Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Response Concerning a Religious Petitioning for Acceptance as a Hermit, 1997. Private.
A religious wished to be accepted by a diocesan bishop as a hermit in accord with canon 603, §2. She thought the process was to seek a transfer from her religious institute and sought the advice of a canonist. The canonist advised her that, in his opinion, she would have to petition for an indult of departure from her religious institute. To be certain of this, the canonist presented the case to the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (hereafter CICL). CICL replied as follows:
Prot. N. _____
In the case of a religious who wishes to be accepted by a diocesan bishop as a hermit, in the formal sense of canon 603, §2, you are correct in saying that there needs to be an indult of departure from the religious institute. The canons on transfer, as such, provide for this only between religious institutes, secular institutes, and societies of apostolic life which have canonical erection. This probably would not be the case in an association. It is our practice, after the individual has made the period of probation with permission of the competent superior (often using exclaustration), if a decision is made to make the new profession as hermit, she requests an indult of departure from her institute, with the request that it take effect when she makes her profession in the hands of the diocesan bishop. It is, therefore, best that there also be a letter indicating the intent of the bishop to receive the profession.
While each case can be unique, we hope the above will assist you in responding to the interested persons.
With personal best wishes, I remain
Yours sincerely in Christ,
RRAO (1997): 15-16.