Oblates are Christian women and men who follow the
Rule of Benedict in their lifestyle
Who is St. Benedict
Benedict of Nursia, Italy was born about 480 and died about 547. He founded several monastic communities, most notably at Subiaco and Monte Cassino, Italy. From there the Rule attributed to him spread throughout the world and is still lived today by monastic women, men and oblates.
The Rule of Benedict
contains 73 Chapters written for those who desire to live in community under a rule and abbot or prioress;
it is about the size of the Gospel of Matthew;
its spiritual foundation is humility, obedience, silence, prayer, work, hospitality and reverence;
the focus is on seeking God by following Christ;
Benedict presents Scripture as a personal address to the hearer; and portrays God speaking to us in a vital and immediate way;
572 citations or allusions to Scripture are included in the Rule.
What are Oblates
The word oblate is derived from the Latin word oblatus that means someone who is offered up or dedicated to something. Early in the sixth century, when St. Benedict wrote his Rule and gathered disciples into small communities called monasteries, parents brought their sons as oblates or gifts of God to the monks. Over the centuries, adults outside the monasteries of both men and women wanted to be affiliated in some way with the prayer and works of the monks and nuns. It was found that Benedict’s Rule could be adapted to family, work, social, and civic settings.
Becoming an Oblate
There are several stages to becoming an oblate. First stage is called "Inquiry," a minimum of a year getting acquainted with the oblates and sisters of Our Lady of Grace Monastery. The Inquirer attends open meetings of shared Lectio on the Rule of Benedict.
Second stage is marked by a Ritual of Acceptance to become a candidate for oblation. The Candidate attends open meetings of shared Lectio plus special group sessions based on personal study and reflection of the Rule of Benedict.
Third stage is marked by a Ritual of Oblation which takes place during Evening Prayer with the monastic community. The candidate who has completed preparation makes oblation, offering self to God and promising to live Benedictine spirituality as a way of life.
Fourth stage is Ongoing Formation when oblates continue to engage in prayer and study of Benedictine spirituality; and annually renews her/his oblation.