News and Resources for Oblates
What's New OSB
Mr. Andrew Bourque wrote about "Benedictine Monasticism and the Lay Vocation" as a thesis for the MTS degree from St. Peter’s Seminary, London, Ontario. He generously makes it available at the OSB website both as a MS .doc file (532 KB) and in PDF format (399 KB).
Oblate Spring is a comprehensive website of resources designed by a married Oblate in Florida to "answer your initial questions about oblate monasticism." An especially helpful feature added in January 2010 is the page devoted to Benedictine Oblate Newsletters & Programs. The website is supplemented by The Oblate Blog.
To join the private and unofficial list for the oblates and oblate novices of Saint Meinrad Archabbey, send a message to the moderator, Scott Gregory Knitter, Benedictine Oblate of Saint Meinrad Archabbey, <scottknitter @ gmail.com>.
Website launched May 2006: www.naabod.org/
July 1-6, 2011
The next bi-annual meeting of NAABOD will be hosted by the three Benedictine communities in Indiana and held at St. Meinrad Archabbey. Contact: Sr. Antoinette Purcell OSB at <antoinette_46107 @ yahoo.com>.
Sr. Antoinette Purcell OSB
At the directors' business meeting in 2005, a new format was established for officers, and elections were held for president and vice-president. Because of the small roster of candidates, Sr. Antoinette Purcell OSB, from Our Lady of Grace Monastery in Beech Grove, IN, was acclaimed president; Br. John Peto OSB, from St. Benedict's Abbey in Atchison, KS, was acclaimed vice-president. And Sr. Antoinette named Sr. Bonita Gacnik OSB, from Sacred Heart Monastery in Yankton, SD, executive secretary.
They have 4-year terms, beginning January 2007. At this time, Sr. Jean Frances Dolan OSB ends her term. Sr. Jean Frances is a Benedictine from the Perpetual Adoration community in Clyde, MO, and has been national oblate director since 1999.
Abide: Keeping Vigil with the Word of God by S. Macrina Wiederkehr OSB. ISBN: 978-0-8146-3383-0 (Liturgical Press, Sept. 2011) $15.95.
In these scriptural meditations, the piercing reflective questions and personal prayers lead the reader into a deeper relationship with the Divine. Aware that drawing near the Word of God requires a special kind of presence, the author invites you to breathe in the Word, wait before the Word, walk through the pages of Scripture as a pilgrim, and, finally, abide in an intimate and transforming communion with God.
The Road to Eternal Life: Reflections on the Prologue of Benedict’s Rule by Michael Casey, OCSO (Liturgical Press, September 2011), $19.95 hardcover.
By reflecting on the Prologue one verse at a time, Michael Casey, OCSO, delves into the richness of meaning that can be found in Benedict’s words. These reflections, first given as talks and made available on his community’s web site, build a bridge between the sixth-century text and twenty-first-century Christians. In The Road to Eternal Life, Casey invites readers to reflect on the Prologue in light of their own experiences, to seek "the road that leads to salvation."
Finding Sanctuary: Monastic Steps for Everyday Life by Dom Christopher Jamison OSB, Abbot of Worth Abbey, UK (Liturgical Press, ISBN: 978-0-8146-3168-3, $19.95).
In Finding Sanctuary Abbot Christopher Jamison, host of the BBC television series “The Monastery,” suggests the teachings of St. Benedict are a tool for everyday life -- for those who are religious and for those simply searching for spiritual guidance.
In every generation monastics integrate modern realities and the wisdom of the Rule in a new fusion. That fusion is the spiritual energy enabling monasteries to be places of sanctuary today as they have been for centuries. And that sanctuary can be recreated in the hearts of people of good will. This book explains how St. Benedict's wisdom can be applied to busy modern lives, and how sanctuary, peace, and insight can be achieved by people living inside and outside of monasteries. Visit the Finding Sanctuary website, which offers further steps for finding sanctuary in your life.
Blessings of St. Benedict by John Michael Talbot. ISBN: 978-0-8146-3385-4 (Liturgical Press, Swptember 2011, $15.95).
Blessings of St. Benedict is a devotional that brings the Rule of St. Benedict to all people of every state of life. In these brief and accessible reflections on this ancient monastic rule, John Michael Talbot offers simple and timeless monastic wisdom for everyone.
