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They tended to be sought out for spiritual advice and counsel.
Some eventually acquired so many disciples that they had no physical solitude at all.
In the Catholic Church today the institutes of consecrated life have their own regulations concerning those of their members who feel called by God to move from the life in community to the eremitic life, and have the permission of their religious superior to do so.
The Code of Canon Law (1983) contains no special provisions for them.
As mentioned above, the Carthusian and Camaldolese orders of monks and nuns preserve their original way of life as essentially eremitical within a cenobitical context, that is, the monasteries of these orders are in fact clusters of individual hermitages where monks and nuns spend their days alone with relatively short periods of prayer in common daily and weekly.The earliest form of Christian eremitic or anchoritic living preceded that as a member of a religious institute, since monastic communities and religious institutes are later developments of the monastic life.Today an increasing number of Christian faithful feel again a vocation to live the eremitic life, whether in the remote countryside or in a city in stricter separation from the world, without having passed through life in a monastic community first.§2 A hermit is recognized by law as one dedicated to God in consecrated life if he or she publicly professes in the hands of the diocesan bishop the three evangelical counsels, confirmed by vow or other sacred bond, and observes a proper program of living under his direction.Canon 603 §2 therefore lays down certain requirements for those who feel a vocation to the kind of eremitic life that is recognized by the Roman Catholic Church as one of the "other forms of consecrated life".