What is an Oblate?
Vowed membership is not the only way to formally affiliate oneself with a Benedictine community. At Queen of Angels and many other monasteries, lay men and women 18 or older may become Oblates. Oblates continue to live and work in their own home community, but essentially become "lay members" of a particular Benedictine community and promise to share the Benedictine way of life.
The Benedictine Sisters of Mt. Angel have accepted Oblates since 1975. They offer an active program that will enrich and deepen the spirituality of the Oblates who consider the Monastery to be their spiritual home and the Sisters their spiritual companions.
Why would someone become an Oblate?
- To receive spiritual strength and inspiration from the Benedictine community and way of life;
- To carry monastic values into the world by the teachings of St. Benedict in daily life;
- To seek God daily through study, prayer, and conversion of life;
- To develop a love and reverence for lectio divina (Scriptural reflection and prayer);
- To become part of a spiritual community of believers.
The Spiritual Life of an Oblate
The term “Oblate” means “an offering of oneself” and the practice of associating with a Benedictine monastery dates back to at least the 9th century. Oblates seek God daily through study, prayer, conversion of life, and works of charity, justice and peace.
They attend regular Oblate gatherings at Queen of Angels and join the Sisters for Liturgy of the Hours and Eucharistic celebrations.
Through their study of the Rule of Benedict and their practice of lectio divina (prayerful reflection on the Word of God in Scripture and other spiritual texts), Oblates receive spiritual strength and inspiration.
Becoming an Oblate
Those interested in becoming an Oblate should contact the Director of Oblates at Queen of Angels Monastery. Over a period of time, the Oblate candidate comes to know the Sisters and discerns his or her call to being an Oblate. After a period of preparation, the candidate makes a formal promise – Act of Oblation – to share the Benedictine way of life and monastic values.
The commitment is not binding in the same way that religious vows are, but it brings the Oblate into the Sisters’ family and engages him or her fully in the prayer, work and spiritual life of the community.
Inquirer Stage: The first stage in the process of becoming a Benedictine Oblate is a time of inquiry. Its purpose is to help one become familiar with the Rule of St. Benedict under the guidance of the Director of Oblates, with the support of the Benedictine Sisters and the Oblate community. It is a time of discernment as one explores at a profound level one's interest in the Benedictine life. This stage generally takes one year.
Candidate Stage: The Inquirer becomes a Candidate in the Oblate community after completion of the Inquiry Stage. The focus of this stage is on deep prayer practice (as one's life circumstances allow) and deepening awareness of Benedictine Spirituality through reading, participation at meetings, and study of the Rule of St. Benedict. The Candidate Stage generally takes one year also.
Benedictine Oblate: After successful completion of the Candidacy stage, one may request acceptance as a full Oblate. If one chooses oblation, the Oblate promises in a ceremony before the Prioress of the Monastery and the Benedictine Sisters, Oblates, family, and friends to live according to Benedictine spirituality in affiliation with the Queen of Angels Monastery. The oblation and its promise is not a vow, but is a free gift of oneself to God.
Oblate Meeting Dates:
Sept. 22, 2013
Oct. 20, 2013 (Oblate retreat is October 18 - 20)
Nov. 17, 2013
Dec. 15, 2013
Jan. 19, 2014
Feb. 16, 2014
March 16, 2014
Apr. 20, 2014
May 18, 2014
All meeting dates begin at 1:00 PM and all meeting dates are subject to change.
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