Nazareth Hermitage sits on the top of a long ridge overlooking deep, forested valleys in the Ozark Mountains of southern Missouri. The hermitage was established in 1976 with the permission of the local Catholic bishop. The two founding sisters made their vows in 1983. Each lives in her own hermitage, a small cement-block house dug into the side of the ridge. Nazareth Hermitage is modeled on the ancient "laura" concept. The name originates from fourth-century Palestine and describes a group of hermitages located around a central chapel.
Every day they meet in the community chapel for Mass. Once a week they gather for a common vegetarian meal, which they take turns cooking. Each hermit rises early, at 3 a.m. Each prays the liturgy of the hours alone. A Trappist priest, as spiritual father of the laura, meets with each hermit once a week for spiritual direction.
The laura supports itself by making and selling liturgical incense and charcoal.
How to burn incense in your home:
First, if using larger charcoal break it into halves or quarters. One quarter piece of charcoal is sufficient for most small censers used at home. If using small (dime size) charcoal, there is no need to break it up.
Next, use kitchen tongs, pliers, or large tweezers to hold the charcoal over a lighted candle or a gas flame. It is best to do this over a metal pan or sink as the charcoal will spark. Place the charcoal into your censer bowl and wait until it is glowing red.
Finally place a pinch (about 1-3 grains if a granular incense) of incense onto the smoldering charcoal. Cense the rooms of your house making the sign of the cross.
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