Not bumping into the two women I need for a Pious Lay Association of the Faithful, I decided to reflect on the lone wolf saints, who did not live in a communal state. This was not, even for them, an ideal situation, as community protects and encourages, but those who fit into this category were called to be saints in the market place with, perhaps, only a spiritual director, and not a community.
I do not encourage the laity to be so individualistic as to refuse to live in communities, if they are able to move into even a small grouping of good Catholics.
One of my friends, who is married and very busy with six children, told me she thought that too many single women, even older ones, including widows and the divorced and annulled, were too stubborn and too independent-minded to want to give anything up to live in a community. These were her words, after approaching some people she knows to consider living in a disciplined house of prayer. She and I think this is sad, and one can only hope that this love of stuff, and false independence passes--for that is what is keeping them back from greater service to the Church and a deeper relationship with God.
Here is an incomplete list of Lone Wolf Saints. These were neither married nor in a community, although some were members of an order.
SS. John the Baptist (It is not provable that he lived with the Essenes)
Catherine of Siena
Rose of Lima
John the Evangelist
Julian of Norwich
Damian of Malachi, for most of his work, on his own
Nicholas Owen, for the most part, on his own
Desert Fathers not in abbeys
Most secular priests who are saints lived alone and were isolated, such as
Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort
I do not include married saints, but do mention Margaret Clitherow, as her husband was not a Catholic. There seem to be many spouses in this time who are in her position of being excellent, faithful Catholics without support at home.
To be a lone wolf saint creates a different type of saint--one who must rely on God directly for everything, both spiritual and physical, and not an order or lay community. The times in which we live will become increasingly more difficult for lone wolf saints-in-the-making.
I sincerely hope I do not stay a lone wolf saint-in-the-making.