Tag Archives: oblate

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.


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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!

Novena to St. Benedict

San Benedetto da Norcia.jpgO Glorious St. Benedict, sublime model of all virtues, pure vessel of God’s grace! Behold me, humbly kneeling at thy feet. I implore thy loving heart to pray for me before the throne of God. To thee I have recourse in all the dangers which daily surround me. Shield me against my enemies, inspire me to imitate thee in all things. May thy blessings be with me always, so that I may shun whatever God forbids and avoid the occasions of sin.


Graciously obtain for me from God those favors and graces of which I stand so much in need, in the trials, miseries and afflictions of life. Thy heart was always so full of love, compassion, and mercy towards those who were afflicted or troubled in any way. Thou didst never dismiss without consolation and assistance anyone who had recourse to thee. I therefore invoke thy powerful intercession in the confident hope that thou will hear my prayers and obtain for me the special grace and favor I so earnestly implore (mention it), if it be for the greater glory of God and the welfare of my soul.

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Pope Benedict XVI speaks at the monastery of the Benedictine Oblate Sisters of St. Frances of Rome, Tor de’ Specchi

This is a rather important talk Pope Benedict XVI gave while visiting the Oblates of Saint Frances of Rome. Every pope since the 16th century has visited this monastery. Pope John Paul was the last 25 years ago.

Dear Oblate Sisters,

Francesca Romana oblation.jpgAfter my visit to the nearby Municipal Hall on the Capitoline Hill, I come with great joy to meet you at this historic Monastery of Santa Francesca Romana, while you are still celebrating the fourth centenary of her canonization on 29 May 1608. Moreover, the Feast of this great Saint occurs this very day, commemorating the date of her birth in Heaven. I am therefore particularly grateful to the Lord to be able to pay this tribute to the “most Roman of women Saints”, in felicitous continuity with the meeting I have just had with the Administrators at the municipal headquarters. As I address my cordial greeting to your community, and in particular to the President, Mother Maria Camilla Rea whom I thank for her courteous words expressing your common sentiments I also extend my greeting to Auxiliary Bishop Ernesto Mandara, to the students who live here and to everyone present.

As you know, together with my collaborators in the Roman Curia, I have just completed the Spiritual Exercises which coincided with the first week of Lent. In these days I have experienced once again how indispensable silence and prayer are. And I also thought of St Frances of Rome, of her unreserved dedication to God and neighbour which gave rise to the experience of community life here, at Tor de’ Specchi. Contemplation and action, prayer and charitable service, the monastic ideal and social involvement: all this has found here a “laboratory” rich in fruits, in close connection with the Olivetan nuns of Santa Maria Nova. But the real impetus behind all that was achieved in the course of time was the heart of Frances, into which the Holy Spirit had poured out his spiritual gifts and at the same time inspired a multitude of good initiatives.

Your monastery is located in the heart of the city. How is it possible not to see in this, as it were, the symbol of the need to bring the spiritual dimension back to the centre of civil coexistence, to give full meaning to the many activities of the human being? Precisely in this perspective your community, together with all other communities of contemplative life, is called to be a sort of spiritual “lung” of society, so that all that is to be done, all that happens in a city, does not lack a spiritual “breath”, the reference to God and his saving plan. This is the service that is carried out in particular by monasteries, places of silence and meditation on the divine word, places where there is constant concern to keep the earth open to Heaven. Then your monastery has its own special feature which naturally reflects the charism of St Frances of Rome. Here you keep a unique balance between religious life and secular life, between life in the world and outside the world. This model did not come into being on paper but in the practical experience of a young woman of Rome; it was written one might say by God himself in the extraordinary life of Francesca, in her history as a child, an adolescent, a very young wife and mother, a mature woman conquered by Jesus Christ, as St Paul would say. Not without reason are the walls of these premises decorated with scenes from her life, to show that the true building which God likes to build is the life of Saints.

