In Christian monasticism (especially Catholic, Anglican and Methodist), an oblate is a person who is specifically dedicated to God or to God's service.
Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus is the Christ, whose coming as the messiah was prophesied in the Hebrew Bible, called the Old Testament in Christianity, and chronicled in the New Testament. It is the world's largest religion with about 2.4 billion followers.
Monasticism or monkhood is a religious way of life in which one renounces worldly pursuits to devote oneself fully to spiritual work. Monastic life plays an important role in many Christian churches, especially in the Catholic and Orthodox traditions. Similar forms of religious life also exist in other faiths, most notably in Buddhism, but also in Hinduism and Jainism, although the expressions differ considerably. By contrast, in other religions monasticism is criticized and not practiced, as in Islam and Zoroastrianism, or plays a marginal role, as in Judaism.
Oblates are individuals, either laypersons or clergy, normally living in general society, who, while not professed monks or nuns, have individually affiliated themselves with a monastic community of their choice. They make a formal, private promise (annually renewable or for life, depending on the monastery with which they are affiliated) to follow the Rule of the Order in their private lives as closely as their individual circumstances and prior commitments permit. Such oblates are considered an extended part of the monastic community; for example, Benedictine oblates also often include the post-nominal letters 'OblSB'or 'ObSB' after their names on documents. They are comparable to the tertiaries associated with the various mendicant orders.
In religious organizations, the laity consists of all members who are not part of the clergy, usually including any non-ordained members of religious institutes, e.g. a nun or lay brother.
Clergy are formal leaders within established religions. Their roles and functions vary in different religious traditions, but usually involve presiding over specific rituals and teaching their religion's doctrines and practices. Some of the terms used for individual clergy are clergyman, clergywoman, and churchman. Less common terms are churchwoman and clergyperson, while cleric and clerk in holy orders both have a long history but are rarely used.
A monk is a person who practices religious asceticism by monastic living, either alone or with any number of other monks. A monk may be a person who decides to dedicate his life to serving all other living beings, or to be an ascetic who voluntarily chooses to leave mainstream society and live his or her life in prayer and contemplation. The concept is ancient and can be seen in many religions and in philosophy.
The term "oblate" is also used in the official name of some religious institutes as an indication of their sense of dedication.
A religious institute is a type of institute of consecrated life in the Catholic Church where its members take religious vows and lead a life in community with fellow members. Religious institutes are one of the two types of institutes of consecrated life; the other is that of the secular institute, where its members are "living in the world".
The word oblate (from the Latin oblatus - someone who has been offered) has had various particular uses at different periods in the history of the Christian church.
The children vowed and given by their parents to the monastic life, in houses under the Rule of St. Benedict, were commonly known by this term during the century and a half after its writing, when the custom was in vogue, and the councils of the Church treated them as monks. This practice continued until the Tenth Council of Toledo in 656 forbade their acceptance before the age of ten and granted them free permission to leave the monastery, if they wished, when they reached the age of puberty. The term puer oblatus (used after that Council) labels an oblate who had not yet reached puberty and thus had a future opportunity to leave the monastery,though puer oblatus can also refer to someone entering an abbey. At a later date the term "oblate" designated such lay men or women as were pensioned off by royal and other patrons upon monasteries or benefices, where they lived as in an almshouse or homes.
An ecumenical council is a conference of ecclesiastical dignitaries and theological experts convened to discuss and settle matters of Church doctrine and practice in which those entitled to vote are convoked from the whole world (oikoumene) and which secures the approbation of the whole Church.
The Tenth Council of Toledo was summoned to meet on 1 December 656 by King Reccesuinth. In November 655, the bishops of Carthaginiensis held a provincial synod in Toledo, the Ninth Council of Toledo. They scheduled a second council for 1 November the next year, but a general council was called by the king.
