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Catholic Dictionary




The strictly contemplative order founded by St. Bruno (1032-1101) in 1084 at the Grande Chartreuse in Dauphiné. At first there was no special rule except that the monks were expected to practice perfect mortification and renunciation of the world. Essentially hermits, the Carthusians were vowed to silence, with conventual Mass. In 1133, a form of life called the Carthusian Customs was approved by Pope Innocent II, and this has remained to the present day substantially unchanged. The Carthusian way of life is a combination of Benedictine monasticism and eremitical asceticism.

The order also includes a number of monasteries of nuns who live under a similar rule, but they have separate cells instead of cottages and are under the direction of the Carthusian monks. (Etym. French Chartreuse.)