The terms Hermit and Solitary are often used interchangeably but for the purposes of the Handbook, the term ‘hermit’ refers to a member of a Religious Community and the term ‘solitary’ refers to one who is not a Religious.A Handbook of the Religious Life, The Advisory Council for Religious Communities
So … the above is from the Church of Englabnd document, and there is an Australian version that is not as clear, indicating that people living a “vow of celibacy” can do so under a religious rule (hermit) or under a personal rule (solitary).
I think the term religious can be confusing. In a sense (but who am I to say this) the solitary is the modern form of an anchorite – a celibate/single layperson living alone under a rule. And that is how I use the term anchorite – a single layperson living under a personal rule inspired by the lived example of anchorites.
I have been thinking about the above a lot recently. Am I called to such a life? Especially with a few things that are going on in my life, am I called by God to embody a religious incognito type of spirituality within the context of a modern parish?