Here is a typical path to become a novice Oblate and then an Oblate at Saint Leo Abbey.
Deadline for novice and final oblation applications is March 2, 2017.
1. Live a life of seeking God and follow the Rule of St. Benedict in so far as your state of life permits.
2. Fill out novice application form.
LINKS TO DOWNLOAD NOVICE APPLICATION
There is only one novice application form, but it is in several file formats to help as many people as possible to be able to use at least one of the forms. All instructions about filling out the application are on the application. The application may be emailed to the Oblate Office at StLeoOblates@gmail.com
The novice application is for your information, so you will know what is available if you decide to become a novice Oblate. —
However, you may attend and participate in all Oblate events and functions without filling out the application.
3. Attend novice ceremony in the Spring each year. Date can change depending on Easter.
4. After the novice ceremony, spend a year of discernment and continue to learn about life by the Rule. Attend the novice classes during year 1 of discernment.
5. Final Oblation
Fill out final oblation application beginning in January following your novice ceremony. A final oblation is a life-long commitment to Saint Leo Abbey and the life that seeks God according to the Rule of Saint Benedict.
6. Attend final oblation ceremony in the Spring of the year following the year in which you became a novice.
7. Live a life of seeking God and follow the Rule of St. Benedict in so far as your state of life permits.
A person may continue to be a visitor/guest forever if they want — there is no requirement to become an Oblate — not everyone is called to be an Oblate. But if you like Benedictine spirituality and the Oblate Chapter at Saint Leo Abbey, you may want to become a novice Oblate.
Novices are received only one time a year, typically in the Spring. An Oblate novice is a person who wants to spend a year discerning whether he or she is called to become an Oblate. After the Oblate novice ceremony, the novices are expected to attend all Oblate Sundays for a year — with the understanding that circumstances may prevent someone from attending all classes.
Do Oblate novices go through a formal program of study or is the novice year spent attending the monthly meetings and classes?
The novice year is spent attending the monthly classes. Both Brother Stanislaw and Abbot Isaac cover a range of topics during the year -- sometimes based on the interests of the class.
Several novice Oblates create their own plan of study and discernment during their novice year.
1. Read and study the Rule of St. Benedict
2. Learn and pray the Benedictine Divine Office (also known as the liturgy of the hours or the opus dei) as you are able
3. Practice lectio divina
4. Learn the rich history of monasticism and the Benedictines
Most people follow their own plan during the novice year or find someone at the Oblate classes to help and serve as a mentor. Many people coming to the program begin attending the classes and are led by the Holy Spirit into your own reading or prayer plan during their novice year.
The soonest a person can become an Oblate is one year after participating in a novice induction ceremony and attending the novice classes for a year. The Oblate ceremony is typically held in Spring at the same time as the novice Oblate ceremony. The Oblate ceremony is held after the novice ceremony.
An Oblate makes a life-long commitment to Saint Leo Abbey of spiritual union and stability.
You may not become a member of another Catholic Third Order or a lay associate of other Catholic Orders, but talk with Abbot Isaac if you have a special situation.
If you move away, you remain an Oblate at Saint Leo Abbey.
In rare situations Abbot Isaac may grant permission for a Saint Leo Abbey Oblate to become an Oblate at another monastery. Of course, if you move near another monastery you may and should attend there as a visiting Oblate. Saint Leo Abbey has several Oblates from other monasteries who fully participate in Saint Leo Abbey's Oblate program — one such Oblate has been an Oblate at Saint Meinrad Archabbey for 50 years. We are glad he is here.
Oblates sign a promise on the altar of the Abbey Church. The signed promise is kept by the abbey.
Do I need to become a novice or Oblate to participate?
ANSWER: No. People who come to the Oblate meetings to explore whether Benedictine spirituality is for them, may fully participate in the Oblate program without filling out any form. You may attend forever as a guest or visitor.
In many ways Saint Leo Abbey treats the oblation as what it is — your promise to God at the altar of the Saint Leo Abbey Church
"to dedicate myself to the service of God and humanity according to the Rule of our Holy Father Benedict in so far as my state of life permits" (quote from the final oblation ceremony)
and both before and after your oblation, the abbey shows its loving Benedictine hospitality to you in all your involvement and participation at the abbey.
At the door a question, "What do you seek?"