Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Benedictine Oblates

Who Are Benedictine Oblates?
Oblates are Christian laypersons who promise to live Benedictine
spirituality in their chosen lifestyle, affiliated with a particular
Benedictine monastic community.

What Is Benedictine Spirituality?
Teaching found in the Rule of Saint Benedict,
written in the sixth century, is the basis
of Benedictine spirituality. The Rule, which includes many quotes from Scripture, is a guide to lead disciples of Christ to God by way of a specific path that embraces humility, obedience and silence as necessary tools for a balanced life of prayer and work. Respect for all persons and forms of life underlie a special focus on hospitality and service.

Who Is Saint 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.

How Does One Become An Oblate?
There are several stages to becoming an oblate. The first stage is Inquiry. This is a time of being acquainted with the monastic and oblate communities. The best way to get started is to contact the Oblate Director and find out meeting dates and times. The inquirer can request a personal meeting with the Oblate Director. The time of inquiry lasts a minimum of nine months. During this time, the inquirer attends bi-monthly meetings. The Oblate Director engages in discernment with the inquirer to determine readiness to move to the stage of Candidacy.
There is a simple ritual to mark the step of becoming an Oblate Candidate. The Candidacy is also a minimum of nine months that includes monthly meetings. There is assigned reading and reflection in preparation for sessions with other candidates and the Oblate Director. The Oblate Director engages in discernment with the candidate to determine readiness for Oblation.

What Is An Oblate Of Our Lady Of Grace Monastery Expected To Do?

+ Engage in a regular practice of prayer suitable to the oblate's chosen lifestyle
+ Continue ongoing formation in Benedictine spirituality
+ Communicate with other oblates and members of the monastic community
+ Participate in activities of the oblates and the monastic community that are
suitable to the life-style of the oblate
+ Renew commitment of oblation by submitting to the Oblate Director a written statement annually.

What Benefits Does An Oblate Receive?
The community of Our Lady of Grace Monastery provides for the oblate:
+ Hospitality, that is a standing invitation to join the monastic community at prayer and use of space for individual prayer
+ Information about Benedictine history and spirituality through use of the monastic library
+ Ongoing formation as an oblate by gathering with other oblates at the monastery
+ An annual retreat for oblates
+ A prayer partner
+ Pray and Work Days at the monastery
+ Remembrance at the Liturgy of the Hours

Who should you contact if you are interested in becoming an Oblate of St. Benedict?
Sr. Antoinette Purcell, pictured above, is the Oblate Director for Our Lady of Grace Monastery. You can reach her by calling (317) 787-3287 X 3022. You can also email Sr. Antoinette:

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