Oblates of St. Benedict are Christian men and women who choose to associate themselves with a Benedictine religious community in order to strengthen their baptismal commitment and enrich their Christian way of life.
The life of any Christian is a self-offering to God in gratitude and in loving response to the God who has first so lovingly and graciously offered Himself to us in Jesus Christ.
“Oblation” means offering. Oblates seek to offer themselves more fully to Christ and to the Church by pondering the wisdom found in the Rule of St. Benedict and by entering into fellowship with this community at Subiaco. By these means Oblates discover ever anew that God calls us to holiness of life and that the Rule and the Benedictine community can be instruments of God’s grace in their vocation to become holy in the world.
Oblates do not take vows or live in a monastery. They continue to live in the world while they strive eagerly to live out the values of the Gospel. On the other hand, they do make promises to seek God more intensely through the principles of the Rule of St. Benedict and in partnership with the monks of the Benedictine community with which they are affiliated at Subiaco.
Oblates may be single lay people, married lay people, or secular clergy. Whatever their state in life, Oblates have discerned a call to deepen their Christian commitment through association with a Benedictine religious community. In their promise to live according to the spirit of the Rule, they commit themselves to seek God above all things and to prefer Christ to all else in the ordinary circumstances of their lives. This commitment is meant not only to enhance their personal spirituality but also to help them become better witnesses of Christ by word and example, just as it is the role of vowed religious to give witness to Christian values that the secular world tends to ignore or reject.
Unlike members of third orders, Oblates do not adhere to a distinct rule of their own, nor are they bound to a specific set of religious practices. They do, however, promise to “dedicate [themselves] to the service of God and neighbor according to the Rule of St. Benedict, insofar as [their] state in life permits”(Oblation ceremony ).
This promise does involve a personal commitment to nurture the specific values contained in the Rule and to make some time in one’s schedule for the Liturgy of the Hours and the holy reading of Scripture.
The Oblates at Subiaco have weekend retreats in April and September each year.
For more information about becoming an Oblate of St. Benedict at Subiaco Abbey or attending an Oblate retreat, please feel free to contact me. You can also find more information on the drop-down menu above which explains in more detail our Oblate program at Subiaco Abbey.
Fr. Mark Stengel, O.S.B.