These men and women are called by God to this vocation to live in solitude, embracing the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience. In the Apostolic Exhortation, Vita Consecrata, Saint Pope John Paul II describes this form of consecrated life in this way:
Men and women hermits, belonging to ancient Orders or new Institutions, or being directly dependent on the bishop, bear witness to the passing nature of the present age by their inward and outward separation from the world. By fasting and penance, they show that man does not live by bread alone but by the Word of God (cf. Mt. 4:4). Such a life “in the desert” is an invitation to their contemporaries and to the ecclesial community itself never to lose sight of the supreme vocation, which is to be always with the Lord (7).
Canon 603 from the Revised Code of Canon Law 1983 addresses the eremitical life:
§1. Besides institutes of Consecrated Life, the Church recognizes the eremitic or anchoritic life by which the Christian faithful 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.
§2. A hermit is recognized in the law as one dedicated to God in a Consecrated Life if he or she publicly professes the three evangelical counsels, confirmed by a vow or other sacred bond, in the hands of the diocesan bishop and observes his or her own plan of life under his direction.
About the Eremitic Life
Treasures in Earthen Vessels: The Vows
Joyce Rinere (NY, Alba House, 1984)
The Hermitage Within: Spirituality of the Desert
A Monk (trans. by Alan Neame; Cisterian Abbey, Sparta, Wisconsin)
History of Hermits
The history of eremetical life
Discerning an Eremitical Life
Resource Material for the Discernment of Hermit Vocations