Saturday, 27 December 2008

Would you like to be a hermit - Here is the job for you

Hermit's House, Rüttenen

This is no joke, we really do have a hermitage just outside our town of Solothurn, to be found in the St. Verena chasm. It is a very romantic place, something like a small long valley with a stream running through it. I did a blog some time ago about it, just click here.

Our last hermit, brother Johannes, has been living there for 24 years and has now decided to leave. Our local government has now advertised the job as being free. Up to now ten women and seven men have applied. There has never been a woman living there except for the original, called Verena, many hundreds of years ago, so that would be something new. I have often thought how nice it would be to live alone with no interference from housework, or family, but that is just wishful thinking. The life of a hermit is not just doing nothing all day. It was on the news in television what he has to do.

You have to get up about two in the morning and start praying until around four or five o'clock. At six you have to ring the chapel bell. Afterwards you have to visit the church in town. When you return to the hermitage the chapel has to be opened up and the whole area has to be looked after. Perhaps sweep the chapel and clear the leaves away from the statues and polish them up a bit. There are many statues to be looked after. They are also very particular about what sort of people they accept for the job. Up to now they have had applications from a few unemployed (so called dropouts in english), French speaking and German speaking, nuns and monks and even married people, although probably no longer married.

Money: well not really. Your taxes and insurances are paid for and you sort of get pocket money, but you won't get rich, although you do have a very nice house to live in and the surroundings are really wonderful. I would say you should not be prone to rheumatism as it is quite a damp place with the stream running through it.

So if there is anyone looking for a quiet place to live, with no stress, then this is the job for you. Now and again you have to sell a couple of post cards to the tourists that come to have a look, and you do not have to decide what to wear. Up to now it is a long brown robe with a hood. I don't think you get any holidays, just the religious ones, but you have to stay put. There is a restaurant near bye, but I think the idea is to cook yourself. There are all modern conveniences in the cottage.

Einsiedelei, Rüttenen

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