Friday, 7 March 2008

Lenten 40 Martyr Reflections: The Carthusians

Three of the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales were Carthusians and were executed together on May 4 1535 at Tyburn, along with two of the other martyrs. What a day that was in the history of the Roman Catholic Church in England.

As they went to Christ at the same time, and, because little is known about all three of them apart from their martyrdom, I’ve decided to reflect on their lives in one go. But first a little about the Carthusians for those of us who know little about the order.

Also called the Order of St. Bruno I(of Cologne), the Carthusians are a religious order of enclosed monastics founded in 1084. The Carthusian monk, or nun, lives a solitary life in a house, which typically consists of three small rooms on the ground floor - bedroom, study, and shrine - and a work area in the upstairs loft.

A Carthusian monastery is essentially a community of hermits. The monastery is headed by a prior and is populated by choir monks and lay brothers.
There are now 24 charterhouses or Carthusian monastries around the world, five of which are for nuns. Altogether, there are around 370 monks and 75 nuns. One of the charterhouses is in Sussex, England.

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