An Urgent Call: Helping The Hermit

I have something of a pressing need for your help, gentle reader:

Regular readers know that I’m part of a non-profit group trying to raise funds to establish a permanent hermitage up in Maine, where Brother Rex Anthony Norris is serving his vocation as a Franciscan hermit.  You can read more about what we’re trying to do over on the Friends of Little Portion Hermitage site, and you can also follow Brother Rex’s daily postings on the FLPH Twitter account and Facebook page. We recently received 501(c)(3) status, so any donations you make are tax-deductible.

However we have a more immediate concern, which is that Brother Rex is about to lose his home.  He has been renting an apartment in a house which is going up for sale very soon.  He hasn’t received an eviction notice yet, but it could come any day now, and he is having difficulty finding new rental accommodation that he can afford in the Portland area, where he must stay because he is under the canonical jurisdiction of that Diocese.  Of course, if any of my readers are in so fortunate a position as to have a small fortune sitting around in search of a worthy project such as this, please let me know.  For most of us average folk however, meeting Brother Rex’ immediate need is a better way to go.

If any of you are in the Portland area and in a position to rent an apartment, little house, or chicken coop to Brother Rex and his kitty Clare, please get in touch with me using the Contact form on this site.  If you can’t help but know someone who might be able to, or who might know someone who could, please share this blog post with them and let them know that I would be glad to put them in touch with Brother Rex.  Time is really of the essence in this situation, and since Brother Rex spends most of his day in prayer, those of us who care about him are left to try to help with many of the mundane things which we lay people can often do much more easily, given our resources.

Thank you for your charity, and God bless!

Detail of St. Clare and St. Francis from a processional banner from Assisi by Niccolo Alunno (c. 1470) Der Priesterhaus, Kevelaer, Germany

Detail of St. Clare and St. Francis from a processional banner from Assisi by Niccolo Alunno (c. 1470)
Der Priesterhaus, Kevelaer, Germany

 

Ring Some Bells!

The latest guest post in aid of Friends of Little Portion Hermitage (“FLPH”) today comes from the lovely Sarah Reinhard, whom I suspect many of my fellow Catholics read on a regular basis. Now full disclosure, Mrs. Reinhard disputes my categorizing her as “lovely”, but I’m going to do it anyway because this is my blog and not hers. So there you are.

I’m truly grateful Sarah was able to contribute a guest post in aid of our effort, talking about how the significant ringing of different kinds of bells has marked her daily life and called her to prayer and to take action.  We have more guest posts coming in the weeks ahead from Catholic writers and speakers you know, to add to those already so generously contributed by Teresa Tomeo, Mike Aquilina, Shane Kapler, and Matthew Leonard. You can go back and read all of the guest posts so far on the FLPH site.

While you’re there, please consider donating whatever you can toward getting Brother Rex a permanent home. As I mentioned in a previous post, it’s looking increasingly likely that the small place he is renting is going to be sold out from under him in the coming weeks, leaving him literally nowhere to go.  This prayer warrior asks for so little, and we have so much.

To date we’ve had over 31,000 people visit the FLPH site to learn more about Brother Rex, this project, read both his posts and the guest posts, and leave prayer requests for Brother Rex regarding intentions they have. That is a tremendous blessing for sharing the good work of prayer that he does.  We would so like to move on to the task of finding Brother Rex a place to live, but we really do need your prayers and your financial generosity to make that happen!

When you heard the bells rung again at Mass after the weeks of silence during Lent, both by the acolytes and up in the bell tower of your local church, didn’t you feel just a little spiritual joy in recalling the Resurrection of Christ? Please consider sharing a little of that Easter joy, to help give our friend the hermit – who has given up everything to follow Christ – a home for living out his vocation.  Ring some bells in Heaven through your charitable prayers and, yes, donations, to make sure this prayer warrior can continue his life of prayer and self-sacrifice on behalf of all of us.

Detail of "The Homage of a Simple Man" by Giotto (c. 1300) Upper Basilica, Assisi

Detail of “The Homage of a Simple Man” by Giotto (c. 1300)
Upper Basilica, Assisi

 

Home for a Hermit: Announcing “Friends of Little Portion Hermitage”

I’m honored to announce that I’m now serving on the board of directors for a new charitable organization, Friends of Little Portion Hermitage or “FLPH” for short.  A few months ago, Kevin Lowry and Jon Marc Grodi from The Coming Home Network International approached me about setting up a non-profit, with the goal of establishing a permanent hermitage for Franciscan hermit Brother Rex Anthony Norris, and whoever eventually succeeds him in the eremitic life in the Diocese of Portland, Maine.  Brother Rex is a blogger and prayer warrior who may already be known to some of my readers; if you do not know of him yet, you soon will.

