|Lynda Gradert is an oblate from |
Saint Benedict's Monastery,
St. Joseph, Minn.
She lives in Minneapolis, Minn.
Recently I followed up with a woman who had expressed interest in becoming an oblate. I asked if she wanted to grab a quick cup of coffee and have a conversation about it. She replied “No, being an oblate takes too much time.” I was dumbfounded. Had she been open to it I would’ve liked to ask her “What does being an oblate mean to you?”
I’ve been asking myself that same question a lot over the last year. A few of us oblates have been engaging with Sister Laureen Virnig, Oblate Director at Saint Benedict’s Monastery, on how to invite people into the oblate way of life. We are having our first “Come and See” event on Saturday, October 1, at 9:30 a.m., at Saint Benedict’s Monastery in St. Joseph, Minn., on starting a conversation with those that are interested in pursuing becoming an oblate. As a part of this event, I’ve been asked to talk about what why I choose to be an oblate.
I became an oblate when I was a senior at the College of Saint Benedict. I did so because I felt a strong connection to the sisters and I wanted that connection to continue when I was no longer living on campus. I also wanted what they had, and I felt becoming an oblate and living the same values that they lived would help get me there.
I tell people being an oblate is about seeking God in community. It’s about growing closer to Christ by how I engage in what I do each day. One of the ways I do this is by practicing hospitality. Having family and friends to my house, being present with a friend while she tells me about her day, listening to a co-worker share about her daughter’s health issues, making eye contact and greeting the person who holds the cardboard sign on the street corner asking for help are some of the ways I get to practice hospitality.
I’m moving through some difficult spiritual transitions right now. The practice of stability has always been one of the most enduring principles that I practice so “listening carefully … with the ear of my heart” to God and my life has become, at times, a minute by minute practice. This transition has been incredibly painful. I’ve been able to share this and gain perspective from my spiritual advisor and some good friends. I’m not alone in this.
I think that’s also why I chose to and continue to choose to be an oblate. St. Benedict wrote this Rule as “this little … Rule for beginners.” We’re all beginners and we all grow in holiness together by living out this Rule every day and in everything we do.
We invite you to join us at the event at Saint Benedict’s Monastery on Saturday, October 1. The oblate way of life is a deeply nourishing lifestyle. Come, join the conversation. You can also learn more about oblates and the oblate way of life here. You can also contact the Oblate Director, Laureen Virnig, OSB, at firstname.lastname@example.org.