A hermit is a person who chooses to live a solitary life in pursuit of religious revelations. Rachel Denton, a former Carmelite nun, has made this choice. She lives alone in a small house in a small village in northeast England, with her cats and chickens keeping her company.

But she hasn’t totally given up on modern life. She brushes aside the usual stereotype of the hermit, saying, “The myth you most often face as a hermit is that you should have a beard and live in a cave. None of which is me.”

While Denton has chosen a solitary life, she has also embraced some modern conveniences like Twitter and Facebook. In addition to the rituals of a hermitic life (rising early, feeding the chickens), she also logs on and checks those social media sites, even using the Internet to shop online and talk with friends. After all, Denton says, “I am a hermit but I am also human.”

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