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Catholic Dictionary




The residence of a hermit, which normally allows him complete privacy for prayer and, in the case of a priest, for the celebration of Mass. In some cases hermitages are clustered around a central church or monastery where the hermits meet for periodic liturgical services and community exercises. St. Francis of Assisi wrote a brief set of directives for Religious Life in Hermitages. In the opening paragraph he enjoined that, "Not more than three or at most four friars should go together to a hermitage to lead a religious life there. Two of these should act as mothers, with the other two or the other one, as their children. The mothers are to lead the life of Martha; the other two, the life of Mary Magdalen."