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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Vermont's Carthusian Monastery

Charterhouse of Transfiguration, near Arlington, Vermont
Did you know that Vermont is home to the only Carthusian Monastery (called a "Charterhouse") in the United States, in fact, in North America. It is nestled in a high mountain valley near Mount Equinox in Southern Vermont, U.S.A. 

The monastery is not open to visitors.

St. Bruno of Cologne
Founded by St. Bruno of Cologne in 1084, the Carthusians are unique among the religious orders of the Catholic Church. Without a doubt, they are the strictest of the monastic communities. They live as hermits in a community where almost complete silence is observed. Anonymity is also a hallmark of their lives. For example, any book they write lists the author as “A Carthusian.” (Their gravestones bear the same title.) There are only twenty-five Carthusian monasteries (known as Charterhouses) in the world.

Vermont is home to the only Charterhouse in the Western Hemisphere. Its founding was the work of a remarkable man named Thomas Verner Moore (1877-1969). Born in Kentucky, Moore joined the Paulists at nineteen and was ordained in 1901. He later obtained a medical degree from Johns Hopkins and practiced psychiatry. In 1923, feeling a call to the contemplative life, Moore joined the Benedictines and started a monastery in Washington, D.C. A psychology professor at Catholic University, he authored twenty books on the subject.

At age seventy, Moore felt a call to live the contemplative life yet more deeply. In 1947, he joined the Carthusians in Spain. In 1950, his religious superior suggested that he was called to found the first American Charterhouse. The following year he returned to America, where friends arranged the purchase of a 550-acre farm in Vermont. In 1951, a general chapter of the Carthusian order approved the new monastery’s foundation. It was named the Charterhouse of the Transfiguration.

Father Moore left Vermont in 1960 and returned to the Charterhouse in Spain, where he died at age 92 in 1969. The following year, the American Charterhouse moved to a larger and more secluded site at Mount Equinox, Vermont, where it remains to this day. (There are still no Carthusian nuns in the Western Hemisphere.)

Source:  http://www.patheos.com/blogs/mcnamarasblog/2010/11/a-life-apart-the-carthusians-of-vermont.html