There is a documentary coming out that I have been itching to see. You should see it to. It is called "Into Great Silence" and is about the monks of the Grande Chartreuse, in the French Alps. The lives of Carthusians are probably the most austere of Roman Catholic monks. Though cloistered, Carthusians live for the most part as hermits, in separate cells. Typically they leave their cells only about three times a day, for a conventual mass and part of the office in choir. The rest of the office is said by the monks in their cells, where likewise their meals are taken, except on feasts. Apparently they spend four or five hours a day in prayer. They live in total silence, apart from the singing of mass and office, and for a weekly recreational period.
Attention drawn to the trailer by the folks at the SotHW.
Look at the trailer for this documentary here. It looks compelling. Read more about the success of the movie in Germany here. Here is an excerpt from the BBC article:
"I think they simply do it because they choose to... become close to God," says the film's director Philip Groening.
"It's a very simple concept, the concept is God himself, is pure happiness, the closer you move to that, the happier you are.". . . .
The monks have avowed almost total silence, interrupted only by what one of them called "the terror of the bell".
"Once you accept the fact that when the bell rings - you just don't think about it - you just get up and go and do whatever that bell requires you to do, then, every moment that you have is a pretty permanently present moment," he says.
"You don't have to sort of plan, like 'What do I do in two years?... Where do I want my career to be in 15 years?' And the absence of language makes something - the moment itself becomes very, very strong."