Brother Hugo and the hermitage

While at Warfhuizen for the Catechetical Boot Camp, I stayed with Brother Hugo who is a hermit and has charge of a beautiful Church which he has enriched with many devotional artefacts, relics, hangings, and statues. Here you see the exterior of the Church.

The eremitical vocation in the Netherlands is a tradition from the Counter-Reformation when a number of small chapels were set up as part of a programme of reconversion. The brothers who cared for these chapels looked after them and slept in the sacristy. Brother Hugo keeps this tradition; as he explained to me, once everything is put away, you put yourself away to sleep in a cupboard-like bunk.

The grille is important for the hermit to allow him the privacy that he needs to follow his vocation of prayer and contemplation. Brother Hugo's bishop (who has recently been appointed to Utrecht) was very supportive of his vocation.

The little Church has become a place of pilgrimage, principally because of the magnificent statue of Our Lady of Sorrows, carved to order by a Spanish artist.

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