A Benedictine Oblate is a man or women from any Christian background who makes a promise to a monastery to live a spiritual life patterned after the Rule of Saint Benedict in so far as his or her life permits. Male monasteries often have men and women Oblates.
Oblates do not live at the monastery. Oblates wear regular clothes and often have a spouse and a job.
Oblates do not take vows. An Oblate makes a promise, not a vow. Vows are made by those who become monks (brothers) or sisters (and nuns).
Oblates are "admitted into spiritual union and affiliation with a Benedictine community of monks or sisters so they may share in the spiritual life, prayers, and good works of the monastic community."
Saint Leo Abbey has had an Oblate program for many years, perhaps over a 100 years.
There are about 25,000 Oblates in the world, and about 10,000 in the USA. Benedictine spirituality is one of many charisms in the Church — there is no "right" group for everyone.
One thing that best characterizes Benedictine Oblates is that we seek God.
Today's Oblates try to live according to those earliest patterns of simplicity unburdened by the world.
Oblates pray without ceasing, striving for purity of heart leading to a transforming union with God.
Most Saint Leo Abbey Oblates trace their path back to a first visit to the abbey when they walked the grounds and sat in the quiet Church. Many are drawn by the spirit of the abbey.
Future Oblates often attend the monks' divine office prayers. Oblates like the pattern of consecrating the day with the monastic prayer schedule, but few Oblates are able to pray the entire divine office at home. We pray as we are able. As one person said, we pray as we can, not as we can't.
At some point, a person will learn about the Oblate Chapter at the abbey and attend an Oblate Sunday as a welcomed visitor. Everyone is always welcome to attend as a guest. There is no obligation in attending.
Benedictines seek God and quietly consecrate their time on earth to the Lord.
In the Benedictine sense Oblates are only those people who fulfill the novice year of attending all the novice classes and making the oblation promise at the altar of the Saint Leo Abbey church. But on this web site the term Oblate most often refers to anyone who is an Oblate, a novice, guest, or visitor, anyone who comes.
For example, there's an annual Oblate Retreat each year, are you able to attend even though you may not be an Oblate at Saint Leo Abbey? Yes.