When God Calls...God
calls in very different ways. A reliable sign of a vocation is if one
feels in his heart God’s invitation to surrender himself to God alone.
An invitation is not a command! Just as in marriage the decision
involves both concerned, so a response to a religious vocation must be
made in a spirit of freedom and generosity.
Where is God Calling?Many
people decide to follow God’s call to a special closeness with Him.
This does not necessarily mean that God is calling one to the
Charterhouse, however. For a Carthusian vocation it is necessary to
also feel a longing for life devoted to prayer and silence alone, or a
clear, though often not understood call to just this Carthusian order.
Father or Brother?The
candidate must decide before entering whether for the life as a Father
or as a Brother.
The Lord's calling to one or the other may be known
above all by the gifts that He has given him, and by the interior
inclination of heart. The signs of a Father's call are: a leaning
to a stricter exterior solitude, an openness and ability for
priesthood, the ability to occupy oneself in cell, an inclination
toward studies, an ear for singing; whereas, for the Brother's calling:
ability and inclination toward manual labor,
a leaning toward a humble and hidden life and a greater simplicity
and freedom in prayer, a feel for
calling in concrete cervice to con-freres. The Fathers resemble more
Jesus whilst at solitary prayer in the hills and the Brothers more
Jesus in His hidden life in Nazareth.
AptitudeIn the first
place a candidate must be a practicing Catholic with a well ordered
religious life and at least a fundamental education in the Faith.
Furthermore, he must be physically and mentally healthy, have an
aptitude for solitude as well as for life in common and be ready to
fulfill all those obligations dictated by his state or imposed upon him
by his superiors. Among the qualities, with which candidates for life
in solitude should be particularly endowed, a sound and balanced
judgment is of prime importance. Candidates younger then 20 years and
older then 45 years we normally don't receive. Besides this, a
candidate for cloister monk is required to have an education sufficient
for a monk destined for the priesthood; singing ability; and sufficient
knowledge of Latin, which he must attain before entering the novitiate.
one feels called to the Carthusian life, one may write to the Master of
novices (Father Master). He will arrange for an eventual visit to the
Charterhouse and then, a longer trial within the monastic framework. If
the candidate decides to enter the monastery, the Novice Master and
Prior decide regarding his ascceptance. Several days after entering,
the candidate receives the black cloak and cap of a postulant, which is
worn during the common liturgy. The postulancy lasts at least three
months and not longer than one year. After this, if he perseveres in
his resolution, the postulant asks in chapter to be received “for
probation in the monastic habit, as the most humble servant of all”.
The community then votes in secret on his acceptance, while the final
decision rests with the Prior. Such a petition and voting accompanies
each subsequent step in monastic formation.
the novitiate, which lasts for two years, the novice wears a white
habit with a shorter scapular and during liturgy in common the black
cloak as well. While retaining ownership of their property until solemn
vows, one does not keep anything personal for themselves in cell so as
to better follow the poor Christ. Brother candidates choose between the
life of a converse or donate toward the end of the first year in the
novitiate. Father novices begin theological studies in their second
year, which take place in the monastery and are tailored to our way of
ProfessionAt the end of the novitiate the monk makes
his first profession of vows of stability, obedience and conversion of
life for three years. The fathers remain during this time under
the direction of the Novice-Master, while the brothers do so until
their solemn vows. After three years the vows are renewed for an
additional two years, after which, if approved, one is admitted to
solemn vows which are binding until death. Our rule says that before
one makes such a decision with vows “he should first sit down and
consider whether he really wants to yield himself to God forever”
(30,1). Although such an irrevocable public commitment only occurs
after a probation of seven years and during the two years of novitiate
the novice is free to leave at any time, still, Jesus’ words are valid
upon entering: “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks behind
is worthy of the Kingdom of God”. To enter the Charterhouse with the
mere intention of trying it out would be to deny oneself the essence of
Carthusian life, which is in surrendering oneself unconditionally to
Fax: +386 (0)7 30 81 219
Web site of