Oblates of Saint Benedict
Saint Benedict lived in
Italy in the sixth century. It is said that early in life he
abandoned formal education and a possible secular career and chose
to seek God alone. As a hermit, Benedict became well known
for his holiness of life and the signs he performed. As his
reputation grew, he gathered his followers into monastic
communities and wrote a “rule of life” for them. These
Benedictine communities strove to be “schools of the Lord’s
service”, places where charity and communion with God was learned
and put into practice. With this vision at heart, the
Benedictine vocation spread throughout Europe and monasteries
became centers of prayer, culture and education.
For centuries lay men and women have also offered themselves to
God (in Latin, “oblatio”, that is, “offering”) as oblates of
particular Benedictine monasteries. While remaining “in the
world“, they have become witnesses to Christ as they follow
their own regimen of prayer and work in the spirit of St.
Benedict. Growing in the awareness of God in their daily
lives, oblates offer themselves for the service of God and
neighbor. And the formal bond of prayer, study and good
works between oblates and monastic communities helps both to live
holy lives, according to their own vocation.
What are the benefits of being an
Oblate of Saint Benedict?
Oblates of Saint Benedict are able to enrich their Christian way
of life by following the wisdom and example of Saint
Benedict. His spirituality reflects gospel values such as
stability and fidelity, humility and conversion, obedience and a
reverence for all human persons. As one who sought peace in
a world of conflict, community in a place of isolation, and God in
a time of empty ambitions, Saint Benedict still has much to say to
Through the Oblate program here at Saint Benedict Monastery, we
hope to foster the Christian spirit in all our members.
Saint Benedict teaches his followers to practice Christian values
more profoundly by dedicating themselves in a meaningful way to
regular prayer and acts of charity. Regular contact through
meetings and newsletters, group liturgical prayer and a variety of
talks and discussions on Benedictine spirituality help oblates to
find spiritual strength and communion in their association with
one another and with our monastic community.
How does one become an Oblate?
Christians of all traditions - not just Catholics - may become
Benedictine Oblates. An oblate must simply desire to learn
about and follow the Benedictine way. He or she does do not
make public religious vows as monks do, but the oblate’s
association with the monastery is recognized by the Church.
Those wishing to join are formally enrolled as “oblate novices”
for a period of one year. During this time of formation they
are introduced to the Rule of Saint Benedict and the important
elements of his spirituality so that they can understand how
Benedictine values are experienced and expressed in their daily
Upon mutual agreement with the Director of Oblates, an oblate may
make his or her “oblation” which takes place in a ceremony which
borrows elements from the monastic profession of vows. This
is a commitment to live in the spirit of Saint Benedict, his Rule
and the directives of the oblate program. One may remain an
Oblate of Saint Benedict Monastery for life. The oblation is
renewed each year and there are no formal dues for
membership. Once oblates have been formally accepted they
keep the spirit of Saint Benedict in their lives by maintaining a
connection with the monastery and fellow oblates, and by regular
prayer, study and acts of charity in accord with the promises of
their oblation and their state in life.
For further information:
The Oblates of Saint Benedict Monastery, Oxford, Michigan are
being newly established this year. If you reside in or near
Southeast Michigan, we welcome your inquiries about our
group. Please contact the Director of Oblates:
Fr. John Martin Shimkus, O.S.B.
St. Benedict Monastery
2711 Drahner Rd.
Oxford, MI 48370-2815