At a recent Oblate retreat. See more photos...
Our lay members are referred to as Oblates.
Oblates are men and women, married or single, active in any Christian denomination, who closely associate themselves with the Monastery of St. Gertrude through an initiation process and formal oblation (promise). There are currently over 60 Oblates of the Monastery of St. Gertrude throughout the Pacific Northwest.
People become oblates because they find that God’s call to daily conversion is facilitated in their lives through Benedictine spirituality. This spirituality is illuminated by the Rule of Benedict and the lived example of the sisters at St. Gertrude’s.
Oblates meet regularly as a community to deepen their personal and communal prayer and to explore ways to live Benedictine values in their daily lives. They develop deep and lasting friendships with the monastic community and with one another.
At the Monastery of St. Gertrude, oblates take an active participatory role in areas such as the Raspberry Festival, Monastery committees, and retreat ministry. Oblates also volunteer where needed – the kitchen, garden, museum or library.
The Oblate Community has seven area groups:
Spokane and Coeur d'Alene Oblates at a picnic with Sister Bernie Ternes (with the lighted face).
- Boise, Idaho
- the Prairie (Cottonwood, Idaho area)
- Lewiston, Idaho
- Palouse (Moscow, Idaho and Pullman, Washington area)
- Spokane, Washington
- North Idaho/Montana
- Puget Sound, Washington
An eighth group is forming in Missoula, Montana. Please email the oblate coordinators at [email protected] for area contact information, meeting times and places. Each area group meets about once each month for prayer, study, and sharing.
Becoming an Oblate at the Monastery of St. Gertrude includes developing:
- an understanding of Benedictine wisdom
- a shared prayer life within the Oblate and monastic communities, and
- an outreach or ministry that incorporates the monastery’s values of healing hospitality, grateful simplicity and creative peacemaking.
Learn More About This Process
The process of becoming an Oblate at the Monastery of St. Gertrude is modeled after both the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) and the process of initiation into the monastic community. The model draws from both traditions, each of which have elements of developing lived tradition, a wisdom source, shared prayer and outreach. These elements are developed in the three phases, outlined under the aspects of Community, Message, Worship, and Service. The three phases are: Inquirer , Candidate, and Oblate.
Step 1: Inquirer. A time to acquaint yourself with the monastic and Oblate communities via visits to the monastery and participation in oblate activities. You deepen your personal prayer and continue your local ministry.
Step 2: Candidate. During this time you learn more about Benedictine spirituality through formal study, regular sharing, and participation in the liturgy and work of the monastery. You and your Sponsor communicate regularly as you discern your oblation.
Step 3: Oblate. As an Oblate you live out your Benedictine spirituality and continue your contacts with the monastic and oblate communities. Your service will reflect the monastery’s mission in your local situation.
For more info about the Oblate Program, contact us:
Phone: 208-962-3224, Email: [email protected]
Oblate conference explores the Rule of Benedict
“Creatively and Constructively Living the Rule” was the title of the recent Northwest conference of the North American Association of Benedictine Oblate Directors (NAABOD) that was hosted by St. Martin’s Abbey and St. Placid’s Priory in Lacey, Washington.
Mary Kay Fairbanks, Barbara Wodynski and Jeannette Kelley of the St. Gertrude Oblate community attended the event June 24-26. They joined representatives from seven Northwest Benedictine communities that also included House of Bread (Nanaimo, Canada), Monastery of the Ascension (Jerome, Idaho), Mt. Angel Abbey (St. Benedict, Oregon) and Queen of Angel’s Priory (Mt. Angel, Oregon).
The conference focused on how the wisdom from the Rule could inform life situations. “One of the most powerful experiences for me was when we listened for how the Rule is both implicitly and explicitly expressed through a particular story,” recalls Jeannette. Other topics included different ways of expressing prayer as well as creating relationships among Oblate communities.
The Northwest NAABOD conference is held every two years, alternating with the national NAABOD gathering.
Three Oblates attend NAABOD meeting in Indiana
Oblates Jeannette Kelley, Nikki Nordstrom, and Mary Lou Wilson attended the bi-annual meeting of NAABOD (North American Association of Benedictine Oblate Directors) at St. Meinrad Archabbey in St. Meinrad, Indiana, July 1-6, 2011. They are shown (from left to right) near the Archabbey Church.
The theme of the conference was "Embracing Creation with Reverence and Hospitality: Listening to Scripture and Rule Speak". Highlights included keynote speakers from the three hosting Benedictine communities (St. Meinrad, Beach Grove, Indiana, and Ferdinand, Indiana) tours of the Archabby grounds, and a visit to Monastery Immaculate Conception (the Benedictine women's monastery at Ferdinand, Indiana).
There were meetings with other Northwest Oblate directors and oblates, evening socials hosted by the delightful monk Br. Meinrad, and frequent opportunities to share with many faithful Benedictines. Each day they participated in Morning and Evening Prayer and Mid-day Mass, often with the monks in the Archabbey Church.