Thursday, 3 September 2015

Career Opportunity

MD de la Roca

I recently speculated that hermits might be going mainstream, and now a friend apprises me that a Catalonian heritage-preservation association just posted a vacancy for a hermit at the ancient hermitage of Mare de Déu de la Roca (Our Lady of the Rock). The successful candidate stood to receive €1.000 for a year's service, described as "all the proper functions of a hermit". (According to the trust, these amount to showing visitors around, playing hôtelier, and not acting out of character; the announcement makes no mention of striving for transcendence, but to be fair, religious institutions rarely do that either when filling ordained positions.)

This sort of thing is actually not new; the same friend earlier directed me to the Wikipedia entry on Europe's one-time garden hermit market, wherein aristocrats supplied one of us (or someone pretending to be one of us) with rustic lodging in exchange for service as a living garden gnome. But few of those billets approached the cachet of the Catalonian opportunity.

Because the announcement is mute on spiritual matters, it's hard to know how they're defining "hermit", as opposed to "guy in a robe overseeing food service"; one gets the feeling they're really looking for a national park-style re-enactor, a college kid who wears a costume and does schtick for tourists. But I'm going to guess that Roman Catholic convictions are compulsory; it's hard to picture a waraji-wearing Zenner getting that handshake.

Nevertheless, this could be someone's entry to the lucrative and fast-growing field of eremitical monasticism. Too bad the deadline was Monday. But chin up: it looks like we're entering a seller's market.
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