Day by Day with Saint Benedict by Terrence G. Kardong, OSB (LP, ISBN 978-0-8146-3042-6, $14.95).
Reflecting on years of living the Benedictine life and of scholarly work on the Rule of Saint Benedict, monk and priest Terrence Kardong OSB offers his wisdom in Day by Day with Saint Benedict. These short, daily reflections on quotations from the Rule are accessible to lay people and religious alike and they will help the reader to incorporate Benedictine values in his or her own life.
Perspectives on the Rule of Saint Benedict: Expanding Our Hearts in Christ by Aquinata Böckmann OSB; Matilda Handl OSB and Marianne Burkhard OSB, Translators; Marianne Burkhard OSB, Editor (LP, 2005, $21.95).
The Rule of Saint Benedict has shaped monastic life for centuries. Perspectives on the Rule of Saint Benedict provides a unique guide to the richness of this Rule. Sister Aquinata Böckmann OSB presents an interpretive key for understanding the Rule and appreciating its spiritual and practical values. Presenting a wealth of material, she never loses sight of the Christological center of the Rule or the questions involved in living it in our time, both in monasteries and the world.
Benedict's Rule: A Translation and Commentary. By Terrence G. Kardong, OSB (Liturgical Press, $59.95). The first line-by-line exegesis of the entire Rule of Benedict written originally in English. This full commentary -- predominately a literary and historical criticism -- is based on and includes a new translation, and is accompanied by essays on Benedict's spiritual doctrine.
The Radical Christian Life: A Year with Saint Benedict by Joan Chittister, OSB. ISBN: 978-0-8146-3365-6 (Liturgical Press, September 2011) $15.95.
In this book, The Radical Christian Life: A Year with Saint Benedict, Joan Chittister encourages us to look at that question. In an introductory essay she examines how the insights and values of the sixth-century visionary Saint Benedict can illuminate today’s search for a meaningful life. Then she leads us through the year, reflecting on twelve stories from Benedict’s life, anecdotes that give us glimpses into his soul. More than that, she draws from these stories daily thoughts for the development of our own spiritual lives in this day and age.
Benedict of Nursia: His Message for Today. By Anselm Grün OSB. Linda M. Maloney, tr. Liturgical Press, 2006, $7.95. Each chapter concludes with a brief reflection on the state of contemporary society and how the aspect of the Rule of Benedict treated in the chapter applies to the needs of today.
A Life-Giving Way: a Commentary on the Rule of St. Benedict by Esther de Waal. ISBN: 978-0-8146-2358-9, LP, $19.95.
Esther de Waal comes to the Rule of St. Benedict as a lay woman who has studied the Rule and striven to live it. Benedict has been for her both supportive and challenging, both guide and prophet. His Rule asks not for blind obedience and conformity but for personal responsibility.
Liturgical Press has re-organized its website and online store making access by subjects more user friendly. A category, "Benedictina," brings together titles of interest to Oblates as well as a listing of the many medals of Saint Benedict for sale in a variety of sizes, materials and prices.
Jane Frith OblSB announces the rebirth of the Oblate Forum at <www.oblateforum.org/>. It is managed by a team that includes three other oblates.
Many oblates also participate in Monastic Life, another lively and highly ecumenical Yahoo forum.
Mr. Raymond Calvert announces a Web address for The Oblate Oratory: <groups.yahoo.com/group/oblateoratory/>.
To join the private list for the oblates of Saint John's Abbey send a message to the moderator, Lucie Johnson OblSB <SJAOblatesemail@example.com>.
Associates of Holy Cross (Anglican) <groups.yahoo.com/group/holycrossassociates/>.
Sister Bonita Gacnik OSB, Sacred Heart Monastery, Yankton, South Dakota, has revised the website for the Benedictine Online Oblate Chapter (BOOC) to give laity not near an Abbey an opportunity to study Benedictine spirituality.
Father Hugh Feiss OSB, Monastery of the Ascension, has published numerous books and articles on medieval monasticism and he directs the Benedictine Consortium for Distance Learning, founded in 1994. Recently he compiled a new Manual for Oblates of the monastery.
