Tuesday, April 20, 2010

"Is there anyone here who yearns for life and desires to see good days?" (Ps. 34:13)

The quotation in the title above is from Psalm 34 but it is also quoted in the Prologue of the Rule of Benedict. Oblates of Saint Benedict respond "I do" to the psalmist's question. What are Oblates. Oblates are Christian women and men who are called to live their baptismal vocation by following the Rule of Benedict in their lives outside the monastery.

Being an oblate is about following a spiritual path and being on a journey of seeking God along with others who are traveling the same path in order that "Christ may bring us all together to everlasting life" (Rule, 72).

Working with the oblates of our monastery for almost 8 years I have learned many things. Some people who seek to begin the oblate journey tell me that they read the Rule of Benedict for a course, some have gone to a Benedictine school or college, some yearn for a deeper relationship with Christ and they are looking for others who desire the same thing. Others have spent time in our Studium program here at Saint Benedict's, they have participated in our liturgies and have gotten to know some of our Sisters. As the time of their departure approaches they know they want, they need to remain connected with us and so they ask to begin the oblate journey.

Concretely, what might the life of the oblate of Saint Benedict look like? They live the gospel by practicing lectio divina so that their hearts are transformed, and by serving the people of God. Oblates read, study and integrate the Rule of Benedict. They associate themselves with a monastery and attend oblate days or other events at the monastery. Oblates do not pay dues but they might be donors of the monastery or give a free-will offering when they attend oblate days. They read books on Benedictine spirituality either with a group which meets monthly or on their own if they cannot join a group. Finally, the monastery to which they are affiliated is their spiritual home so that they become more than guests, they are members of the extended family of the monastery.

"See how God's love shows us the way of life. Clothed then with faith and the performance of good works, let us set out on this way, with the Gospel for our guide, that we may deserve to see the Holy One." (Prologue of the Rule of Benedict)


  1. How do I get more information on how to become an Oblate? I have been interested for years and would like to do something about it!

  2. You can visit our Oblate information page on the web site: www.sbm.osb.org/oblate or contact S. Helene Mercier at hmercier@csbsju.edu. Thanks for your interest!

  3. The more I hear and check into the rule that the Benedictines follow, the more I want to know. I read The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris. I am reading it again - trying to understand on a deeper level this walk with God we have on earth. Having a brief association with the Sisters of St. Benedict's Monastery - I know that I want to continue the association with them. This would be one way to do that. I'll be in touch, Sr. Helene.

  4. I really found this reflection on what the life of a Benedictine Oblate looks like, to be useful. I have been discerning the step of becoming a Benedictine Oblate with a Benedictine community in Australia for a number of years now... longer than normal I know. I am looking forward to keeping in touch with this site and continuing to read your reflections. Thank you!