The Goal : Contemplation

In 1084, Saint Bruno led a small band of followers into the wilderness of the French Alps to fully embrace the call of Jesus Christ that “whoever does not renounce all that he has cannot be My disciple.” In a tradition unbroken for over nine hundred years, Carthusians live as sons and daughters of Saint Bruno, inspired by the Desert Fathers of early Christianity, who thronged to the desert to lead solitary lives in poverty of spirit.

In twenty-four communities today, Carthusians monks and nuns enter an austere silence and solitude stripped of the comforts and consolations found in the city. There God leads them on a journey of surrender that surpasses the illusory happiness of worldly success and possessions.

The Charterhouse of the Transfiguration, North America’s only charterhouse, sustains a broad international culture of monks from all over the world. In a world so often torn apart by ethnic rivalries and excessive nationalism, the monks, bonded together by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, affirm the supremacy of God and contribute via their intense prayer to a harmonious family of humanity in search of its loving Creator. Flags representing the national origins of the monks fly at the entrance to Skyline Drive.

The monk journeys through the desert of silence, and thus no visitors are allowed in the monastery.

Learn More

To learn more about the history of the Carthusians
and the Charterhouse of the Transfiguration on
Mount Equinox, click below:

The History of the Carthusians

Source: Robin Bruce Lockhart, Halfway to Heaven: The Hidden Life of the Carthusians


circa 1030

Bruno is born in Cologne, Germany. As a young boy, he excels in his studies and is sent to the cathedral school at Rheims, France.



Bruno is named a canon of the cathedral of Rheims,  and soon thereafter director of studies of the school.


Weary of the political aspects of his roles, Bruno leads six companions in search of solitude redolent of that of the early Desert Christians. They set off towards Grenoble, France, where Bishop St. Hugh leads them to an Alpine valley four thousand feet above sea level, the Chartreuse. There, they build small log cabins in a semi-circle, the first Charterhouse, later known as La Grande Chartreuse.


Bishop Hugh consecrates a small stone chapel under the title of the Holy Virgin and St. John the Baptist.


Bruno is ordered to Rome by Pope Urban II, a former student in need of his counsel. Some of his fellow monks accompany him; others disperse.


Bruno is permitted to leave the papal court with the stipulation that any new hermitage he establishes should be in Italy. Bruno founds the second Charterhouse at La Torre in Calabria.


Bruno dies on October 6, surrounded by his fellow monks. Within one hundred years, thirty three charterhouses are established.


The first Carthusian monastery for nuns is established in Provence.


Henry II founds the first English Charterhouse as penance for his role in the murder of Thomas a Becket.


Three priors are drawn and quartered for their refusal to sign an oath acknowledging Henry VIII as head of the English church. Over the next five years, fifteen more monks are martyred. Forty-four Charterhouses are suppressed in Europe during the Reformation.


Twenty-one new Charterhouses are established. By 1676, there are 173.


Charterhouses are suppressed in Venice, Austria and Tuscany.


All Portuguese Charterhouses are suppressed.


All Spanish and some Swiss Charterhouses are suppressed and the monks dispersed.


The first Charterhouse in England since the Tudor era is completed.


The Carthusians are exiled from France, not returning until 1928.


La Grande Chartreuse, the motherhouse of the Order, is regained in the confusion of World War II.


Twelve monks are martyred by Nazi SS troops for sheltering Italians and Jews in the Charterhouse of Farneta.


The first and only Carthusian foundation in North America is established in Vermont.


The Charterhouse of the Transfiguration is dedicated.


The fiftieth anniversary of the dedication of the Charterhouse of the Transfiguration.