Oblates of St. Benedict are Christian women and men who associate themselves with a Benedictine community in order to enrich their Christian way of life. Through oblation, which means the "offering of oneself,” they shape their lives by living the wisdom of Christ as interpreted by Saint Benedict. By integrating prayer and work, they manifest Christ’s presence in society. Oblates do not live in a monastery, but instead worship, learn, and work with the monastic community in order to spread the Benedictine charism in their own churches, families, and workplaces.
The Benedictine Sisters of Cullman, Alabama, initiated Oblate affiliation in 1980. Currently there are 100 Oblates affiliated with the Monastery. Most live in Alabama, but many are from beyond the state. The Oblates meet annually at Sacred Heart Monastery for a retreat and formation program in Benedictine spirituality. New members are enrolled as candidates during this retreat. The candidates enter into a study of the Rule of St. Benedict for one year and discern their readiness for final oblation at the end of that year. Oblates renew their commitment annually.
The oblates pray the Liturgy of the Hours (Morning and Evening Prayer), and pray with Scripture (lectio divina) on a daily basis. Although they do not live in the monastery, nor do they make monastic vows, they share a spiritual union with the monastic community as they incorporate the Rule of St. Benedict into their daily lives.
Chapel slideshow from 2012 Oblate Retreat