When St. Anthony was a prosperous cloth merchant, he heard Jesus' words in the gospel as he never had before - if you wish to be perfect, sell everything, give to the poor and then come follow me. He did just what Jesus said and became the preeminent monk in the Church and the founder of monasticism.
He set up habitation in a small cave at the top of a mountain whose base contained a spring of water and lived there for much of his long life of 105 years. He died in 356 AD but his cave can still be seen and the monastery founded at the base of the mountain shortly after his death is still houses a community of monks.
A monk at St. Anthony's monastery recently explained one of the purposes of their constant prayer, "We're you're backup." The prayers of those who have left the world support those who still labor in the world for the gospel.