The following points have been culled from past meetings of directors of oblates to aid directors in developing a spirit that is specific to the life of a Benedictine oblate.
- Oblates of St. Benedict are Christian men and women, young and old, married and single, who seek to enrich their Christian way of life by living according to the spirit of St. Benedict as expressed in his Holy Rule. Though living in the world, they affiliate themselves with Benedictine abbeys and convents and share in the spirit of the community and in their life of prayer.
- Though oblates commit themselves to live in the spirit of the Rule of St. Benedict and the directives for oblates of their specific community, their status is not to be confused with that of “secular orders,” which are canonically structured with a specific rule and with profession according to that rule after regular periods of formation.
- Though oblates belong to specific Benedictine communities, juridically they are not considered members of the monastic order. (In keeping with this same spirit, no encouragement should be given for oblates to wear any semblance of monastic garb.) Oblates are associated with monastic communities in a bond of prayer, love and commitment only.
- Oblates are associated with one particular community of Benedictine women or men and seek to incorporate Benedictine values into their everyday life. Thus oblates can be seen as extending the spirit of the monastic community into areas where the community cannot reach or be present. Oblate life is distinct from the various other groups within the Church, such as Marriage Encounter, Cursillo, Charismatic Renewal, etc., and is a true vocation of the Church.
- Oblates of most communities make voluntary donations. Oblates have no dues for membership and are not considered a source of financial support to the community.
The Value of Oblates to a Monastic Community
- Oblates bring a spiritual strength.
- Oblates serve as a link between the community and parishes.
- Oblates and the community provide mutual affirmation of the commitment to the Benedictine way of life.
- The community is enriched by the interaction with oblates.
- Oblates bring culture and insights (and expertise in many areas) to the community.
- Oblates remind the community of its goodness and uniqueness and pray for new vocations to the community.
- The witness of the oblates living Benedictine charisms in the secular world strengthens community members’ love and appreciation for the Benedictine way of life.