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Erie Benedictine Oblates

A monastic presence for today's world

Erie Benedictine Oblates

Who are we?
Oblates are women and men who are called to embrace and live a Benedictine spirituality in association with the Benedictine Sisters of Erie. Oblate life is formed and lived in community with other sisters and oblates as, together, we seek God. Oblates live within the communities of the family, the neighborhood, and the workplace. They bring a Benedictine presence beyond the walls of the monastery to their place in the world.

The word ‘oblate’ means ‘offering’. Oblates offer themselves to God and to their communities as beautiful Benedictine gifts. Do you desire to:

  • Deepen your relationship with God, with others and with all of creation?
  • Ground your spirituality in values such as simplicity, community, hospitality, justice, peace, stewardship, and love?
  • Enter into a distinct relationship with other seekers who wish to be sustained by those on a similar path?

Oblates have discovered that God’s call to daily conversion is facilitated by a Benedictine spirituality.

Rule of Benedict by Joan Chittister

Our compass: The Rule of Benedict
This 6th century document, written by Saint Benedict of Nursia, has guided, inspired, and sustained seekers for centuries. This “rule for beginners” is a living document that has been interpreted and adapted in every age while retaining an emphasis on the Scriptures and on its core principles of prayer, community, relationships, stewardship, hospitality, life balance, and stability. Benedict lived in times much like our own where the institutions of church and state were struggling and in need of reform. There was vast economic inequality, corruption, and violence. Desiring more, Benedict initially sought the solitude of the desert and began his monastic life as a hermit. In time, however, he came to see the limits and spiritual dangers of a solitary life. The Rule of Benedict is a call to a life of seeking God in community with others. Benedict, a layman, wrote the Rule for other lay people - seekers who wanted more. Oblates read an excerpt and commentary from the Rule of Benedict daily. The daily excerpt is available here.

Our Tools: Prayer, Scripture, Lectio 
Benedictines are formed and sustained with daily practices of prayer, reading of the scriptures, and Lectio. The Rule instructs a spirit of moderation and balance. Monastics are not engaged in harsh or aesthetic practices and are ensured their needs are met. Oblates, as well as their sisters in community, are called to live simply. Guided by the wisdom of the Rule, oblates structure their days to allow for a balance of practices designed to promote the growth and development of the monastic. Prayer, lectio divina, work, study, family/community and leisure are all avenues for growth and ways of seeking God. Oblates ensure that their day has a balanced measure of each.

Our Place: Community
Relationships are at the heart of a Benedictine spirituality: one’s relationship with God, with others, and with all of creation. Benedictines believe that the community - a monastery, a family, a parish, etc. - is where we meet God and discover the fullness of life. It is the laboratory wherein we learn to grow into the loving person God calls us to be. The community is where we pray together, listen to one another, and serve each other as needed. These elements of prayer, listening, and service form the monastic heart.

To learn about the process for becoming an oblate, click here.

Prioress Stephanie Schmidt welcomes oblates

Mary Novak, Executive Director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, addresses oblates and sisters at the 2023 Benedictine Community Weekend.