The Hermits of the Holy Ghost and Fr. Henkel are named for the late pastor of Holy Ghost church in Knoxville, Tennessee--Gemma's
former parish. Fr. Albert J. Henkel (1917-1996), a diocesan priest, was the pastor of Holy Ghost parish for more than
30 years, and refused to remove the communion rail from the church after the Second Vatican Council. (Thus making Holy
Ghost one of only two churches which Gemma knows of in the eastern U.S. to retain the rail). The parish was a
magnet for "conservatives," many of whom quit attending church after Fr. Henkel's death.
Gemma had wanted to be an anchoress at one time, and asked Fr. Henkel if she could become one at Holy Ghost.
He said he would love to have that happen, but he would be afraid for her because of the neighborhood. Gemma then declared,
"Well, if I cannot become an anchoress here, then I shall devote a new religious order to you after you die." Fr. Henkel's
face showed great humility, and he said, "If that is what God wants."
(Later, when Gemma asked the bishop for permission to become an anchoress, he said no, because he thought she needed
to be farther along spiritually).
The Hermits will have as their charism not only the personal sanctification of the members, but will also pray for more
people to be devoted to the Holy Ghost; the reconciliation of all branches of traditionalists with the Holy See; and will
pray for the glorification of Fr. Henkel.
The habit will mainly be a black eremetical cowl robe for both the brothers and the sisters. For
the brothers, the cowl will be lined with red cloth. The sisters will wear a red veil.