"Oblates in Western Monasticism" by Derek G. Smith first appeared in Monastic Studies 13 (Autumn 1982). The article, online at the WCCM website, traces the history of oblates from the infant oblates mentioned in Chapter 59 of Saint Benedict's Rule to the re-invigoration of Benedictine Oblates after Vatican II. "The free and supple structure of oblature adapts well to a wide variety of religious temperament and social circumstance. It seems to present marvelous and large opportunities for the life of intensive Christian meditation and prayer; it is a rich inheritor of, and contributor to, the life of evangelical humility and simplicity envisioned by Our Holy Father Benedict, a man of God for all times" (p. 84).
The Benedictine Handbook is a lifelong companion for oblates, associates, and friends of Benedictine communities. Assembled by the monks of Ampleforth Abbey, Yorkshire, the book was published 2003 in the US by Liturgical Press. It is possible to order the 320-page, hardcover book online. Lucie Johnson OblSB reviewed the Handbook in The Oblate 47:5 (Nov/Dec 2003).
Benedict in the World: Portraits of Monastic Oblates, edited by Linda Kulzer OSB and Roberta Bondi OblSB, tells the stories of nineteen Oblates varying greatly in time, place and circumstance. Liturgical Press makes the Contents and "Introduction" by Sr. Linda available online. Oblate Phyllis Thompson spoke briefly about her research for the chapter on "Eric Dean, Presbyterian Pilgrim," at the 2002 ABA Convention in Bismarck, North Dakota.
In 1930 Dom David Knowles OSB (1896-1974), monk of Downside Abbey and, later in life, Regius Professor of History at Cambridge published a popular essay entitled The Benedictines. An abridged version that includes the most important chapters that present the essential characteristics of Benedictine life is available online since the end of May 2002.
An article first published in 1949 traces the origin, history and development of "The Medal of Saint Benedict." The essay was written by Frater Bernardine Patterson OSB, a junior monk of Saint John's Abbey who later became one of the early members of St. Maur Priory, the first bi-racial Benedictine monastery in America, founded in 1947 from Saint John's at South Union, Kentucky. Authentic Medals of Saint Benedict are available from Liturgical Press. Any priest or deacon may bless and exorcise the medal.
Saint John's Abbey, Collegeville, makes available online The Abbey Banner. Edited by Fr. Daniel Durken OSB of Liturgical Press, The Abbey Banner's colorful design and expanded content lend itself to the .pdf format for which an Acrobat Reader is required. The magazine is written for oblates, friends and benefactors.
The OSB Website Store supports the Internet apostolate of Saint John's Abbey. Items for sale (mugs, mouse pad, tote bag, T-shirts, cap, etc.) incorporate the Cross and Medal of Saint Benedict or other Benedictine images. Special items are frequently offered for a limited time. New product designs appear seasonally.
A brief "History of the Oblates of Saint Benedict" is available at the Saint John's Abbey website. It was first published in the Manual for Oblates (Collegeville, 1955).
There is a new website for Camaldolese oblates at <www.camaldolese.com/> and a discussion group, established by a layman, on Camaldolese spirituality; it is very quiet and non-intense: <www.egroups.com/messages/Camaldolese/>.
Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota, offers a new book on Camaldolese spirituality. The Privilege of Love: Camaldolese Benedictine Spirituality (edited by Fr. Peter-Damian Belisle OSB Cam, with an introduction by Michael Downey) features a dozen chapters by Camaldolese monks, nuns, and oblates. Beginning with a general historical overview of Camaldolese history and spirituality (Part I), the book includes three chapters that focus on particularly Benedictine aspects of Camaldolese spirituality (Part II) and seven chapters that center on the uniquely Camaldolese dynamics (Part III), with a "Concluding Remarks" by the Prior General, Emanuele Bargellini OSB Cam.
A small group of Benedictine Oblates and Friends associated with monasteries throughout the US meets in Atlanta on a bi-monthly basis. All interested in Benedictine life are welcome. These social gatherings include Prayer, Discussion about the RULE, materials about formation and refreshments. The next meetings are on Sundays at 2 - 4 p.m. at 1748 Vickers Cir., Decatur, (Near Emory Univ.) Call 678-817-6901 or 404-378-4881 for further information.
The Calendar of Benedictine Feasts and "Prayers for Benedictine Saints and Celebrations" are available online.
