I want to tell you about Rachel Denton.
You can always find her here because I keep a link to her website in the sidebar, under “Links for Solitaries”.
In the same link list is Carlo Bevilacqua's wonderful photo gallery of Hermits of the Third Millennium – Rachel is at Number 8 in the slide show. He also took these wonderful pictures of her here, here, and her home here.
Rachel is a hermit of the Diocese of Nottingham, vowed to a life of solitude and silence. She lives in Lincolnshire – in England’s wolds.
There's a lovely photo of her in the Guardian newspaper article about her here, a bit about her time on the Plinth (scroll down to The Fourth Plinth Commission, 2009) here, and some interesting links where you can find out about her life on this page of her website.
At Kindred of the Quiet Way we who gather represent a variety of different life patterns. Some of us are homeschoolers, some grow veggies and keep chickens, some live in remote country places and others in apartments in town. Some are at the centre of busy households, others live quietly alone. Some of us belong to clearly defined faith communities, others are on the fringes. We are Quakers, Anglicans, Catholics, Methodists, Community Church members, to name but a few. But I think it would be fair to say that all of us feel drawn – at a profound level, not idly – to silence, solitude and simplicity, at one level or another.
And many of us, who congregate, read and discuss here, have had to think hard about finances. Some of us balance life at home with a job outside, some have found home-based ways to earn a living. Many of us have learned to be very frugal indeed, valuing the freedom that bring us to be who we were meant to be.
All of us at Kindred of the Quiet Way can quickly grasp that living in solitude and silence as a hermit must present some fiscal challenges! Sisters in a monastery or convent might take in retreatants and attract guests and friends who would provide help and support: but a hermit withdraws from the world. Some hermits (like Sister Wendy Beckett) live in solitude within the context of a religious order (Sister Wendy lives in the grounds of a Carmelite monastery), and thus benefit from the community provision.
Rachel supports herself. I expect she needs little to live on, because of the inherent simplicity of her calling, but she has to pay for her groceries and utilities, and the upkeep of her home.
She is a calligrapher, designing and making stationery – greetings cards, personalised writing paper, notelets, invitations, correspondence cards, book plates, certificates and so on.
Here's one of her cards:
Her work is very beautiful, and produced on high quality paper for a really fine result.
I wanted to tell you about her, because I thought that it would delight your heart, if you need some greetings cards or headed notepaper or invitations, to know they had been made and designed in the quiet and prayerful workshop at St Cuthbert’s House, by a Diocesan Hermit under perpetual vows of solitude and silence.
You can order direct from her website (You navigate your way round the site by clicking on the icon of a cross alongside the place you want to go on the list of options). This design is my very favourite out of all Rachel’s cards, and these ones came in the post today.