In his blog post below which you can also read on his site, Kevin lays out who Brother Rex is, what he does, and our goals for establishing a permanent hermitage.  There are also links at the end of the post to interviews with Brother Rex, so you can read some of his own words as he describes his spiritual journey, and why he chose to become a hermit.  I can say from personal experience that over the past few years, Brother Rex has been an outstanding source of inspiration and encouragement for me personally, through his prayers, his good humor, and his encouragement.

On Monday, April 7th, Brother Rex will appear as a guest on “The Journey Home” on EWTN, sharing his conversion story, why he chose to live the life of a hermit, and what his life as a hermit entails.  FLPH will follow up on this appearance through social media, beginning with an exciting collaborative project which will include a number of individuals likely well-known to those of you in the Catholic world.  In the meantime, please visit and bookmark our site, LittlePortionHermitage.org, both to see Brother Rex’ regular blog posts, and to keep up to date with what he and FLPH are up to.

I am honored and deeply humbled to have been asked to be a part of FLPH.  Anyone who loves Church history knows that down the centuries, it has been ordinary Christians like you and me who have looked after the very basic, temporal needs of those in the eremitic life.  We may not all be called to follow the exact path that Brother Rex is on, but everyone is called upon to draw into closer union with God, through prayer and self-denial.  The life of the hermit is a profound imitation of the life of Christ, and one which is worthy of our support.

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Home for a Hermit

March 17, 2014

by Kevin Lowry

Br Rex This is Brother Rex Anthony Norris, or Br. Rex for short. He’s a hermit.

Yes, a real, live hermit.

So what does a hermit do? Well, suffice it to say that what is referred to as the eremitic life is a vocation, and has to do with what the Church calls assiduous prayer.

He prays. A lot.

Br. Rex is something of a walking contradiction. You might reasonably think that a hermit experiences some level of solitude as part of his (or her) vocation (yes, there are women hermits too). And you would be correct.

What doesn’t show up on paper, though, is that the guy is a total crack up. He’s hysterically funny, with a tremendous sense of humor and thoroughly infectious laugh. Simultaneously, he’s a deeply committed prayer warrior, who spends countless hours in intercessory prayer and takes his vocation extremely seriously.

You definitely want to be on this guy’s prayer list.

In knowing Br. Rex for the past couple years, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve called when things were rough, knowing he would take my prayer requests to his daily Holy Hour and hold them before our Lord. In fact, my debt of gratitude became so great, that a couple friends (the esteemed Jon Marc Grodi and Billy Newton) and I started a non-profit organization called Friends of Little Portion Hermitage to “support the worship of God, the eremitic life, Christ-centered solitude, contemplative silence, intercessory prayer and the spiritual works of mercy.”

Br Rex 1

Our vision is very much in line with the above: “Through the generosity of our donors, Friends of Little Portion Hermitage seeks to provide for the temporal needs of Little Portion Hermitage and the hermit who resides there. We believe consecrated life to be essential to the spiritual well-being of the Body of Christ, most especially the witness of those in consecrated life whose lives give first place to prayer for the glory of God, the good of the Church and the salvation of the world.”

So here’s where you come in. Br. Rex was lamenting to me the other day that he hasn’t received many prayer requests through the website we set up, littleportionhermitage.org – and that’s an opportunity.

At the same time, Friends of Little Portion Hermitage would like to purchase a modest hermitage for Br. Rex and his successors. Thankfully, he lives in a part of Maine where land and buildings are inexpensive, but we still need at least $50,000 to make things livable – even for a hermit.

Would you help us? Please stop by littleportionhermitage.org and send Br. Rex your prayer requests. It will make him happy, and these intentions will be treated with the utmost respect and confidence.

Also, if you can afford to make a donation towards the home for a hermit project, we would appreciate it ever so much. Let’s keep Br. Rex in prayer – and facilitate his prayers for us. Thank you for your support!

Special note: We’re happy to announce that Br. Rex will be appearing on EWTN’s The Journey Home program on Monday, April 7 at 8:00 p.m. EST. Hear the story of Br. Rex’s conversion to Christ and His Church!

For more information on Br. Rex, please see:

http://chnetwork.org/2014/02/interview-with-brother-rex/ and

http://gratefulconvert.com/hangin-with-a-hermit/