still seeking the Lord. In the Holy Spirit, our life, prayer, and sacrifices are efforts towards evangelization, ecumenism, and vocation work in small, hidden, but hopefully, fruitful ways for the salvation of souls.

What is the canonical status of the Hermit Sisters of Mary?
We are Catholic women hermits according to the Canon 603 with public vows under the Bishop of Boise. We are also a private association of the faithful. We are listed in the Directory for the Diocese of Boise and The Official Catholic Directory.

What is the legal status of Marymount Hermitage?
Marymount Hermitage is a non-profit, tax-exempt corporation in the State of Idaho. It is a legal entity separate from the Diocese of Boise. The diocese has no legal obligations for the Hermitage complex and property, nor do we receive any financial support from the diocese.

What qualifications are necessary for a Hermit Sister of Mary?
First of all, you must have the desire for our way of life, good physical and mental health, and at least average intelligence. These are the basic qualifications for any religious vocation.

Secondly the particular qualifications for the Hermit Sisters of Mary are as follows:

1. A Catholic woman, with a love for the Church and the Holy Father.
2. Single, with no dependents nor financial or legal obligations.
3. Between the ages of 25 and 45.
4. Emotionally mature and well balanced.
5. Well-developed social and communication skills.
6. Ability to live in solitude.
7. Ability to live in this climate and terrain.
8. Ability to give practical evidence of being called to our way of life.

How do I discern a vocation to your way of life?
1. Introduce yourself through a letter, an e-mail message, or in person.
2. Ask for more information about our way of life and any specific questions that you have.
3. Request a short visit and retreat here.
4. Talk to the Superior about what appeals to you, your background and questions, and what is a concern to you.
5. Discuss with your pastor, religious Superior, or spiritual director your desire and suitability for our way of life.
6. Pray! Ask our Lord to enlighten you about His Will for your life.
7. Write again, giving a review of the steps you have taken and ask to come again for longer visits and eventually a stay of 1-2 months to live the life.
8. After we have known you for a period of at least a year, you may formally apply to the Hermit Sisters of Mary as a candidate.

How long will it take to become a Hermit Sister of Mary? Describe your formation program.

Candidate - "Come and see" status: 6-12 months; instruction classes; live in Holy Family House of Formation and occasionally in a hermitage.

Novice – Discernment status: Formally accepted as a member of the community for the purpose of discerning your vocation and learning more about our Rule, spirituality, charism; and lifestyle; 1-2 years; have a bedroom in Holy Family House, but spend one or more days a week in a hermitage.

Junior Hermit Sister - Period of temporary vows: Classes continue as needed; 3-5 years; live primarily in a hermitage and join the community at Holy Family House for weekly recreation and Sunday meal together.

Perpetual Profession of Vows as a Hermit Sister of Mary: Received by the Bishop of Boise.

Special Questions

I am a professed religious. Can I transfer to your community?
Canonically, this is not possible because of the difference between being a religious and being a Hermit. You will need an indult from Rome (from The Congregation for Religious) dispensing you from your present vows at the time of your profession as a hermit. While you are here discerning, depending on the policy of your community, you will either be on a leave of absence or on exclaustration.

Is it necessary to be a religious before becoming a hermit?
No, if the Lord is truly calling you to the hermit vocation, He has prepared you through life experiences with the human maturity and spiritual graces you will need. Your ability to live in a community will be an important part of your discernment with us.

I was married and am now divorced. Is that an impediment to becoming a member?
If your marriage has been annulled by the Church, you are welcome to apply. We caution you, however, about seeking the eremitical life too soon after a divorce. Healing takes time and the issues that led to the failure of your marriage must be resolved first.

I am not interested in becoming a Hermit Sister of Mary. May I live there for an extended time as an independent hermit?
We welcome long-term retreatants, both men and women, to be here for an agreed upon length of time. To apply for this sabbatical or temporary live-in status, you need to have successfully completed a previous retreat of at least two weeks. The retreatant's fee applies, including sales tax, but without the additional Idaho room tax. Please Contact Sister Mary Beverly, HSM for a retreatant's application.

If I am accepted as a candidate, what practical considerations should I expect?
You must have the grace to leave all to follow Christ, as the Apostles and St. Anthony did. To this end you will be given a list of what to bring, mainly a few clothes and personal items. You will need to provide means for any medical and dental expenses for the first year. You cannot give any substantial gifts to Marymount Hermitage such as money, property, car, or books. If we have accepted you, come with an open heart and open ears, ready to be a disciple. We will love and cherish you for who you are not for what you can do or bring.


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