Santa Francesca Romana.jpgIn our day too, Rome needs women and of course also men but here I wish to emphasize the feminine dimension women, as I was saying, who belong wholly to God and wholly to their neighbour; women who are capable of recollection and of generous and discreet service; women who know how to obey their Pastors but also how to support them and encourage them with their suggestions, developed in conversation with Christ and in first-hand experience in the area of charity, assistance to the sick, to the marginalized, to minors in difficulty. This is the gift of a motherhood that is one with religious self-gift, after the model of Mary Most Holy. Let us think of the mystery of the Visitation. Immediately after conceiving the Word of God in her heart and in her flesh, Mary set out to go and help her elderly kinswoman Elizabeth. Mary’s heart is the cloister where the Word continues to speak in silence, and at the same time it is the crucible of a charity that is conducive to courageous gestures, as well as to a persevering and hidden sharing.

Dear Sisters, thank you for the prayers with which you always accompany the ministry of the Successor of Peter and thank you for your invaluable presence in the heart of Rome. I hope that you will experience every day the joy of preferring nothing to love of Christ, a motto we have inherited from St Benedict but which clearly mirrors the spirituality of the Apostle Paul, venerated by you as Patron of your Congregation. To you, to the Olivetan monks and to everyone present here, I warmly impart a special Apostolic Blessing.

Pope Benedict visits Saint Frances of Rome’s monastery

The Pope’s visit to the monastery founded by Saint Frances of Rome today was a spectacular example of pastoral solicitude for the sisters and for their vocation. The Pope illustrated his love for the Benedictine charism and value today. Read and watch the video clip:


Tor de Specchi.jpgThe spiritual dimension of life must be brought back to the centre of civil coexistence. Benedict XVI said this during his visit to the historical monastery of Saint Francesca Romana in Tor de Specchi near the Campidoglio.

The Oblate sisters’ community of contemplative life, in close connection with the Olivetani monks, is called to be society’s “spiritual lung”, in order maintain the reference to God and to His plan of salvation. The Pope noted that the convent, which was founded by St. Francesca Romana, is characterized by a singular equilibrium between religious and secular life.

Rome currently needs women who, following the saint’s example, are capable of committing themselves to God and neighbour, capable of obeying the Church and assisting its pastors with their propositions, after being matured in dialogue with Christ and in concrete experience of charity. (courtesy of H2O News)


Contact the oblates:


Monastero delle Oblate di Santa Francesca Romana (Tor de’ Specchi)
Via del Teatro Marcello, 32

Roma, Italia

Saint Frances of Rome: Patroness of Benedictine Oblates

St Francesca Romana.jpgO God, who in Saint Frances of Rome, have given us a model of holiness in married life and of monastic conversion, make us serve you perseveringly, so that in all circumstances we may set our gaze upon you and follow you.

This prayer given by the Church calls to mind the fact that Saint Frances was both married and later lived a monastic vocation! This doesn’t happen too often but it shows that it can be done.

Saint Frances is depicted in this picture with an angel resembling her eight-year-old son, Evangelista, who died from the plague. After his death he appeared to her announcing the death of his sister, Agnes.


The trauma of losing one child is great and so imagining the loss of two children would be devasting for a parent but anyone with true humanity. The Lord gave Saint Frances an unusual grace as a result to her faithfulness: that of always seeing her guardian angel. Liturgical scholars will note that the angel is wearing a dalmatic like the deacon at Mass reminding us of the service the angels provide just for the asking. As Pope Benedict mentioned a week ago, the guardian angel is continuously with us, assuring us of the love of Jesus Christ, giving us counsel and providing us with that which is part of the Divine Will. For me and for countless others I think THE grace the guardian angels provide is a guiding light through the darkness of life.


SFR3.jpgThe first intention I am placing before Saint Frances of Rome, the patroness of Benedictine Oblates, is to petition the Lord that the vocation of the Benedictine Oblates be lived with seriousness so that it can be a witness to the Gospel before the world. The second intention is that as Saint Frances had the grace of actually seeing her angel visibly at every moment of every day, so may we come to rely on our guardian angel for living life with the integrity of the Gospel before our eyes.


Sr Barbara & PAZ.jpgTwo years ago I had the privilege of visiting the monastery of Saint Frances of Rome on her feast day. Notice the lemon trees the nuns care for in the above photo. The visit to the monastery was with my friends Father Mark and Sister Barbara.

Read more on the saint.

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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