"Searching for Christ: The Spirituality of Dorothy Day by Brigid O'Shea Merriman OSF [Notre Dame, 1997] includes a very substantial and documented chapter, 'The Impact of Monasticism,' some 58 pages long, with 150 footnotes. The author traces the many and substantial connections between Dorothy Day (and the Catholic Worker movement) and various abbeys and currents of monastic spirituality--the liturgical, communal, hospitality, etc., etc. It certainly makes evident how Dorothy's oblature was a deep rooted commitment. Peace, Robert Hale, OSB Cam, Incarnation Monastery" (OSB-L, 7 March 2000).
The president and board of The American Benedictine Academy invite oblates to join the Academy. Oblates have actively participated in past conventions, and oblates have served on the ABA Board. For "Reading the Signs of the Times: The Good News of Monastic Life" over half of the pre-convention papers were written by oblates.
The theme for ABA 2008 was "Monastic Spirituality: Expanding Merton's Vision." 2008 saw the fortieth anniversary of Merton's death in Thailand. The convention was held at Mt. Marty College, Yankton, South Dakota. The academy publishes The American Monastic Newsletter that frequently contains items of interest to Oblates.
Terra Sancta Guild <www.terrasancta.com/> produces an enameled oblate pin for sale online at $7.00. S. Frieda Horak OSB <FreidaHorak@juno.com>, of St. Scholastica Monastery in Duluth, Minnesota, has a limited supply of black enameled oblate pins available for sale to oblate directors.
The Monastery of St. Gertrude maintains "Oblate Pages" at the website for this women's community of the Federation of Saint Gertrude in Cottonwood, Idaho.
In November 2010, the Oblates of St. Vincent Archabbey launched a new website at <www.svaoblates.org/>. St. Vincent is the founding abbey of the American-Cassinese Congregation, the largest congregation of Benedictine men in the US. In 1996 St. Vincent's oblates participated in the early days of this website's confection and for many years osb.org hosted their Oblate Newsletter. St. Vincent's recently revised their comprehensive Oblate Formation Booklet, available online at the new website.
Saint John's Abbey's own oblates utilize the OSB website to make more widely available their newsletter, The Oblate.
Holy Wisdom Monastery (formerly Saint Benedict Center), Madison, WI, is promoting a new, residential, ecumenical community for women. The Benedictine Women of Madison also maintain a lively program for oblates. For more information about this unique community, send an e-mail to <firstname.lastname@example.org >.
Douai Abbey in England, like many monasteries around the world, maintains a well-organized oblate program. Check with a monastery near you about opportunities for participation as an oblate. Find Benedictine monasteries anywhere using the "Geographic Database of Monasteries."
Esther de Waal delineates her Anglican perception of the "The Benedictine Charism" as one of the "monastic" laity.
Dom Armand Veillieux OCSO spoke at Sant'Anselmo in Rome about Benedictine Life as School of Communion. It is a comprehensive and insightful reflection on Benedictine life today. On 4 July 1999, Dom Armand spoke to the Associates of the Abbey of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit, Conyers, Georgia, about "The Participation of Lay Faithful in the Cistercian Family." Several Cistercian abbeys support lay associate/oblate programs. Check the websites of individual houses.
Kathleen Norris spent more than a year with Benedictine monks and learned about their philosophy of simple living, inner harmony, and communion with God through reading and prayer. Kathleen's book, The Cloister Walk was published by Putnam (NY, 1996) and is also available in paperback and large type editions. Kathleen returned to Collegeville as a writer-in-residence at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University from 1-14 March 1998. Kathleen was interviewed by U.S. Catholic magazine and she talks about "What I Brought Home from the Cloister."
National Public Radio has made a Real Audio sound file available of its "Talk of the Nation" broadcast on 10 April 1996. The second hour is devoted to "The Contemplative Life." Ray Suarez and author Kathleen Norris discuss her experiences at Saint John's Abbey. She and Ray talk about the lessons for daily living that she derived from her experiences there. Kathleen recently edited The Psalms: The Book of Praises (Riverhead, 1997). Kathleen is an oblate of Assumption Abbey, Richardton, North Dakota.
The Monastic Studies Program in the School of Theology at Saint John's University is open to oblates, monastics, and men and women of any religious tradition. Many oblates regularly participate in The Monastic Institute, an annual Collegeville summer event.
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