Dorothy Day was an Oblate of St. Benedict. So was the French poet and playwright, Paul Claudel. The German commander at the Battle of Monte Cassino during World War II was an oblate. And so were St. Thomas More and St. Thomas Becket. And Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia, the first woman in Europe to be granted a Ph.D.
But one needn't be well-known to become an Oblate of St. Benedict. Many men and women who will never have any claim to fame have been and are oblates. Most oblates are ordinary lay people. But diocesan clergy may also adapt The Rule of St. Benedict to their way of life. An oblate is someone who wants to practice what St. Benedict taught. Although his Rule was written for monks, its Christian principles can be applied by everyone else. An Oblate of St. Benedict is associated with a particular Benedictine community.
The Oblate Director keeps in touch with oblates by sending them instructional letters and by meetings at the monastery. Ideally, one might like to live close enough to the monastery to be able to attend meetings. This is not necessary, however. What is more important is for one to live in the spirit of St. Benedict. Oblates are encouraged (but are not morally bound) to pray at least part of the Divine Office in union with the monks or nuns of the communities with which they are affiliated.
What St. Benedict wants us to read most faithfully is sacred scripture. Followers of St. Benedict reflect upon the scriptures frequently. Oblates, of course, work in their own homes or in the business world, but wherever we work and whatever kind of work we do, St. Benedict teaches us about the dignity of labor. A person's affiliation with a Benedictine community begins when he or she is given a copy of The Holy Rule to study and a medal of St. Benedict. A year after this ceremony takes place, oblation is made. Oblates do not take upon themselves any of the canonical obligations that monks and nuns do. Oblates do not profess vows. Nevertheless, becoming an oblate is something that should not be done without serious consideration. This is why a whole year passes before the ceremony of oblation occurs. If you are interested in becoming an oblate of our community, contact:
Fr. Paul Paproski OSB
Fr. Demetrius Wasylyniuk OSB
Associate Oblate Director
St. Peter's Abbey
Muenster SK S0K 2Y0