Puberty is the process of physical changes through which a child's body matures into an adult body capable of sexual reproduction. It is initiated by hormonal signals from the brain to the gonads: the ovaries in a girl, the testes in a boy. In response to the signals, the gonads produce hormones that stimulate libido and the growth, function, and transformation of the brain, bones, muscle, blood, skin, hair, breasts, and sex organs. Physical growth—height and weight—accelerates in the first half of puberty and is completed when an adult body has been developed. Until the maturation of their reproductive capabilities, the pre-pubertal physical differences between boys and girls are the external sex organs.
In the 11th century, Abbot William of Hirschau or Hirsau (died 1091), in the old diocese of Spires, introduced two kinds of lay brethren into the monastery:
Speyer is a town in Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany with approximately 50,000 inhabitants. Located on the left bank of the river Rhine, Speyer lies 25 km south of Ludwigshafen and Mannheim, and 21 km south-west of Heidelberg. Founded by the Romans, it is one of Germany's oldest cities. Speyer Cathedral, a number of other churches and the Altpörtel dominate the Speyer landscape. In the cathedral, beneath the high altar, are the tombs of eight Holy Roman Emperors and German kings.
Afterwards, the different status of the lay brother in the several orders of monks, and the ever-varying regulations concerning him introduced by the many reforms, destroyed the distinction between the conversus and the oblatus.
The Cassinese Benedictines, for instance, at first carefully differentiated between conversi, commissi and oblati; the nature of the vows and the forms of the habits were in each case specifically distinct. The conversus, the lay brother properly so called, made solemn vows like the choir monks, and wore the scapular; the commissus made simple vows, and was dressed like a monk, but without the scapular; the oblatus made a vow of obedience to the abbot, gave himself and his goods to the monastery, and wore a sober secular dress.
In the Catholic Church, a choir monk is a monk who is planned to be or already is ordained as a priest. In particular, they are distinguished from the lay brothers, who do not receive holy orders.
The scapular is a Western Christian garment suspended from the shoulders. There are two types of scapular, the monastic and devotional scapular, although both forms may simply be referred to as "scapular". As an object of popular piety, it serves to remind the wearers of their commitment to live a Christian life.
But in 1625, we find the conversus reduced below the status of the commissus, inasmuch as he could make only simple vows for a year at a time; he was in fact indistinguishable, except by his dress, from the oblatus of a former century. Then, in the later Middle Ages, oblatus, confrater, and donatus became interchangeable titles, given to any one who, for his generosity or special service to the monastery, received the privilege of lay membership, with a share in the prayers and good works of the brethren.
Canonically, only two distinctions ever had any consequence:
In modern practice, many Benedictine communities have a greater or smaller number of secular oblates. These are either clergy or laypeople affiliated in prayer with an individual monastery of their choice, who have made a formal private promise (annually renewable or for life) to follow the Rule of St Benedict in their private life at home and at work as closely as their individual circumstances and prior commitments permit.
As the oblate is in an individual relationship with the monastic community and does not form a distinct unit with the Catholic Church, there are no regulations in the modern canon law of the Church regarding them. One consequence is that non-Catholic Christians can be received as oblates of a Catholic monastery.Similarly in Methodist monasteries, non-Methodist Christians can be received as oblates. The same is the case with many Anglican monasteries, which accept non-Anglican Christians as oblates.
There is a small number of conventual or claustral oblates, who reside in a monastic community. If the person has not done so previously, after a year's probation they make a simple commitment of their lives to the monastery, which is received by the superior in the presence of the whole community. More on the level of committed volunteers, they would share in the life of the community and undertake, without remuneration, any work or service required of them. They are not, however, considered monks or nuns themselves. Often they wear a religious habit similar to, but distinct from, that of the monks or nuns. A conventual oblate may cancel this commitment at any time; and it is canceled automatically if the superior sends the oblate away for good reason, after simple consultation with the chapter.
There are several religious orders (i.e., living the consecrated life according to Church Law) that use the word "Oblate" in their name, or in an extended version of their common name. These are not oblates like the oblates (secular) and (regular), and should not be confused with them.
Examples include the:
The Benedictines, officially the Order of Saint Benedict, are a monastic Catholic religious order of monks and nuns that follow the Rule of Saint Benedict. They are also sometimes called the Black Monks, in reference to the colour of the members' religious habits.
