The 1000-year-old reformed Benedictine monastic tradition of the Camaldolese now has a presence in Aotearoa New Zealand led by an archdiocesan solitary religious Br Graham-Michoel Wills.
Last April the four members of the ANZ chapter – two in Wellington, one in Napier and another in Whangarei – met in retreat at Ngakuru Monastery in the Bay of Plenty. The retreat was led by the group’s coordinator, Michael Dougherty, who dwelt on the brief rule of St Romuald and its place in meditation. The group shared with the Tyburn Sisters during the recital of their Office and the Eucharist. At the end of the retreat the four met to discuss the way ahead and to adopt their Trust Deed and Constitution.
In Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, the Camaldolese are called an Oblate Family – part of the worldwide Camaldolese Benedictine Family of monks, nuns and oblates, directly oblates of New Camaldoli Hermitage, Big Sur, California, USA, following in the footsteps of Ss Romuald and Benedict.
The New Camaldoli Hermitage of the Immaculate Heart in Big Sur was founded from the Holy Hermitage of Camaldoli, Italy, in 1958. Today, as in the past, Holy Hermitage of Camaldoli is considered to be the mother house of the congregation.
Camaldolese Benedictine Oblates are Christian men and women drawn by the Holy Spirit to deep prayer and a bond of friendship with the Camaldolese monastic communities throughout the world.
St Benedict, as author of the Rule for Monks, has always been considered the Western Church’s lawgiver and master of monastic living. St Romuald and his disciples, the Camaldolese, all profess this rule. During his period of reform 1,000 years ago, Romuald wrote a brief rule that is still the foundation of the Camaldolese tradition.