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.
English Language Learners
Twice a week, students in the St. Joseph area join sisters and volunteers for English Language Learners classes at the Spirituality Center●Studium. The goal of these classes is to help each student progress in their English fluency, and new students are welcomed as they move to the community.
Recently, Oblate Julianna Howard introduced ELL students to an art exhibit called “When Home Won’t Let You Stay,” at Gorecki Gallery on the grounds of the College of Saint Benedict. The experience incorporated the grounding reality of many of the ELL students’ life experiences into their newly acquired use of the English language as they viewed the exhibit and shared their reflections.
Given the cancellation of the Nun Banquet which was scheduled for the evening of Friday, March 13, and the continued concern about people coming together, Oblate Sunday for March 15 has been cancelled. We hope to move the presentation to the next Oblate Sunday on May 17.
Preparing for Lent: Forgiveness as a Practice
On February 22, 18 oblates attended a retreat at the monastery led by fellow oblate Becky Van Ness. The retreat focused on forgiveness by way of letting go of “unenforceable rules” which we each hold for others and ourselves. The group examined these rules, where they come from and how they affect our relationships with others. Oblates were asked to imagine how things change in our minds and hearts when we imagine these rules as things that are hoped for rather than expected. The day was spent in group and individual reflection. There was time for writing, prayer, walking in the beautiful sunshine and attending mass with the community. The day ended with a beautiful gift from oblate Pat Pickett. She made butterfly pins, each with the name of a sister who has passed away. She said the names of the sisters on the butterflies remind us of the “butterfly effect,” that the life of one person has far reaching effects on the whole world. The retreat was an enriching way to prepare our hearts and minds for the season of Lent. Thanks to all who joined us!
Reflection written by Clarey McInerny, OblSB
- If you would like to access a recording of the Oblate Sunday presentation on January 19, please contact Sister Michaela Hedican.
- If you would like to access a recording of the Oblate Sunday presentation on November 17, please contact Sister Michaela Hedican.
- Oblate News: December 2019
- If you would like to access a recording of Oblate Renewal Day on September 21, please contact Sister Michaela Hedican.