2017 Oblates Retreat: Mount Saviour – History & Future

2017 Oblates' Retreat
A few of the Oblates at our closing meeting

During a beautiful autumn weekend, Mount Saviour Monastery welcomed more than two dozen Oblates for the 2017 Oblates retreat, held October 13th – 15th.

The retreat started Friday evening with a light supper, welcome, introductions, weekend overview and introduction of Timeline, a history of Mount Saviour from 1950 – present, showing pictures & events.  Oblates then moved to the chapel for Session 1,

Session 1 – What We Are & What We Are Not
Fr. Michael Perry led us in a discussion where we explored who we are as oblates of this monastery.  Some of the answers offered by participants were:

We are
• Benedictines
• Men and woman
• Servants in parishes – servers
• Members of Mount Saviour
• People of prayer
• Ecumenical
• Face of the monastery
• Liturgically oriented
• Carriers of the message of peace
• Hospitable
• Stability – one monastery
• Home at MS
• Seekers of balance in life
• MS provides context
• Bearers of Christ
• Part of Agape love
• Accepted, warts and all
• Mutual exchange of prayers
• Learners – passion
• We practice silence, listen, balance work & prayer

What we are not:

• Sunday Christians or Oblates
* Not monks
• Not a 3rd order
• Not gyrovagues
• Not individualistic (we are community minded)
• Not doing, in order to be noticed
• Not artificial
• Not finished products

Br. John shared some words by Fr. Damasus from 1962.  Speaking about Oblates, Fr. Damasus said “ The secret of any monastery’s success is the degree to which it projects the face of Christ to the world around it, and since Oblates are the best means of helping a community show this loving face outside the cloister, we are happy that our family-in-the-world is constantly growing and regularly returning to reaffirm the life it shares with us.  The monastery is for them a spiritual home in whose prayer and work they share and where they come from time to time to renew their contact with the community and to deepen their spiritual life.  Our Oblates are those members who live away from the monastery and under other than monastic condition are, none the less, members of the family.  “

Also shared …

“God’s love for us is the rock on which we stand” – Fr. Damascus
• We bear one another
• Are here to seek God
• We learn from one another
• Are called to live out the life/love of Christ
• Enter the mystery of God.

We learn about unconditional love of God, nothing is beyond the love of God.


2017 Retreat - What we are
Br. John sharing some of Fr. Damasus’ thoughts on Oblates.


Session 2, Saturday morning – History of the Oblate Movement at Mount Saviour
For the second session Maria Gravel took us on a trip down memory lane with her talk about the history of Oblates and supporters during the early years of the monastery.   Other history was explored, such as the meaning of the architecture of the chapel and other buildings,  and the 1972 interfaith conference.  Some reading recommendations were made. Another quote by Fr Damasus was shared … “Anyone who approaches the table of God with the right intent, should be fed”.


Session 3,  Saturday afternoon –   Monks & Oblate Panels: What We Mean to Each Other
A panel of three Brothers and three Oblates was the focus of the third session.  The Brothers spoke about what the Oblates mean to the monastery and to them personally, while the Oblates spoke about what Mount Saviour means to them.  The participants were Br. Gabriel, Br. Bruno, Br. Justin,  Patricia Cunningham,  Stuart-John Tigchelaar,  Victor Kralisz.


Session 4,  Sunday morning – Where Do We Go from Here 
After listening to a recording of Fr. Damasus speaking about Oblates, the discussion focused on how to stay connected.  We explored how to form satellite groups for those who live a distance from Mount Saviour.   Penny Allen explained how the NYC group runs their meetings.

New Oblate Groups Need
• leaders to organize
• Places to hold meetings
• Priest to say Mass or leader to hold Vespers
• Come to MS first

• Blog tab on MS website
• Facebook group
• Email list
• Flyer on door, bookstore

Oblate brochure

Monks’ Wishlist
• Project face of MS to world
• Oblates & Monks mutually benefit
• Oblates follow Rule as best as possible
• Oblates pray for monks
• Promote MS
• List of people who can help MS – time, talent, treasure
• Articles for Chronicle & Blog
• Recommended books
• Local – floral arrangement for chapel
• Chores such as apple picking
• Input on how to go forward with Oblate program
• Sewing talent & time to repair habits

After a final meal with the Brothers,  the retreat closed with an informal meeting where the retreat was reviewed and gratitude expressed for the great example of hospitality shown by the Monks of Mount Saviour Monastery and for all who made this retreat possible.

One thought on “2017 Oblates Retreat: Mount Saviour – History & Future

  1. Thanks Eve, for the excellent review of the different sessions. Thank you Penny for initiating this retreat. Thank you Fr Michael Perry for reminding us of our heritage and the very special vision of Reverend Father Damassus Winzen. We are blessed to share the Rule of Saint Benedict. Diane treveiler


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