An Oblate of Saint Benedict is a Christian individual (lay people and diocesan priests) who is associated with a particular
Benedictine 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.
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.
- The Rule of Saint Benedict
- General Information on Benedictine Oblates
- International Benedictine Oblates
- The Oblate Forum
- Resources from the Archabbey of St Meinrad for Oblates
- The Oblate Newsletter from Saint Vincent Archabbey
- The Oblate Newsletter from Saint John’s Abbey
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!