I was not able to attend our Oblate Retreat at Mount Saviour this year. Penny Allen has kindly provided the text and methodology that was used at our Retreat to reflect on the material in Sister Chittester’s above named address to the Oblate Congress in Rome in November 2017. Had I been in attendance at the Retreat, I am sure that in the context of group sharing and in the midst of liturgical hours, my reactions might be different, as those in attendance studied the material with great attention. My comments are genuine but not nuanced.
The address certainly contains a fount of historical and religious information on Benedictine monasteries and oblates. Here are some loose quotes from the speech that attracted and inspired me.
-Monasteries and Oblates need each other…the charism of Benedictine spirit is to live it and give it away…When professed members of a Benedictine community merge their lives and their work, their spiritual wisdom and their public witness, their decision making and the deepest part of their concerns with the Oblates who surround them, then the Church itself becomes new again.-
However, the author’s comments such as, “The charisms of Jesus that the Spirit gives to each of us are not for sequestering by professional religious types,” and the tone of other ‘attitude’ comments regarding male patriarchy etc. (my head is not in the sand re this topic,) laid a cloudy filter over her magnificent picture of Benedictine life.
“You and we, we and you, are all meant to be gifts of Benedictine peace, prayer, justice , humility, human community and life-giving work. Indeed, together, we are meant to be messengers, models and makers of a whole new world wherever we are,” says the author.
That just about says it all, in my limited appreciation.
Comment by Sheila DeCosse, Oblate, Mount Saviour.