In May 1998 I became a Benedictine Oblate as a concrete way to affirm the sense in which I consider myself a “Catholic Mennonite.” Benedictine oblates are people who are not monks but who dedicate themselves to the service of God and neighbor according to the Rule of St. Benedict, insofar as their state in life permits. One always makes this commitment in relationship to a specific Benedictine community — in my case Saint John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minn.. Specific practices include lectio divina, praying the Psalms through some portion of the daily liturgy of hours, and working in the world as unto God. Benedictine values are ones my own Mennonite community has shared since its beginnings in the sixteenth-century Anabaptist movement: simplicity, hospitality, and peace.
Members of the Order of St. Benedict have been quite adept at presenting themselves on the web, and so I have no need to duplicate resources available elsewhere. Many of the links below will lead to additional resources. These are here simply to share some of the ones that first helped me explore Benedictine spirituality.
- A 20-Minute Novitiate by Fr. Harry Hagan OSB
- Benedictine Spirituality: An Introduction
- Catholic, Benedictine Values in an Educational Environment,
by John Klassen, OSB; Emmanuel Renner, OSB; and Mary Reuter, OSB
- What is an oblate?
- St. John’s Abbey oblate page
- St. Vincent’s Archabbey oblate page
- Oblate formation booklet
- “Stability in the World: An Oblate’s Reflections” by Gerald W. Schlabach
Other resources and links
- “The Vow of Stability: A Premodern Way through a Hypermodern World,”
by Gerald W. Schlabach (longer version of article above)
- “Learning the Ancient Rhythms of Prayer“, article in Christianity Today by
- Wisdom Distilled from the Daily: Living the Rule of St. Benedict Today by
Joan D. Chittister, OSB — the best book I’ve read yet on Benedictine spirituality