What is a Benedictine Oblate?


What is an Oblate?  An Oblate is a person living in the world who has no vocation for the monastic state but fully appreciates the value of such a life and has a special affection for it.  Desiring to have some kind of union with a Benedictine monastery and to share in its life of prayer, penance and good works, such a person makes an act of oblation and thereby becomes spiritually affiliated to a particular monastery.  They share in the spiritual treasures of the Benedictine Order and promote the good of the monastery to which they are attached in the measure possible for them.

By the act of oblation the Oblate joyfully offers his or her life to God in the spirit of St Benedict and the Holy Rule.  The spirit of the Rule is that of purest Christianity and all its precepts are expressed in the words of holy Scripture – the word of the Lord tracing the path that leads to the possession of the heavenly Kingdom.

There are a variety of ways by which each person pursues holiness, as the 2nd Vatican Council makes clear.  The Oblate follows the way to holiness mapped out by the Holy Rule.  Although it was written for monks, it can be suitably applied by Catholics living in the world who desire to conform their lives as perfectly as possible to the patterns set out by Our Lord in the Gospels.


Who Can Be an Oblate?

St. Benedict delivering his rule to the monks of his order, Monastery of St. Gilles,  Nimes , France, 1129

St. Benedict delivering his rule to the monks of his order, Monastery of St. Gilles, Nimes, France, 1129

St Benedict had a remarkable understanding of human nature, and his Rule is a rule of discretion and moderation.  At the same time he encourages anyone who feels called by God to follow a higher way.

A spiritually-minded person who welcomes the help of some kind of rule of life, and will endeavour to conform themselves to it and so fulfil the duties of their state ever more perfectly, could be a suitable person to take on such obligations.