THE SHOES OF THE FISHERMAN – requiescat in pacem fr. Charles Brandt


Swans Abstract - charles brandt photo

Swans in flight – photo by Fr. Charles Brandt


Sunday morning close to 6 A.M. Pacific Standard Time, the soul of our friend and brother, Frater Charles A.E. Brandt, departed from this earth.  Words that are barely adequate now to express my feelings,       are from a book I recently read. This is how I will always recall dear Charles:


Yesterday I met a whole man. It is a rare experience, but always an illuminating and ennobling one. It costs so much to be a full human being that there are very few who have the enlightenment, or the courage, to pay the price. . . . One has to abandon altogether the search for security, and reach out to the risk of living with both arms. One has to embrace the world like a lover, and yet demand no easy return of love. One has to accept pain as a condition of existence. One has to court doubt and darkness as the cost of knowing. One needs a will stubborn in conflict, but apt always to the total acceptance of every consequence of living and dying.


Excerpt from The Shoes of the Fisherman  by Morris West


                                                                                    photo by Grant Callegari

Charles-Brandt-catholic-hermit- with-bible - photo Grant Callegari

frater Charles A.E. Brandt    

born Feb.19, 1923  (kansas City, MO)  ~  died  Oct.25, 2020 (Courtenay, B.C.)



“The human community and the natural world must move forward into the future as a single sacred community or we will perish in the desert. Only the sense of the sacred can save us.”   fr. Charles Brandt



A unique interview with Charles, all about his life, can be found


entitled A Single Sacred Community, and

published by the Thomas Merton Center in 2016.


Or, for a different condensed version of this interview (with photos)

try this link – Our lives, Well lived: Charles Brandt at 94.


Charles at his hermitage  in the forest, maybe a decade ago  – photo by Nick Didlick

Charles Brandt at his hermitage - photo by Nick Didlick



Charles lived a life of contemplative prayer as a hermit priest. He was also well loved and active in the larger community, with-in and with-out a diverse circle of his friends and affiliates. You may like to to watch a beautiful 4 minute 2012 U-Tube of Charles speaking alongside a Comox Valley river about The Sacred Commons, where he gives a Tribute to Aldo Leopold. 

Here is the link: 


While you listen you may get a sense of the kind of person Charles was. In his humble way, he would have liked this:  a tribute with-in a tribute.



Or, this wonderful 3 minute Shaw TV report from 2010 has a beautiful glimpse of Charles at his hermitage, on Oyster River. In a nutshell it reviews how he came to be there, and his basic ecological and faith orientation.  Fr. Charles also explains his book binding and art conservation laboratory.  Here is the link and I am certain that you will find it uplifting.




On behalf of us all, with deepest gratitude for Fr. Charles

and his example of love and care for the earth, and for one another





photo by B. Thomas Witzel – October 24, 2020

High River, Alberta  (in memorium of Charles Brandt) 2020-10-24 bruce witzel photo


“There are no goodbyes. Wherever you’ll be, you’ll be in my heart.” 




16 thoughts on “THE SHOES OF THE FISHERMAN – requiescat in pacem fr. Charles Brandt

  1. I’m so sorry, Bruce, for the loss of your friend and mentor. His legacy will live on, and his influence in your life will be with you forever. May Frater Brandt rest in peace and rise in glory, and may his memory be a blessing.

  2. You’ve mentioned this dear man before and each time you’ve shared his words and actions I’ve been touched. I’m so sorry for your personal loss, Bruce, and can’t help but think we’d all be blessed for knowing him through the work he leaves behind. I’m grateful for all the links you’ve shared, and I will take the time to dwell with them.Beause we rarely leave home these days, I’ve been thinking of my homebase as my sanctuary/hermitage, and enjoyed re-visiting Merton, Rohr and others who address a contemplative life. I expect that this dear friend of yours will continue to mentor many of us even though his physical time here is over. What a dear man Charles Brandt must have been.

    • Yes he was Debra. . . such an outpouring of love from him, and as a result, from all those who were touched by him. Charles would be especially pleased abut your comment of your own home base as sanctuary/hermitage. Also, your connecting with the contemplatives like Thomas Merton and Richard Rohr, and Charles sent the Center for Action and Contemplation link our daily. (Posted here now for any others who are interested) It is so good to hear from you now,

  3. Hi Bruce,

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful tribute to your friend and mentor. While it is sad that he is gone from this earth, his memory will live on.

    I hope you and your family are well.


    • Your welcome Nancy and thank you so much for your kind condolences. Charles had given so much of himself to the world. His memory will live on, yes! I will give further updates as his legacy continues to unfold.

      My family is well, knock on wood. For you and Ken and your extended family, I hope you too are well and able to continue enjoying the beauty of the earth during these difficult times.

    • Hi Angela.

      Yes indeed he was, and we were indeed blessed to have Charles on this blue-green earth. Many of us will miss Charles dearly.

      I’m thinking of your upcoming election and I’m concerned. In Canada the past few months we have had 3 provincial elections and the incumbent party has always got re-elected. Hopefully this doesn’t happen in the US…. Your home state of Pennsylvania seems to be so important in your election. I recall 4 and half years ago when you and Jeremy visited us, none of us thought that Trump could be elected in the first place!

      Many of us in Canada are really hoping for a change, as I’m certain you and Jeremy are. By the way… A year and half ago Charles mentioned to me that he really admired Elizabeth Warren as a possibility to run for the Democrats. That was then though…. now is now. Such difficult times, throughout the world.

      In peace, hope and and love


  4. My mother “changed from glory into Glory” on Thursday evening. I am composing her obituary here in her apartment. Great souls who serve God and the community are truly inspiring…they breathe into us the breath of Spirit. What a privilege to learn from them!

    • Yes Priscilla… Charles was my mentor and he was like a brother to me. I give you my sincere condolences upon the death of your mother…. “Great souls who serve God and the community”, as you say. I know you often wrote on your blog about you mom as a shining example of glory, as I did with Charles.

      Charles hermitage is a few hundred miles from my home and.I am grateful I was with Charles a month ago for about 45 minutes. He was in such good spirits; and he seemed then in quite good health for 97, though I know he was suffering. When he was in hospital more recently, my friend Willa said to Charles that many people have him in there thoughts and prayers. In his typical way, he smiled and replied “it works both ways, you know.”

      Thank you so much for your heartfelt words of understanding.

      • My mom’s message to the church she was devoted to for 44 years was, “I have received a great outpouring of support. The messages of love go to my heart. The messages of prayer go to my soul and lead me to God. What more could I want?”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: