Christine has written an article on the desert mothers and fathers which is published with US Catholic! An excerpt is below.
The desert mothers and fathers have much to teach Catholics about contemplation and prayer. In the third- to sixth-century desert landscape of Egypt, Syria, Palestine, and Arabia, a powerful movement was happening. Christian monasticism began flowering in response to a call to leave the world behind. Christians withdrew from a society in which the misuse of human relationships, power, and material possessions ran counter to their sense of the sacredness of life.
Their journey into the desert was a movement toward growing intentional awareness of God’s presence and recognizing that worldly pleasures bring little long-term satisfaction. Their aim was to experience God in each moment and activity by reducing their needs and committing themselves to the discipline of regular prayer and self-inquiry.