Benedictine Oblates of Mount Angel Abbey
Formed by the Benedictine monastic tradition, oblates of Mount Angel Abbey seek God in Christian discipleship in the world. By obedience to Catholic teaching, faithfulness to liturgical prayer and continual conversion of life according to the Holy Rule of Saint Benedict, oblates seek union with God and growth in charity toward one’s neighbor. This work is undertaken in spiritual communion with the monks of Mount Angel Abbey with the desire that in all things God may be glorified, and that together we may come to life everlasting.
What is an Oblate of Saint Benedict?
Oblates of Saint Benedict are Christians who have experienced in some way a call to embrace Benedictine spirituality. After a time of prayer and discernment they have desired a more formal, permanent commitment to a monastic community. By making this formal self-giving to Christ in communion with a monastic community, the oblate embraces the time-tested traditions and values of the Benedictine way. Oblates are united to the prayer and good works of the monastery to which they are associated while they continue to live out their Christian vocation in the world.
Oblate Retreats at the Guesthouse
Benedictine Oblate retreats are intended specifically for oblates interested in deepening their Christian lives through the spirituality of the Benedictine tradition.
For the majority of the retreats that begin on Friday evenings, retreatants arrive in time for vespers and Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament in the Abbey church: these begin at 5:15 pm. Dinner follows, then compline (also in the Abbey church). A welcome and first conference are given after compline to open the retreat. The retreat follows the monastic horarium (schedule), with retreatants joining the monks for Holy Mass and the Divine Office. Meals are silent, served buffet or family style in the retreat house dining room, accompanied by spiritual reading.
Silence ends with breakfast on Sunday. Many retreats will include the ceremony of Final Oblation that takes place at the monastic community’s Sunday celebration of the Holy Eucharist. A light reception is held afterward, followed by the final of four spiritual conferences. Before this final presentation, those wishing to begin the process of becoming a Benedictine Oblate of Mount Angel Abbey can do so by participating in the induction of oblate novices, where they will receive their own copy of the Holy Rule of Saint Benedict and receive a blessing. The retreats conclude with the noon meal, at which retreatants have an opportunity to visit with one another, and make plans for their next visit to the monastery.
The oblate council is dedicated to promoting the mission of the oblates of Mount Angel Abbey. This is done by discerning the call and direction of the Holy Spirit regarding the oblate association, advising the Abbot and Director of Oblates, and supporting oblate group leaders and all oblates.
Mount Angel Abbey is blessed to have over 600 oblates in spiritual association with its monks. These men and women live in many different states and provinces, and all find a spiritual home at Mount Angel Abbey. Those who live near the Abbey can join the monks in person for prayer and work quite often. Those far away from the Abbey usually enjoy a visit about once or twice per year. Whether near or far, all are in communion with one another and with the monks in the monastery through the spiritual bonds of monastic oblation.
This spiritual association or communion is confirmed and enhanced when oblates gather together for prayer, work, study and fellowship in small groups away from the Abbey. Group participation is optional, but it is an opportunity provided to oblates through the enthusiasm and efforts of their fellow oblates. Some groups meet in order to study the Holy Rule or to share a time of prayer. Other groups will meet to enjoy a good meal and conclude their gathering with the part of the Divine Office appropriate to the time of day. Each group has its own character, and is facilitated by a “group leader” who dedicates his/her time and talents to this good work. There can be an “oblate group” wherever there are two or more oblates who would like to come together for this purpose. If you are in one of the areas which has an oblate group, please feel free to contact its facilitator. If you would like to participate in an existing group, or even begin a new one in your area, please contact the Director of Oblates for more information.