The Rule of Saint Benedict is a book of precepts written in 516 by Benedict of Nursia for monks living communally under the authority of an abbot.
A religious order is a lineage of communities and organizations of people who live in some way set apart from society in accordance with their specific religious devotion, usually characterized by the principles of its founder's religious practice. The order is composed of laypeople and, in some orders, clergy. Religious orders exist in many of the world's religions.
Christian monasticism is the devotional practice of individuals who live ascetic and typically cloistered lives that are dedicated to Christian worship. It began to develop early in the history of the Christian Church, modeled upon scriptural examples and ideals, including those in the Old Testament, but not mandated as an institution in the scriptures. It has come to be regulated by religious rules and, in modern times, the Canon law of the respective Christian denominations that have forms of monastic living. Those living the monastic life are known by the generic terms monks (men) and nuns (women). The word monk originated from the Greek μοναχός, itself from μόνος meaning 'alone'.
A lay brother is a member of a religious order, particularly in the Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church, who fulfills a role focused upon manual service and secular matters, and is distinguished from a choir monk or friar whose primary role is to pray in choir. In female religious institutes, the equivalent role is the lay sister. In male religious institutes, lay brothers are additionally distinguished from choir religious in that they do not receive holy orders and are therefore not clerics. Lay brother and lay sisters roles were originally created to allow those who were skilled in particular crafts or did not have the required education to study for holy orders to participate in and contribute to the life of a religious order.
Religious vows are the public vows made by the members of religious communities pertaining to their conduct, practices, and views.
There are a number of Benedictine Anglican religious orders, some of them using the name Order of St. Benedict (OSB). Just like their Roman Catholic counterparts, each abbey / priory / convent is independent of each other. The vows are not made to an order, but to a local incarnation of the order, hence each individual order is free to develop its own character and charism, yet each under a common rule of life after the precepts of St. Benedict. Most of the communities include a confraternity of oblates. The order consists of a number of independent communities:
New Monasticism is a diverse movement, not limited to a specific religious denomination or church and including varying expressions of contemplative life. These include evangelical Christian communities such as "Simple Way Community" and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove's "Rutba House," European and Irish new monastic communities, such as that formed by Bernadette Flanagnal, spiritual communities such as the "Community of the New Monastic Way" founded by feminist contemplative theologian Beverly Lanzetta, and "interspiritual" new monasticism, such as that developed by Rory McEntee and Adam Bucko. These communities expand upon traditional monastic wisdom, translating it into forms that can be lived out in contemporary lives "in the world."
The Order of Saint Benedict is a loose affiliation of monastics of the Orthodox Church who strive to live according to the Rule of St Benedict. The "Order of Saint Benedict" is not an incorporated body. Orthodox Benedictines enjoy good relations with each other, which frequently cross jurisdictional boundaries. "Monastic Orders" are not found in Orthodoxy, so Orthodox Benedictines are often known as "Orthodox Community of Saint Benedict" OCSB-Ro where the "Ro" refers to their lineage from Saint Romould. Their Roman Catholic equivalents are OSB-Cam where the "Cam" refers to their Camaldolese lineage.
Sigebert Buckley was a Benedictine monk in England, who is regarded by the Benedictines and by Ampleforth College in particular as representing the continuity of the community through the English Reformation.
A religious brother is a member of a Christian religious institute or religious order who commits himself to following Christ in consecrated life of the Church, usually by the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. He is a layman, in the sense of not being ordained as a deacon or priest, and usually lives in a religious community and works in a ministry appropriate to his capabilities. A brother might practice any secular occupation. The term "brother" is used as he is expected to be as a brother to others. Brothers are members of a variety of religious communities, which may be contemplative, monastic, or apostolic in character. Some religious institutes are composed only of brothers; others are so-called "mixed" communities that are made up of brothers and clerics.
