Devoted to a life of intense contemplative prayer, the Carthusian monks guard their solitude jealously and rarely allow visitors to live with them. The author of this book, an American priest, was privileged to spend four months with the Carthusian community in Calabria, Italy, the resting place of the founder of their order, Saint Bruno. He followed the daily regimen of the monks and wrote home to family and friends to share his experiences.
The priest's journal allows readers to get a deep sense of what this life of prayer feels like: he describes distinctive features of the Carthusian vocation and offers insights gained by a life devoted to silence and solitude. There are books that explore the Carthusian way of life, but what makes Report from Calabria different and unique is that it is more like a series of short notes sent home from a foreign land, a sketch book rather than a finished canvas. But sketches have an appeal of their own: they offer a freshness of impressions and can entice us to study their subject more deeply.
The text is accompanied with beautiful photographs of the daily life followed by the monks of Serra San Bruno. The contemplative vocation – bracing and yet deeply human – comes alive in this account of four months in which very little happened but yet a lot was going on. It is an invitation to readers to not only gain an insight into monastic life, but to clear some space in our busy lives to encounter God more deeply.