Poustinia

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Description:
<!-- Deleted image removed: -->A poustinia (Russian: пустынь) is a small sparsely furnished cabin or room where one goes to pray and fast alone in the presence of God. The word poustinia has its origin in the Russian word for desert (пустыня). One called to live permanently in a poustinia is called a poustinik (plural: poustiniki).

Origins

Originally a Russian Orthodox tradition, the poustinia was introduced to Roman Catholic spirituality by the Catholic social activist Catherine Doherty in her best-selling book Poustinia: Christian Spirituality of the East for Western Man (ISBN 0-87793-084-8), first published in 1975.

Although originating with ancient startsy (wise Russian elders, sg. starets), Catherine's popular book made the concept of poustinia accessible to modern Western men and women. In it, she describes the poustinia as "an entry into the desert, a lonely place, a silent place, where one can lift the two arms of prayer and penance to God in antonement, intercession, reparation for one's sins and those of one's brothers.... To go into the poustinia means to listen to God. It means entering into kenosis &mdash; the emptying of oneself." She promotes the poustinia as a place where anyone &mdash; in any walk of life &mdash; can go for 24 hours of silence, solitude and prayer. Ultimately, however, the poustinik's call is to the desert of one's own heart wherein he dwells with God alone, whether in the workplace or in a...
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