Thinking Like a Mountain – Charles Brandt at 96
British Columbia Coast Mountain Range and the Salish Sea – Charles Brandt photo
“Somehow we must come to realize that the earth is not merely a resource for human exploitation, but that it is a gift, a holy gift, that has a vastly deeper worth than its value as purely an economic commodity. To do this we must discover our own spirit.”
February 19th, 2019 is frater Charles Brandt’s 96th birthday. He made this plea many years ago in the late 1980’s. He continues with this belief onwards today. His long life has been one of quiet contemplation and action. He has shared this generously and encouraged others.
Charles lives with a faith that is durable and deeply rooted.
Antelope Canyon, Arizona – Charles Brandt photo
He calls people to have greater awareness through living by example. Charles is an advocate of meditation, both sitting and walking. He is a renown expert in art, book and paper conservation. This has provided Charles’ material and creative sustenance.
An example of Charles Brandt’s work in the art of book binding
As a humble Catholic hermit, monk and priest, Charles is true to the universal principle ‘it is better to give than recieve’. Recently he donated his hermitage land rights, ensuring the 27-acres of natural forest on the banks of the Oyster River are protected in perpetuity.
Here are details from a news release:
The Comox Valley Land Trust (CVLT) is pleased to announce the establishment of a conservation covenant over 27-acres of wild land on the banks of the Oyster River. The land is currently home to spiritual leader and conservationist Father Charles Brandt, 95, who asked the CVLT to protect the mature forest and riparian areas for future generations.
Father Charles Brandt, or “Father Charles,” has lived in his hermitage on the 27-acres bordering the Oyster River since 1970. As the first ordained Catholic priest-hermit in two centuries, he asked the CVLT to hold conservation covenant over the property to safeguard the values of conservation and ecological stewardship. “The covenant will ensure that these mature forests and riparian areas, as well as the plants and wildlife that call them home, are protected for future generations in perpetuity,” says Tim Ennis, executive director of CVLT.
Father Charles plans to eventually donate the land to the CVRD as parkland (allowing pedestrian-only public access). A registered society will lease back the hermitage building for use by a contemplative individual to carry on in the priest-hermit’s tradition. “We must fall in love with the Earth, and we only save what we love,” says Father Charles. “It is my deep love of contemplation and communion with the natural world that has led me to act in its defense.”
Funding required to complete the project was generously provided by Judy Hager (in memory of Bob Hager), the Oyster River Enhancement Society, members of the Tsolum River Restoration Society, and other local community members. The CVLT would like to thank everyone who helped to bring about this conservation success story.
January 31, 2019 Comox Valley Land Trust
Oyster River near the hermitage – Charles Brandt photo
“We find ourselves alienated not only from ourselves but from our sister and brother, and from the very root of reality. We find ourselves alienated from the earth and its natural resources. Instead of living in peace and harmony and unity with the earth, we find ourselves exploiting it and performing acts of violence that degrade and spoil it . . . Because of these grave threats to the continuation of life on earth we are drawn together in the cause of peace. We seek peace with all the peoples of the earth and with the earth itself . . . ”
~ frater Charles Brandt ~ (frater – Latin for brother)
from the grassroots People’s Synod of 1986-1991 in the Diocese of Victoria (Vancouver Island)
An article of Charles’ from the synod, a New Consciousness, is previously posted here.
Charles Brandt at his hermitage, the ‘Merton House’ (photo by Grant Callegari of Hakai Magazine)
Charles studied for a brief time with Aldo Leopold’s son and was influenced by Aldo’s own experience of paradigm shift, as described in this essay below of witnessing a wolf die.
Charles often paraphrases Leopold, saying we must learn to Think Like a Mountain. Hence the title for this post, celebrating Charles life of 96 years and creation of Brandt Hermitage Land Trust.
Cheers to you Charles,
in fellowship with all