Rules for the Reception of  Traditional Oblates of St. Benedict

The rules for the reception of the Traditional Oblates of St. Benedict are based upon old formulas gathered by Abbot Tortorici of the Benedictine Cassinese Congregation in the year 1590.  These served as a model for the present statutes which were approved by the Holy See in 1888, and again in 1891, and still later in 1904.  Finally, on March 24, 1937, the revised Statutes and Rules for Benedictine Oblates were again approved by the Sacred Congregation of Religious.

1. Oblates of St. Benedict are those among the faithful living in the world, who offer themselves to God, to our Savior, to the Blessed Virgin Mary and to our holy Father Benedict, promising to labor at the conversion of their morals, according to the directions contained in the Rule of St. Benedict.  They are called " Oblates," and not " Tertiaries," as is the case of secular members of the Franciscan, Dominican and Carmelite Orders, because there is but one Rule and one Order of St. Benedict.

2. Persons wishing to become Oblates must be at least fifteen years of age; they should excel by a worthy Christian life and bear a good reputation.  The faithful of either sex, as well as clerics and priests, may be received as Oblates of any Benedictine Monastery by its ruling Abbot, or by a priest delegated by him.*

(* Persons who are members of any third order may not become Oblates of St. Benedict)

3. Upon application, the aspirant is invested with the black scapular and receives the medal of St. Benedict.  The latter is not a substitute for the scapular, but because of the many indulgences attached to the use of the medal, Oblates are encouraged to wear it faithfully.  Oblates should know that the scapular takes the place of the Benedictine religious habit, and though Oblates are not strictly bound to wear the scapular, it is required that they keep it about their person, wear it at night or at least have it with them, for instance, under their pillow.

4. A year and a day after investiture, the Oblate Novice is permitted to make the Act of Oblation in the presence of the Abbot or his delegate.  The Act of Oblation, which is comparable to the religious profession, does not have the power of a vow nor oblige under pain of sin.

Purpose of the Oblation

By this Act, the Oblate spiritually affiliates himself with a Benedictine monastery and its community, in order thereby to lead a more perfect Christian life in the world according to the spirit of the Rule of St. Benedict, to share in the spiritual treasure of the Benedictine Order, and to enjoy the special privileges granted by the Church to Oblates.  He should promote, as far as lies in his power, the good of the monastery to which he is attached, and that of the entire Benedictine Order.  The names of Oblates are inscribed in the monastic register of their respective monastery.

"Conversion" or Reformation of Life

By the Act of Oblation, the Oblates dedicate themselves to a mode of life which should raise them above the life of ordinary Christians.  For this reason they should not be content with striving for ordinary virtue, but should aim at a higher degree of perfection.  And indeed, their intimate affiliation with a Benedictine monastery, which the holy Founder calls the " school of the service of God," ought to stimulate them to ever greater virtue and the practice of good works, so that their entire life - their mode of thinking, speaking and acting - may become ever more conformed to Benedictine ideals.

Oblates are exhorted in particular to renounce the pomps and vanities of the world and to devote themselves to the practice of prayer and penance.  The five holy vows taken by the religious of St. Benedict can easily be adapted as norms of life by the Oblates, who can very profitably regulate their lives according to their spirit without being bound by them as vows.

In the spirit of the vow of poverty, they should dress modestly and with simplicity, avoid extravagance and superfluity in eating and drinking, and cultivate a warm-hearted charity toward the poor.  If they are poor, themselves, they should be content with their condition in life and bear patiently the inconveniences of poverty, not envying the rich nor longing inordinately for worldly goods.  In the spirit of the vow of chastity, they should practice purity according to their state of life, being chaste in thought, word and deed, and scrupulously shunning whatever is forbidden by the sixth and ninth commandments of God.  They are exhorted to practice obedience to the Roman Pontiff, to their bishops and pastors, to their own director and other ecclesiasticals; as well as, civil authorities, and by faithfully obeying the precepts of the Church in accordance with the form ordained by the Council of Trent; and, in all rites, ceremonies, and usages, as traditional Oblates adhere, without exception, to the established forms of Holy Tradition, cherishing the ancient and venerable and shunning novel and strange forms as alien to Catholic Tradition and unworthy in the expression of the Catholic Faith.

They may practice stability by adhering faithfully to the monastery to which they are affiliated, persevering in their duties as Oblates, performing their religious duties and the duties of their state in life with unswerving zeal, practicing the ideals of a real Catholic home life, and taking an active part in all parish activities.   And finally, they may labor at the conversion of their morals by drawing away from the spirit of the world, laying aside their bad and worldly habits, earnestly resisting temptations, bearing trials patiently, and seeking to make themselves ever more conformable to Christ, their Divine Model.

(Excerpted from Daily Companion for Secular Oblates of St. Benedict, 2nd. Edition, February 1948)