On the feast of Saint Benedict, March 21, 2013, the monks of Saint Leo Abbey will renew their vows. Also on March 21, ceremonies will be held for those lay men and women wanting to become Oblate novices and those making their final oblations as Oblates of Saint Leo Abbey.
Saint Leo Abbey is located in Saint Leo Florida — about 45 minutes north of Tampa.
Saint Leo Abbey is a Catholic Benedictine monastery founded in 1889.
Many Catholic Benedictine monasteries have Oblates, but there are only about 25,000 Oblates in the world, with about 10,000 in the United States.
Oblate novices begin at least a year of study and preparation to discern if the Oblate life is for them.
Those making their final oblations are lay men and women who have spent at least a year of attending monthly sessions at Saint Leo Abbey, learning about Benedictine spirituality — such as lectio divina — and following the Rule of Saint Benedict as their state in life allows.
Oblates make a life-long commitment to one Benedictine monastery. Oblates are "admitted into spiritual union and affiliation with a Benedictine community of monks or sisters, so that they may share in the spiritual life, prayers, and good works of the community." Oblates are not required to be Catholic.
Oblates are contemplatives and seek God.
Benedictine monks preserved ancient texts and helped form western civilization after the collapse of the Roman Empire in the west.
There is a strong tradition of work in the Benedictine charism which makes it a good pattern for Oblates as "regular people" who work full time, but who want to a fuller spirituality. Oblates desire a single life dedicated to God -- not a life of work and a separate life of spirituality.
It was in the chaos and fall of the Roman civilization that Saint Benedict wrote his famous Rule for monks.
Most European cities grew up around Benedictine monasteries. Modern life has many similarities to the times of Saint Benedict and hence Benedict's appeal to Oblates.
Oblates follow an ancient path of Christian living where prayer and seeking God is its purpose.
A few more Oblates will join the 1,500 year-old traditions of Saint Benedict at Saint Leo Abbey on March 21.
Don’t know about Saint Leo Abbey, here is the Examiner article on Seven things Floridians should know about Saint Leo Abbey (Photos).
For more Examiner.com information:
Religion 101: What is St. Leo Abbey in Pasco County, Florida?
Religion 101: How many Benedictines are there in the world?
Religion 101: Mysticism is not a bad word in the Catholic Church
Religion 101: Ancient monastic authors
Religion 101: Why become an oblate?
Religion 101: Example of a Benedictine divine office
Religion 101: First Benedictine book to read — two recommendations
Religion 101: What is a Benedictine oblate?
Religion 101: Overview of Benedictine spirituality