What is Raven’s
Raven’s Bread Ministries offers a service to hermits and lovers of solitude around the world, no matter what their spiritual affiliation. We offer information and guidance to those who have embraced eremitical life full-time; to those who are discerning this particular call from the Divine, and to those who cherish whatever solitude they can find in their daily lives.
Raven’s Bread, Food for Those in Solitude
This quarterly newsletter now connects over 1100 readers around the world through either the paper edition or the pdf file format sent via email. We, Paul and Karen Fredette, compile the written contributions of our hermit readers into an eight page publication. Thus Raven’s Bread has an authenticity only derived from lived experience. Reflections, questions, personal stories and problems are published and commented on. Occasionally readers are asked to respond to surveys which trace the growing hermit movement. Donations for the newsletter are appreciated but not required. All names on our mailing list are kept strictly confidential. (See Newsletter.)
We drew upon the rich material and insights contributed to Raven’s Bread when we wrote our handbook for hermits and lovers of solitude, “Consider the Ravens, On Contemporary Hermit Life”. (See Books) This is the most complete description of contemporary hermit life available and was awarded a Bronze Medal in the 2012 Independent Publishers Book Awards.
Definition of a Hermit
The simplest definition of a hermit or spiritual solitary is someone who lives alone by choice for spiritual reasons. This broad description excludes those individuals who live alone through unwanted circumstances as well as misogynists who dislike society in general. We are speaking of deeply spiritual individuals who are seeking a lifestyle where they can achieve personal transparency to the Divine. They are not selfish individualists merely seeking their own comfort, but rather passionate lovers of humanity who, through their lives of prayer, foster a compassionate care for all their brothers and sisters. They become the “still point”, the strong center, which holds together a world threatening to fly apart.
Why Be a Hermit?
The reasons for choosing a life of solitude are as diverse as those who seek it. A resurgence in eremitical life in the western world which began in the 1950’s shows no sign of abating. More and more people are embracing solitude as a way of life in order to seek not only personal balance but a means to care spiritually for the world around them. The spiritual motivation they respond to is often distinct from “religious” incentives. No particular denomination or religion has a special claim on producing authentic hermits. Solitaries are found among all cultures and beliefs.
However, some religious denominations offer more support to hermits than others. The Roman Catholic church has recognized hermit life as a valid form of religious living when it promulgated a new Code of Canon Law in 1983. Canon #603 defines hermit life as one “by which the Christian faithful devote their life to the praise of God and salvation of the world through a stricter separation from the world, the silence of solitude, and assiduous prayer and penance.”
Christian hermits first appeared in the Fourth Century CE with the Desert Fathers and Mothers, men and women who sought a form of “white martyrdom” in the desert after Constantine declared Christianity the religion of the Empire and “red martyrdom” disappeared. Over the centuries the popularity of the eremitical calling has waxed and waned. Revivals are often the by-product of a major cultural shift, such as we are now experiencing.
You can find videos of Paul & Karen’s weekly virtual TV broadcasts about hermit life by going to Youtube and typing in: Karen & Paul Fredette. An interview plus all our presentations, beginning in March 2013 will come up.
A blog, “Lovers of Solitude!”, designed for personal exchanges on spiritual topics, has been launched. Find it at this URL: http://www.ravensbreadministries.com/blog/
An interview on blog radio, hosted in August, 2010 by Kathryn Bonner is available at:
The May-June 2013 issue of Saturday Evening Post carried an article titled: The New Urban Hermit
A film documentary is planned by Swedish filmmaker, Jesper Wachtmeister. He is looking for men and women who live in self-chosen isolation in nature or in a city, anywhere in the world, who would be willing to be interviewed and filmed about how they live. If interested, please contact:
Jesper Wachtmeister, Solaris Filmproduktion
Långa Raden 5, 17893 Drottningholm, Sweden
Cell: +46 (0)70 747 23 53