External Donates

During the September 2014 (LGC2014) meeting, was proposed that rather than eventually found a Canonical Association of Faithful as was initially mentioned in the 11 guidelines, that members and the Order might also consider having a more direct canonical link with the Carthusian Order, and the idea of "External Donates" was formulated. We could possibly also imagine a formulation such as : "Spiritual Donates"? etc.. These questions of the eventual canonical status remain thus to be further reflected upon as we will discover together with the Carthusian Order our vocation in the Church.


The Carthusian Way external
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A Carthusian community consists of cloistered monks, priests or those destined to become priests (Fathers) and monks converse or donate (Brothers). Cloistered monks live in the strictest of solitude. They do not leave their cells other than when allowed by the rule. They occupy their time with prayer, readings, and work (sawing wood to heat themselves during winter, gardening, transcribing, pottery, etc.) The Brothers ensure that the various needs of the monastery are met by their work outside of the cells (cooking, carpentry, laundry, work in the woods) It is a unique ideal, lived in two different ways. The Brothers work in as much silence and solitude as possible. They have their share of life in the cell for reading and prayer, yet it is less demanding than the Fathers. That is why their cells are smaller. Both ways of life complement one another to form the unique Charterhouse and correspond to the different aptitudes of those who wish to lead a Carthusian life.


Within the group of Brothers, there are two categories, those called Converts (monks that take the exact same vows as the Fathers) and that of the Donates.
The Donates are monks who do not take the vows, but for love of Christ, give themselves to the Order by mutual agreement. They have their own set of customs which differs slightly than those of the Converts. For instance, their help during the Offices, most notable during the night Office, is not as strict. They live without owning anything. After seven years, they can fully enter the Order or renew their donation. Their gift to God is not any less than that of the other monks, as they tackle tasks and duties less compatible to the obligations of the Converts.

The nuns have of the same type of vocations under the name of Cloister Nuns, Converse Nuns and Donate Nuns.



Donation external
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    In the House of God are many dwelling-places: among us, there are fathers and converse brothers; there are also donates, who have likewise left the world and sought the solitude of the Charterhouse, in order, by giving themselves to prayer and work within the protection of the cloister, to consecrate their whole life to the Lord. Quite frequently, in fact, men of real holiness, who wished to be numbered among the sons of Blessed Bruno and to enjoy his spiritual heritage, have preferred to live and die as donates.
    On the completion of a praiseworthy novitiate, the donate novice is admitted by the Prior to temporary Donation, after the vote of the solemn professed and of the perpetual donates (8.9).
    On the day of Donation, whether temporary or perpetual (36.16-18), the future donate — having had at least four days of recollection — in the presence of the whole community before Vespers, is to read aloud his Donation, written in the vernacular, with this form and in these words :
    "I, Brother N., for the love of our Lord Jesus Christ and for the salvation of my soul, promise to serve God faithfully as a donate for the building up of the Church, observing obedience and chastity, and living without personal possessions. I therefore give myself to this House in a mutually binding contract, to serve it at all times, and submit myself to the discipline of the Order, according to the Statutes."
    For temporary Donation the words "for two years" should be added after "give myself"; likewise, if this is extended, the period of the extension should be expressed; in the case, however, of perpetual Donation one should insert "for ever".
    The donate, although he lives without personal possessions, retains the ownership of his property and the right to dispose of it. Before perpetual Donation, however, no one may transfer, or permit to be transferred, the ownership of any of his goods, even if the donate himself wishes it.
    From this day, the donate is a member of the Order, and is bound to it, so that, if necessity demands, the superiors can transfer him to any of our Houses. However, he cannot be dismissed from the Order, unless he seriously fails in one of his obligations; in which case the Prior, with the consent of the Council, can annul his Donation. When a contract of Donation is annulled, let both parties sign a document giving proof of this repeal, that is, the Prior in the name of the community, and the donate himself.
    Three years later, it is for the Prior, after the vote of the community, including the perpetual donates (8.9), to admit the donate to a renewal of his Donation for two years. The time of temporary Donation can be prolonged by the Prior, but not for more than a year.
    After the time of probation, it is for the Prior, after the vote of the community including the perpetual donates, to admit the brother, either to perpetual Donation, or, to the regime whereby his Donation is renewed every three years. In the latter case, the vote of the community is required only at the start of this regime. Furthermore, the consent of the Reverend Father is required for perpetual Donation.
    With regard to the Divine Office and the other observances, the donates have their own customs, which can be adapted to their needs, so that each one is enabled to attain, in the way best suited to him, our aim of union with God in solitude and silence; let them then use this ordered liberty not as an occasion for self-indulgence, but rather in the service of love; and thus they will serve the Lord in a different way, yet without diminishing the gift of themselves to God or their zeal for holiness. Moreover, they give the House very useful help, sometimes doing tasks that would hinder the converse brothers in their observances.