The Benedictine oblates engage in regular practices of Benedictine spirituality based on the Gospel and the Rule of Benedict while uniting with the professed monastics in ongoing formation and participating with the work of the monastery.
What Is An Oblate?
Benedictine oblates are women and men who seek God in association with Saint Benedict’s Monastery in order to enrich their Christian way of life. With the Rule of Benedict as their guide, oblates engage in practices that are part of the very fabric of Christian spirituality, such as daily prayer and reflection and offering hospitality where they live and work. Christians of all faith denominations may become oblates and may be married or single.
Oblates’ lives are shaped by living the wisdom of Christ as interpreted by Saint Benedict. The word “oblate” means “offering,” and they offer themselves to God in the service of others. Through prayer, service and community, oblates bear witness to the teachings of Jesus as seen through the lens of St. Benedict.
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 sisters
- gathering with others to enrich and revive your spiritual life, including an annual Oblate Renewal Day and quarterly Oblate Sundays
- visiting the monastic community at Saint Benedict’s Monastery for prayer and events
- seeking God in the way of life offered by St. Benedict through prayer, offering hospitality to others, and nurturing relationships
Process Of Formation
There are three stages for the seeker:
- Contact the director of oblates to become familiar with the monastic community and learn what it means to live the oblate way of life.
- Be received as an oblate inquirer for a year, then become an oblate candidate. A candidate is received in a Rite of Reception and is presented with a copy of the Rule of Benedict and a Benedictine medal.
After being received as an oblate candidate, the next year is spent in study under the direction of the director of oblates. During this time, the Rule of Benedict is reviewed, the life of St. Benedict is explored, and practices integral to Benedictine spirituality are learned. A candidate may be mentored by another oblate or sister, and the candidacy can extend up to five years, if necessary.
- When a candidate has discerned her/his readiness to make perpetual oblation, the candidate writes a letter to the prioress of Saint Benedict’s Monastery asking to make her/his perpetual oblation. She/he makes perpetual oblation by reading the Document of Oblation which is signed on the altar by the candidate and the prioress. This is ordinarily done at the annual Oblate Renewal Day.
Can I be married/have children and still be an oblate?
Yes, Benedictine oblates can be married and have children.
What goes on during the one-to-five year formation period?
During this time, you are called an “oblate inquirer” and then an “oblate candidate.” 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 can. There are Benedictine oblates who are from other Christian faith traditions.
Are there male oblates at your monastery?
Yes, there are. Men are received as candidates and make perpetual oblation.
Do oblates make vows?
No, oblates do not make vows as they are not professed members of a monastic community. However, at their perpetual oblation, they do promise to dedicate themselves to the service of God and all people according to the Rule of Benedict.