Oblates of Saint Benedict – Good Shepherd Monastery – Starr County, Texas
Prayer, Religious Vocation, Lay Associates, Gospel of Life Work, Catholic Radio Ministry, Retreats
Who are the Oblates?
Benedictine Oblates are lay persons who wish to incorporate Benedictine values in their own lives. They share in the graces God generously gives to our order. We initiated the formation of oblates in 1997 and to date have been blessed with more than 60 lay associates of our monastery. One of the values that they aspire to is the deepening of their prayer life through meditation on the Word of God with the desire to live it fully and faithfully.
A recent activity among the oblates has been studying and reflecting on the words of our late, great Pope John Paul II in the Gospel of Life where he exhorts us to transform our culture into a “civilization of love.” His words have resonated deep in our hearts and this has brought about a great desire to impact our society with Gospel values concerning the sanctity of human life, from natural conception to natural death.
Oblates also keep in touch with our community in Starr County. They have helped construct our adoration chapel and monastic residence, alongside becoming involved in our pro-life apostolate.
Becoming an oblate involves a year of formation where candidates study and reflect on the Rule of St. Benedict. Candidates are gradually incorporated into the community and then make a final oblation during the annual oblate retreat. Oblate formation can be done in either Spanish or English.
Are you drawn to the Benedictine values of hospitality, prayer and a zeal for the Gospel of Life Work?
Maybe the Oblates are right for you. An oblate is someone who wants to practice what St. Benedict taught. Although his Rule ware written for monks, its Christian principals can be applied by everyone else. An Oblate of St. Benedict is associates with a particular Benedictine community.
Oblates are encouraged (but are not morally bound) to pray at least part of the Liturgy of the Hours in union with the Benedictine Sisters. What St. Benedict wants us to read daily and faithfully is sacred scripture (Lectio Divina). Oblates, of course work in their own homes or in the business world, but wherever we work and whatever kind of work we do, St. Benedict teaches us about the dignity of labor.
Video by Oblate Corina Vela
A Benedictine Oblate…
- Integrates prayer and work to represent Christ in society
- Shapes his/her life by living according to the Rule of Saint Benedict
- Acts as a witness of Christ by work and example to those around him
- Enriches his/her Christian life through study
- Lives and works in the mainstream of society
- Prays as his/her calling in life permits
- Lives with family members or singly
- Offers oblation of self to God
- Monthly oblate gatherings are designed for community, study, prayer and Christian support
- Annual oblate retreat: An opportunity to get away and refocus on your oblate commitment. It is during this retreat that new oblates are welcomed into the community and current oblates renw their oblation
- Sharing our joys and sorrows
- Assist with the annual Paisano Festival
- Build our faith community. Culture of Life Apostolate, relationship with the Lord, and transformation into Christ
After the meeting, should you find a desire to go deeper into the Benedictine Spirituality and way of life, you can begin a year of formation-building community through studying, praying and sharing a meal each month. Affiliation with our Benedictine community “officially” begins when a copy of The Holy Rule to study is presented. A year after the monthly gatherings take place, the candidate will join a deanery which consists of persons who have already made their oblation. After these two years of discernment (one of study with the initial group of beginners) the person is welcome to make his/her oblation which is an offering of self to God, a renewal of one’s Baptismal vows. Oblates do not take upon themselves any of the canonical obligation that monks and nuns do. Oblates do not profess vows. Nevertheless, becoming an oblate is something that should not be done without serious consideration. This is why two years of discernment is offered to each individual. The person is welcome to make his/her oblation in the Fall.
If you are interested in becoming an oblate of our community, please feel welcome to contact us.