The Other I

November 20, 2013

Do you have to be religious to be a hermit?

Filed under: Just Stuff,Survival Strategies — theotheri @ 4:16 pm

A couple of months ago, I read about a woman here in England who has taken a vow to be a hermit.  At first, her bishop said there wasn’t such a vow, but a search through canon law proved him wrong.

File:Hermits Cave (The Hermitage), Hermits Wood, Dale Abbey, Derbyshire - East Midlands of England - (1).jpg

I was looking for the reference to this modern hermit, and was quite surprised to discover how many hermits seem to living in Britain today.  And that’s only the ones Google knows about.  I would not be surprised if the number is multiplied by thousands in the U.S.

I remember thinking as I was reading about her life that being a hermit actually sounds quite appealing.  Especially the modern version, which does not involve living in a cave and isolation 24/7, seems to include having a computer and an email address, and even occasional visits to family and friends.  It also seems to me that living the life of a hermit does not require a religious commitment.

Personally, I think I could be quite a good non-religious hermit.  I’ve always had a need for long hours alone, it does not make me feel lonely or unloved.  In fact, too many people around for too long drives me a little crazy.  I hate cocktail parties and making small talk.

Come to think of it, I bet there are a lot of us.  Maybe we’re what might be called “closet hermits.”



  1. After Ed died in April our son, David, his wife and 3 children moved into our home and I moved into a studio apartment 2 blocks away. I call this my “hermitage” (I’ve always wanted to be just like Thomas Merton!). Since I had a constant companion for 45 1/2 years it is different to be alone but I’m finding I like it. And though I avoid isolating and keep “on the go” I really have come to enjoy my moments of just “being”. Hermits rock!


    Comment by kay lent — November 22, 2013 @ 4:48 pm | Reply

    • Kay – ‘m so glad you understand! I’ve often thought that if my husband dies before I do that I would miss him a lot. But I would miss him as an individual with whom I’ve had a long and enriching relationship, as no doubt you miss Ed. I wouldn’t miss not having anybody around for long periods. Not that I would want to live in complete isolation either, but I think I could enjoy those times of just “being,” as you put it. Thank you for sharing. I will remember what you have said if I, too, must face the life of a widow. Terry


      Comment by theotheri — November 22, 2013 @ 9:38 pm | Reply

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