The Benedictine Circle was formed to allow oblates of Saint Leo Abbey and those interested in Benedictine spirituality and contemplation more frequent opportunities to meet at Saint Leo Abbey for a time of prayer with the monks and discussion of Benedictine topics.
In the past, the Benedictine Circle has discussed:
- Living with Contradiction, an Introduction to Benedictine Spirituality by Esther de Waal.
- A Guide to Living in the Truth: St. Benedict's Teaching on Humility by Michael Casey, OCSO.
- Finding Happiness: Monastic Steps for a Fulfilling Life by Abbot Christopher Jamison
- Monastery of the Heart, An Invitation to a Meaningful Life by Joan Chittester.
- Sacred Reading, The Art of Lectio Divina by Michael Casey, OCSO.
Benedictine Circle FAQs:
- QUESTION: Who may attend? Answer: Anyone: male, female, Catholic, and those who are not Catholic.
- QUESTION: Do I need to be an oblate? Answer: No, you do not need to be an oblate to participate.
- QUESTION: Do I need to RSVP? Answer: Yes please, here is the RSVP link.
- QUESTION: Who was Thomas Merton? Answer: Father Merton (1915–1968) was a Catholic Trappist monk from the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky.
- QUESTION: What is Saint Leo Abbey. Answer: The abbey is a Catholic Benedictine abbey for monks located in Pasco County, Florida. Here is an Examiner.com article on Saint Leo Abbey.
- QUESTION: Who is Saint Benedict? Answer: The life of this great Catholic saint is summarized here.
- QUESTION: What is Benedictine spirituality. Answer: It is a life that follows the Rule of Saint Benedict. Contemplation is a part of Benedictine life. Abbot Delatte gives a good answer:
[Benedictines have] a special vocation to prayer; the whole practical organization of our life is connected with and converges towards worship. The holy liturgy is for us, at one and the same time, a means of sanctification and an end. But it is especially an end. Our contemplation nourishes itself therein without cessation, and so to speak finds in the liturgy its adequate object and proper term. This should be well understood. It is not a small matter, even from a practical point of view, to know our end with all exactitude, to find a definition so successful as to include both God and ourselves, His interests and ours, His glory and our happiness, the work of time and the work of eternity. There is no lack of definitions: we are told that our business is to "secure our salvation," "to procure the glory of God," "to realize our sanctification," "to attain union with God and His eternal life." These definitions are precise but of unequal value; though it is true that with a little explanation we may find the fulness of doctrine implied in all, and, for enlightened and generous souls, the first loses its tendency to lead in practice to lukewarmness and a commercial spirituality. The last is the best, and it is the one which our Holy Father [Saint Benedict] adopts, in company with all the ancient writers. But none, save the second, suggests the idea of liturgy. And it is a pity; for after all our union with God is itself ordained for praise.” Delatte, Paul, and Justin McCann. The Rule of St. Benedict; a Commentary. London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne, 1921. Print. Page 135.
For more information about Catholic Saint Leo Abbey and its oblate program for lay men and women who want to live a more balanced spiritual life under the Rule of Saint Benedict, email the oblate office. Map and directions to Saint Leo Abbey. You do not need to be an oblate to pray with the Benedictine monks or to visit Saint Leo Abbey.
See also this Examiner.com article about the November 1-3, 2013 oblate spiritual retreat weekend. It is open to anyone interested in Benedictine spirituality and contemplative prayer.
The abbey is open to visitors every day and welcomes anyone who wants a day of rest and contemplation.