Sunday, October 26, 2008

What is community?

This weekend we celebrated the 20 year anniversary of our oblate program. Twenty years ago the sisters decided to begin an “extended members” program for men and women who wanted to be associated with the monastery. From the original “eager eight” members we now have 65 active oblates. These are men and women, married and single, Catholic and Protestant, who are strongly committed to sharing the values and mission of the Monastery of St. Gertrude.

Most importantly they have become an integral part of the monastery, of our community. When they gather they share stories of how Benedictine values shape their lives, in their families, in their work, in their prayer, in all aspects of life. And here at the monastery we rely on them to continue our mission. They help on committees, they work as volunteers in the monastery, they are our public presence in “the world” and spread the Good News of Benedictine life.

The shape and form of the Benedictine monastic life has always been changing and evolving over the last 1500 years since Benedict wrote his Rule. The way people live out monastic life and values has always been changing. Today we are seeing a new wave of renewal, new ways to live out the monastic ideal of living the Gospel, of seeking God in everyday life. Our oblates are on the forefront of new ways to live out the values of our monastery and together we are one monastic community, and we are deeply grateful for these committed women and men.

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