How to Become an Oblate of Saint Benedict
Christian men and women are attracted to the Oblate Program because they are seeking God in Jesus Christ and have begun to find Him. They hope to intensify their journey of faith through affiliation with Saint Vincent Archabbey and through commitment to the Christian values manifested by the monastic community and its Oblates.
A person who discerns God's call to such affiliation should inquire of the Director of Oblates or of a local Benedictine moderator or lay leader at one of the Oblate deaneries (Albion, PA; Annville, PA; Baltimore, MD; Butler, PA; Carrolltown, PA; Chincoteague,VA; Johnstown, PA; Latrobe, PA; Minersville, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; St. Marys, PA; Savannah, GA; Scranton, PA; Southern Pines, NC; State College, PA; Williamsport, PA; Virginia Beach, VA; Niagara Area, Ontario, Canada).
After further reflection and the completion of a simple application form, the person may be invested as an Oblate novice in a ceremony with the Director of Oblates or another Benedictine monk as officiant. (Those who cannot travel to a location where a Benedictine can invest them may obtain permission to be received by a Catholic priest or permanent deacon in their local parish.) The time of Oblate novitiate is a period of a year or more of intensive reflection on the Rule of Saint Benedict and of efforts to live out Benedictine values. The Oblate novice must also fulfill a few minimal requirements in order to be ready for full Oblation (see the Oblate Formation Booklet).
If after this period the Oblate novice discerns a call to make a lifelong commitment as a full Oblate of Saint Benedict, he or she may seek to make the Act of Oblation with the permission of the Director of Oblates or local moderator. A form indicating the person's readiness for Oblation must be completed and sent to the Director of Oblates. At the ceremony of Oblation the new Oblate recites the Act of Oblation and signs the certificate on which it is written. At that time the person may also take on an "Oblate name." A copy of the certificate is kept by the Oblate, and a duplicate copy is deposited in the Archives of the Archabbey.
Full Oblates are committed to ongoing conversion of life and to those practices that will dispose them to accept the Lord's continual invitations to fuller life in Christ. The way of life as set down by Saint Benedict in his Rule offers a set of Christian ideals which are sufficiently flexible, adaptable, and moderate so that no one need be dismayed or discouraged at failure to achieve the heights of holiness all at once.
Saint Benedict makes room for many different levels of spiritual progress when he states: "[Let the abbot] so moderate all things that there be something for the strong to strive after and nothing to dishearten the weak" (RB 64:19). If you are interested in this way of life, you are welcome to contact us.