According to the Roman Catholic Church's Code of Canon Law, hermits are to "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." Further, by living the approved rule of life under the authority of the local Bishop and having publicly professed vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, a hermit is recognized by the Church as dedicated to God in the consecrated life.
CARMELITE HERMIT OF THE TRINITY
With the approval and blessing of the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee the Carmelite Hermit of the Trinity prays and sacrifices in a particular way for the Archdiocese as well as for the entire Church and the whole world. The Father General of the Discalced Carmelite Order granted approval for the Carmelite title and spiritual affiliation with the Carmelite family.
The hermit lives a life hidden within the heart of the Mystical Body of Christ, His Church. Although it is not appropriate to be engaged in the more visible works of the active apostolate, the hermit serves the Church in a way which is no less apostolic in its fruitfulness. Moreover, because of the vital importance to souls of sound spiritual guidance and the widespread need for such counsel and encouragement, the daily work period is frequently spent in this charitable labor.
It is Jesus who sets the example for the hermit's life of prayer in the 'desert.' Scripture tells us that Jesus was sent out into the wilderness by the Spirit. He prayed and fasted and was put to the test there (Mark 1:12-13).
"He stayed in desert places." (Mark 1:45)
"He went out to the mountain to pray, spending the night in communion with God." (Luke 6:12)
"Rising early ... He went off to a lonely place in the desert; there He was absorbed in prayer." (Mark 1:35).
The hermit, too, has been sent out by the Spirit into the solitude of the 'desert,' to dwell in loving communion with the Father, praying and fasting and being "put to the test" there, as Jesus was. The hermit stays with Jesus in "desert places" and lives a life hidden with Him (Col. 3:3).
The hermit's soul is the ground where the journey through the wilderness to the Promised Land must take place. Like Abraham, the hermit has gone forth "as the Lord directed" (Gen. 13:4), leaving the familiar behind and following the Lord to that land where He is leading her in faith.
The hermit's vocation is summed up in The Catechism of the Catholic Church:
Hermits manifest to everyone the interior aspect of the mystery of the Church, that is, personal intimacy with Christ. Hidden from the eyes of men, the life of the hermit is a silent preaching of the Lord, to Whom she has surrendered her life simply because He is everything to her. Here is a particular call to find in the desert, in the thick of spiritual battle, the glory of the Crucified One." (# 921)