Tag Archives: Benedictines

What is a Benedictine Oblate?

An Oblate of Saint Benedict is a Christian individual (lay people and diocesan priests) who is associated with a particular
Rule of St Benedict.jpgBenedictine monastery, usually one that is close to where one lives, in order to enrich his or her Christian way of life. An Oblate forms and sustains a spiritual bond with the monastery where the oblation is made. So, the hope is that those making an oblation actually share in a spiritual union that is based in friendship with a particular monastic community. Bonded in prayer, love and commitment, Oblates are partners in the prayer and works of the monastery and with the professed monks, nuns and oblates search for God together with the goal of arriving at our destiny: the Beatific Vision, God.


Benedictine Medal.jpg

Oblates are most often Catholics, but practicing members of the Christian ecclesial communities are also welcome to be Oblates. But for Catholic Oblates, there is a crucial connection between the Holy Eucharist and sacred Scripture, devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and faithfulness to the Church teaching. The hope is that an Oblate conforms his or her life according the Gospel, the Rule of Saint Benedict and the constitutions (customs) of a particular family of monks or nuns, e.g., the American-Cassinese Congregation, the Swiss-American Congregation or the English Benedictine Congregation or whatever monastic family in which you make your oblation. An example could be that as monks take a new name upon entering the monastic life so too do some Oblates take on an “oblate name” demonstrating a change of heart and mind. This name is not for legal use, mind you.

Some simple duties of a Benedictine Oblate are:

-daily praying of Lauds and Vespers (and praying the other Hours are encouraged)

-daily Lectio Divina

-daily reading of a chapter of the Rule of Saint Benedict (no more than 3-4 paragraphs)

-frequent reception of the sacraments of Holy Communion and Confession (according to your Church)

-keep some portion of the day in silence as possible

-be committed to ongoing spiritual, intellectual and human formation

-if possible, see a spiritual director

-keep an awareness of the Trinitarian life in front of you, that in all things God may be glorified

-keep the bond of friendship with the monastery of oblation in the unity of prayer and other support

-and perhaps doing some charitable work as possible.

As a Christian the Oblate seeks God by striving to become a saint in his or her daily life; this is accomplished by integrating a life of prayer and work because they manifest Christ’s presence to society.

Available websites:

A good example of Oblate Statutes comes from the Monastery of the Glorious Cross (Branford, CT). The former chaplain wrote the statutes with the sisters.

Saint Benedict and Saint Scholastica, pray for us!
Saint Maurus and Saint Placid, pray for us!
Saint Henry and Saint Frances of Rome, pray for us!

88th anniversary of death of James Gibbons, cardinal

James Cardinal Gibbons

Archbishop of Baltimore

Cardinal Priest of Santa Maria in Trastevere

James Gibbons.jpg23 July 1834, born

30 June 1861, ordained priest

3 March 1868, Vicar Apostolic of North Carolina & later ordained bishop

30 July 1872, bishop of Richmond

20 May 1877, archbishop of Baltimore

7 June 1886, created cardinal

24 March 1921, died


Of the many things the Cardinal arranged for the possession by the Benedictines of Caldwell Place, Gaston County, North Carolina, on which Mary, Help of Christians – Belmont Abbey sits. He also ordained Abbot Leo Michael Haid, a bishop and arranged for him to be the vicar apostolic of North Carolina. Haid prayed one of the absolutions for the Cardinal at his funeral. The monks of Belmont Abbey remembered the Cardinal at Mass.

March 21 or July 11: will the real Benedictine feast take a stand?

A question of what is the difference between the March and July observances of the feast of Saint Benedict.

san benito.jpgThe July feast was the one celebrated in France, as being the date of the alleged translation of his bones to the Abbey of Fleury. Monte Cassino always disputed this claim made by Fleury, and it does seem doubtful, as the remains of Benedict and Scholastica (datable to the correct period) were found in the tomb at Monte Cassino after the Second World War.

The Church, however, certainly never rejected the July 11 feast, as the celebration of the translation of the bones is really not about Fleury-vs.-Monte Cassino but rather the establishment of a cultus of Saint Benedict beyond Italy, as a saint of universal importance for the whole Church and for all the monks of the West. So this feast (which is more convenient for a solemn celebration since it falls outside of Lent) was made by Pope Paul VI the feast of Saint Benedict as Patron of Europe, later changed to be a “co-patron” of Europe.

March 21 is the feast of Saint Benedict’s death. It more specifically concerns his entry into heaven and his role as Father of Western Monasticism.

Sun and Seed

Weather-wise, the day was spectacular. The day was spent at the modest lake house the abbey has had for many years on Lake Norman, just north and west of Belmont Abbey. Among many things the five of us did together today was to plant grass seed to cover the bare spots in the “lawn.” The day away also afforded us the opportunity to foster the companionship and devotion (to the Lord): we prayed the Office of Sext and had lunch. By the way, are you aware that a bale of straw costs $4.75? I think it’s a little expensive for straw! But I suppose the farmer is worth his wage.

Brother Anthony was tired of sowing seed so he showed the inspirational video “The Everyday,” a narrative about the monkish life at Mount Savior Monastery in New York state. Mount Savior was founded in 1950 by Father Damasus Winzen in order to live a monastic life without an outside work like a school or parish and to be most devoted to the Divine Office.

In all the day was a nice getaway with confreres. And let’s hope that it rains soon and that the birds don’t get fat on the seed.


The Benedictine monk or nun vows obedience, stability and conversion of life.

Stability = God is not elsewhere; being in one place allows you to live your vocation in love and grace over the long haul, rejecting the novelty of moving here-and-there

Obedience = When my will is cracked open grace comes in

Conversion of Life = Our true selves are oriented toward the Divine Mystery. Why not be transformed into a living flame of love?

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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