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Welcome to the Community of Our Lady of Sorrows

“Benedict’s way is the way of Christ, who welcomed without distinction and set before people a vision of what they might become.”   (Elizabeth Canham)

You have discovered the web site of the Oblate community of the Holy Family, a Chapter of the Order of St. Benedict, attached to Christ the Saviour Monastery in upstate New York and under the pastoral care of Christ the King Orthodox Church in Tullytown, PA. In these pages you will find information about Oblate life in general, our Chapter in particular and how you can come to visit or join our Chapter family, should God be calling you to do so.

Oblate Life
Who are Benedictine Oblates?
Oblates of St. Benedict are everyday people with jobs, families, and other responsibilities and come from a variety of faith traditions. They associate themselves with a Benedictine community in order to enrich their Christian way of life. Oblates shape their lives by living the wisdom of Christ as interpreted by St. Benedict. They seek God by striving to become holy in their chosen way of life and, by integrating their prayer and work, manifesting Christ’s presence in today's hectic, changing world. Being an oblate offers a rich spiritual connection to the stability and wisdom of an established monastic community.

Saint Paul tells us that each member of the body of Christ, the Church, has a special function to perform. Most are called to the married state and the raising of a family. Some are called to the single life in the world and others to the life of a priest or religious. The role of Oblates is to live in the world, becoming holy in their life circumstances and to do what they can to bring the world to God by being witnesses of Christ by word and example to those around them.

Oblates concern themselves with striving to be what they are, people of God and temples of the Holy Spirit. Their prayer life will flow from this awareness as will their willingness to offer themselves for the service of God and neighbor to the best of their ability (that is the meaning of the word oblate).  Oblates do not live in a traditional religious community or take vows, but they do make promises.

A Brief History of Oblates
Saint Benedict lived in the sixth century. He came to Rome for his education, but before long he abandoned his studies and lived as a hermit for several years. In time he acquired a reputation for holiness and miracles. Attracting many followers, Benedict established several monastic communities. St. Benedict wrote his Rule roughly between 530 and 540 AD, during the decline of the Roman Empire. Despite the chaos of the invading tribes, St. Benedict produced a classic statement on the monastic life, which combined moderation with fidelity to the best traditions in Christian monasticism. During the following centuries, his monastic way of life spread throughout Europe, and Benedictine monasteries and convents became the principal centers of prayer, culture, and education.

In the course of time, lay people asked to be associated with the work of the monks and nuns, without, however, leaving their homes, families, and occupations. These, too, were received, offered themselves to God, became Oblates of a monastery or convent, and promised to regulate their lives according to the spirit of the Rule of St. Benedict.

Today, throughout the world, there are thousands of Oblates praying and working in spiritual union with Benedictine men and women of various communities and receiving spiritual strength and inspiration from their association as Oblates.

The Rule: A Guide for Oblates
Oblates promise to lead an enriched Christian life according to the gospel as reflected in the Rule of St. Benedict. In this way they share in the spiritual benefits of the sons and daughters of the Benedict who are dedicated to the monastic life by vow. Oblates strive after stability and fidelity in their lives by regular worship with other Christians and by the support they give to the social and educational apostolates of their local parishes as well as that of the Church as a whole.

Oblate Spirituality and the benefits of being an Oblate of Saint Benedict
Benedictine Oblates seek God in association with a monastic community: as individuals and as members of a body (a Chapter), they grow in love of God, neighbor and self. They are persons whose lives are shaped by Benedictine spirituality. They follow the Rule of St. Benedict in their daily lives as far as their way of life permits.

Oblates 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.  Oblates adopt values that are part of the very fabric of Christian spirituality, such as spending time daily reflecting in the Sacred Scriptures, cultivating an awareness of the presence of God in silence, devoting time to the praise of God, performing acts of mortification.

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 us.



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