Anglican Cistercians are members of the Anglican Communion who live a common life together according to the Cistercian tradition. This tradition is usually dated to 1098 in origin. The term Cistercian is derived from Cistercium, the Latin name for the village of Cîteaux, near Dijon in eastern France. It was in this village that a group of Benedictine monks from the monastery of Molesme founded Cîteaux Abbey in 1098, with the goal of following more closely the Rule of Saint Benedict. Monks following this Rule are known as Benedictine, and were at that time the dominant force in Christian monasticism. The monks of Cîteaux Abbey effectively founded a new order, but one that remains closely associated with the Benedictine Order. As a mark of their distinctive charism and rule, Cistercian monks have long worn white habits, to distinguish themselves from Benedictine monks, who wear black habits. Within Anglicanism there has historically been less interest in the Cistercian Order than certain other monastic Rules, although Cistercian life has been represented continuously in the Church of England since at least 1966.
Tokwon Abbey was a Benedictine monastery of the Congregation of Missionary Benedictines of Saint Ottilien, located near the town of Wonsan in what is now North Korea. Founded as a monastic mission in Seoul, the community transferred to Tokwon in the 1920s to take charge of the newly created Apostolic Vicariate of Wonsan. The persecution of Christians in North Korea since 1949 made any church activity in the abbacy impossible. However the Territorial Abbacy of Tokwon is formally still kept as one of the few remaining territorial abbeys within the Catholic Church.
Saint Brigid of Kildare Monastery is a double monastery of The United Methodist Church located in the American city of Saint Joseph, Minnesota. The guiding sources for the monastery include the Holy Bible, the Rule of Saint Benedict, the Benedictine Breviary, and Methodist texts such as The United Methodist Hymnal, The Book of Discipline, and the writings of John Wesley.
Incarnation Conventual Priory, Agbang, Kara, Togo, is a Benedictine monastery of the Congregation of the Missionary Benedictines of Saint Ottilien. Established in 1985 by Frère Boniface Tiguila, the monastery is currently home to 28 monks. Conventual Prior Fr Bernard Anaté is the community's superior.
St Michael's Priory, Kumily, Idukki, Kerala, India, is a Benedictine monastery of the Congregation of the Missionary Benedictines of Saint Ottilien. The monastery was established in 1987 by Zacharias Kuruppacheril, an Indian secular priest. Located on the western slopes of the Cardamom Hills, around 150 km east of Kochi, the monastery is currently home to 13 monks and 6 brothers in formation. Prior Fr.John Kaippallimyalil is the community's superior.
St Benedict's Conventual Priory, Digos, Davao del Sur, Philippines, is a Benedictine monastery of the Congregation of Missionary Benedictines of Saint Ottilien. Established in 1983 at the request of Bishop Generoso Camiña of the Diocese of Digos, the monastery is currently home to 21 monks. Conventual Priory Fr Edgar Friedmann is the community's superior.
St Maurus and St Placidus Abbey, Waegwan, Chilgok, North Gyeongsang, South Korea is a Benedictine monastery of the Congregation of Missionary Benedictines of Saint Ottilien. Established in 1952 by Korean monks who had survived the dissolution of St Benedict's Abbey, Tokwon, and Holy Cross Abbey, Yanji, the monastery is currently home to 131 monks. Abbot Fr Blasio Park is the community's superior.
Our lay members are referred to as Oblates.
Can Persons Other than United Methodists be Oblates of Saint Brigid's Monastery? Monasticism is a way of life in which the desire and search for God is all-important. Its spirituality is a process of transformation into Christ through self-emptying in order to be totally available to God. As such it is not tied to any single Christian denomination or tradition. Since Benedictine monasticism predates the separation of the western Christian churches, monasticism forms an ideal basis for ecumenism in today's world. The main forces transcending all our differences are the love of God, of sacred Scripture, of prayer, and our genuine love and concern for one another. So, yes, all Christians can be Oblates and engage in scripturally based prayer, prayerful reading, contemplative union with God, and the loving gift of self for others. Anyone can practice this way of spirituality that is essentially the same as was taught by Saint Benedict over 1,500 years ago.
The Companions of St. Luke, OSB welcome any Baptized Christian who is a member in good standing within their church community as candidates for Novice-Oblation.