Oblates of Saint Benedict’s Monastery are Christian individuals who associate with a Benedictine community in order to enrich their Christian way of life. Their lives are shaped by living the wisdom of Christ as interpreted by Saint Benedict. A Benedictine oblate seeks God in their chosen way of life. They offer themselves (the word ‘oblate’ means offering) to God in the service of others. Through their prayer, service and community, they witness to Christ’s presence in today’s world.
A Benedictine oblate seeks God in association with a monastic community. As individuals and as members of a community, they grow in love of God and neighbor. With the Rule of Benedict as their guide, oblates engage in practices that are part of the very fabric of Christian spirituality. Some of these include spending time daily to reflect and pray with the sacred scriptures, as well as offering hospitality where they live and work.
Acquaintance with these and other Christian practices presented in the Rule of Benedict enable oblates to experience the peace and joy that Christ promised to all who follow Him. Oblates regularly receive the Oblate News to support them in their spiritual life. There are also opportunities to share and form community including Oblate Sundays, Oblate Renewal Day and small-group gatherings.
For more information on becoming a Benedictine oblate, contact:
Michaela Hedican, OSB
What Is An Oblate?
Oblates are women or men who associate themselves with Saint Benedict’s Monastery. They desire to deepen their relationship with God in the places where they live day-to-day. Benedictine oblates are people seeking to serve God in their chosen way of life. Christians of all faith denominations may become oblates and may be married or single.
One of the gifts of being an oblate is the opportunity to extend a Benedictine presence from Saint Benedict’s Monastery to parishes, churches and civic organizations. As an oblate, a person can, through their manner of life and daily prayer, bear witness to the teachings of Jesus as seen through the lens of Saint Benedict. Ongoing formation is also important, and oblates stay in touch through small-group meetings, the Oblate News, Oblate Sundays and Oblate Renewal Days.
Why Become An Oblate?
By becoming an Oblate of Saint Benedict’s Monastery, the opportunities to deepen your spirituality increase by:
- having a spiritual home at Saint Benedict’s Monastery;
- receiving support and encouragement from other oblates and the Sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict;
- gathering with others to enrich and revive your spiritual life, including an annual Oblate Renewal Day and Oblate Sundays;
- visiting the monastic community at Saint Benedict’s Monastery for prayer and events; and,
- seeking God in the way of life offered by Saint Benedict through prayer, offering hospitality to others and nurturing relationships.
Process Of Formation
Benedictine oblates are supported in their commitment to the oblate way of life by the prayers of the community, by their association with the monastery and by taking advantage of ongoing formation programs offered at Saint Benedict’s Monastery.
There are three stages for the seeker:
- Contact the Benedictine oblate director at firstname.lastname@example.org to become familiar with the monastic community and to learn what it means to live the ‘oblate way of life.’
- Be received as a candidate for a minimum of one year.*
- Make a final commitment as an oblate by reading the Document of Oblation which is signed on the altar by the candidate and the prioress of the Sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict. This is done on the annual Oblate Renewal Day.
*Other Information About the Candidate Process
A candidate is received in a Rite of Reception. At this time, the candidate is presented with a copy of the Rule of Benedict and a Benedictine medal.
The next year is spent in study, under the direction of the oblate director. During this time, the Rule of Benedict is reviewed, the life of Saint Benedict is explored and practices integral to Benedictine spirituality are learned.
A candidate may be mentored by another oblate or a sister of the monastery. The candidacy can extend up to five years, if necessary.
When a candidate has discerned her/his readiness to make a final commitment, the candidate writes a letter to the prioress of Saint Benedict’s Monastery asking to make her/his final commitment as an Oblate of Saint Benedict’s Monastery.
Can I be married/have children and still be an oblate?
Yes, Benedictine oblates may definitely be married and have children.
What goes on during the one-to-five year formation period?
During this time, you are called an oblate candidate, and for the first year, you may be mentored by another oblate. Together, you study the Rule of Benedict and learn about Benedictine spirituality.
Can I be an oblate if I am a baptized member of another Christian faith denomination other than Roman Catholic?
Yes, you certainly can. There are Benedictine oblates who are from other Christian faith traditions.
Are there male oblates at your monastery?
Yes, there are. Men have been received as candidates in recent years and have also made their final commitments.
Do oblates make vows?
No, Benedictine oblates are not professed members of a monastic community, but at their final oblation, they do promise to dedicate themselves to the service of God and all people according to the Rule of Benedict.
Oblate Retreat Coordinator
Please welcome Dr. Christine Luna Munger, OblSB, as our new oblate retreat coordinator. Christine is a graduate of the College of Saint Benedict, currently as the director of the Episcopal House of Prayer in Collegeville, Minn., and is also a wife and mother of two small children. Christine is very accomplished, so when you see her, ask her what she’s been up to. I think you’ll be in for an interesting conversation.
The oblate retreat coordinator position is new for our oblate community. Christine will be overseeing the oblate retreats, reaching out to those interested in serving on committees, finding an oblate presenter for each retreat and collecting what worked well for each retreat and passing that on to the next oblate retreat planning team.
The Oblate Advisory Team has decided to have one Zoom and one in-person oblate retreat per year. If you are interested in serving on an oblate retreat planning team, please indicate that on the oblate survey and return it prior to Oblate Renewal Day. If you’re an oblate who lives at a distance, being on the planning team for the oblate Zoom retreat is a great way to get to know other oblates and build community. If you live closer to the monastery, we need people on the ground to help facilitate that oblate retreat as well. The planning meetings for both retreats will likely be held on Zoom.
Watch for the oblate survey coming out soon, either by email or regular mail. Please complete and return it prior to Oblate Renewal Day. It helps a lot!
Finally, please welcome Christine in this new position. Christine, thank you for being willing to serve!
Reminder: Visio Divina Retreat Still Has Some Openings!
Visio Divina Summer Retreat brought to you by the wonders of Zoom
Date: Saturday, August 14, 2021, from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m./Noon-ish
Facilitators: Pat Pickett, OblSB, and Mary Baier, OblSB
Spend an August morning with us and learn the various styles of visio divina. Latin for “divine seeing,” it is praying with art/images to listen to God’s words. We will present three styles of visio divina, including a traditional style, along with other variations. There will be practice, reflection, and discussion on how visio divina can be another option for conversations with God.
We hope this retreat will provide oblates with a summer pause in our busy lives. Come join us! (Maximum size: 20 people)
To register: Email Mary Baier, OblSB, at email@example.com and provide your email address and phone number. Mary will confirm your registration and send you a Zoom invitation. Registration will close at 12 p.m. on August 1, 2021. There is no charge—our thanks to Pat and Mary!
Spirituality Center●Studium Fall/Winter 2021 Events
Exciting news: The Spirituality Center●Studium’s September through December 2021 offerings (a mix of in-person and virtual opportunities) are OPEN for registration! There is a great variety of prayer retreats, book discussions, Advent programming, and more. Check them out now!
Mark your calendars for Oblate Sundays and Oblate Renewal Days 2021–2022!
- Oblate Sunday: November 21, 2021
- Oblate Sunday: January 16, 2022
- Oblate Sunday: March 20, 2022
- Oblate Sunday: May 1, 2022
- Oblate Renewal Day: Saturday, September 17, 2022
Oblates have the opportunity to form community and deepen their spiritual life through Oblate Sundays and Oblate Renewal Days. These events are for oblates only, and oblates can view previous presentations by clicking the button below.