I'm reading an amazing book at the moment: An Infinity of Little Hours. It's a story of five young men entering St Hugh's Charterhouse, Parkminster (UK). The Carthusians (monks in Charterhouses) live in almost total solitude, praying alone, eating alone (except for one meal on Sunday), and communual Office at night in church. It's an incredible life - having been on silent retreats for extended periods, I know how the silence begins to both oppress and impress, working on you, changing you, stilling interior monologues. Waiting stillness. But I don't think that I could live my entire life that way.
The book is beautifully written, by a woman who married an ex-Carthusian monk but was also given unprecedented access to Parkminster and its current monks, as well as finding a number of those that left. The "attrition rate" is high - lots of people come to try the life but realise that the solitude is not for them. It takes a special kind of person to be a Carthusian; it is a much more monastic call than most vocations! There are Carthusian nuns, who live the same way as the monks, but there are only about 75 of them (there are about 350 monks worldwide). Some people would probably call them crazy, and in some ways maybe they are, but at the same time, they are Soli Dei and Sola Fidei... more sola than I am!