The seclusion in the hermitage lasts from Sunday evening to Saturday noon – five and a half days of intensive prayer.

The ‘Hermits of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus’ in the diocese of Merida, in Venezuela, entrust themselves totally to divine providence – that is to say they rely on charity and on whatever they can earn from their own handiwork. They restore icons and religious images.

Their apostolate is one of prayer for others. The Sacred Heart of Jesus is for them the expression and the very centre of the love of God for man. They meditate upon this Heart while they work, and place themselves totally in God’s hands.

They ask no specific price for their work; this is entirely up to the discretion of those of for whom they do it. Thus they live a life of poverty and devotion to God, which is the very foundation of their contemplative life. At present they are praying for donations, so that their convent can be built, together with its attached hermit cells, and so that they can take in the young women who are waiting to join them.

In fact the foundations of the convent are already laid – but time is short, and in Venezuela building materials are hard to come by.

It was through providence that their needs were brought to our attention. Venezuela needs the prayers of these hermits. For prayer, as Pope Francis says, is ‘the most powerful weapon of Christians’.

This article can be found in Mirror 0216.