Wednesday, February 13, 2019

January 2019 Newsletter

January 19, 2019
by Pat Dorn
Greater Cincinnati Chapter

The January meeting will be held on Sunday, January 27 at 2:00 p.m., in the St. Joseph Room of the parish center at St. Gertrude in Madeira. We are looking forward to seeing everyone. It has been a long time since our last meeting!

All of you should have received the information on the Transparency Homework Assignment Br. Francis gave out at the September meeting as these were emailed/mailed to everyone in October. In addition, Br. Francis recently provided us with Discussion Questions for The Screwtape Letters which I emailed to you in December. We will be reviewing these questions at our January meeting.

Just a reminder: Br. Francis has posted the entire conference he gave on Transparency at our September meeting on his blog. You may access it at:
(PLEASE NOTE: Br. Francis will be joining us at our April meeting rather than the March meeting as indicated on our calendar. My apologies for the error.)

January 27, 2019 Meeting
St. Gertrude Parish Center • 2:00 p.m.
  1. Reading of Mission Statement
  2. V espers
  3. Lectio Divina
  4. Minutes of November 18, 2018 Meeting
  5. Treasurer’s Report
  6. Old/New Business
  7. Program:
    Discussion on Screwtape Letters and the
    study questions assigned by Br. Francis.
VII. Adjournment & Closing Prayer

Oblate Anniversaries
Congratulations to the following oblates who are celebrating their anniversaries in December, January, February and March.
12/08/01 Tom & Cheryl Madrakie ( 18 yrs.) 12/08/07 Linda Faulhaber (12 yrs.)
12/13/97 Sharon Cross (22 yrs,)
12/13/97 Clyde & Pat Dorn (22 yrs.)
12/13/97 Nick & Linda McCarroll (22 yrs.) 12/13/14 Peyton & Mary Lou Reed (5/06 yrs.) 12/16/06 Joy Roose (Harbert) (13 yrs.)

1/1/44 John Campbell (75 yrs.)
2/22/06 Ron Beathard (13 yrs.) 2/23/14 Scott Alt (5 yrs,) 2/28/99 Steve Durkee (20 yrs.) 2/28/60 Jo Ann Moeller (59 yrs.)
3/10/07 Cincy Neuhaus (12 yrs) 3/21/11 Donna Clark (8 yrs.)

IMPORTANTPlease make a note of the upcoming oblate dates at Saint Meinrad:
March 20-23 Oblate Retreat given by Fr. Bede Cisco, OSB.

November 2018 Minutes

Cincinnati Oblates’ Meeting November 18,2018

Attendance: Fr. Mateo Zamora, OSB, Steve Anslinger, Clyde & Pat Dorn, Nick & Linda McCarroll, Donna Clark, Peyton & Mary Louise Reed, Mark & Mandie Milliron, Linda Faulhaber, Margaret Sherlock, Ron DeMarco

The meeting opened with prayer and introductions.

Fr. Mateo was a parish priest in the Diocese of Lexington for 10 years before becoming a monk. He is from the Philippines. In addition to being a parish priest, he served as one of three lawyers on the annulment tribunal. His position was Defender of the Bond, the one who defends the marriage.

We then read the Mission Statement and prayed Vespers. Prayers for this year’s deceased members – Ron Clark and Debbie Storer – were included.

Lectio : Mark 13:24-32 The coming of the son of man, the lesson of the fig tree

The portion of RB that Ron applied is v. 21, “Clothed then with faith and the performance of good works, let us set out on this way, with the Gospel for our guide, that we may deserve to see him who has called us to his kingdom (1 Thess 2:12)”

Minutes from October 28 were approved. The treasury has $698.

Old Business
Day of Recollection 2020 (which we sponsor): Nick contacted Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center in Norwood. They have a meeting room ($200) and a chapel ($40) available. Ron and Nick will tour the location on 11/21, Mark and Peyton will join them. They allow catering, or bringing our own food. We will ask for May 16, 2020 through the Oblate office.

John Campbell fell, broke his elbow, and is at St. Margaret Hall. His oblation was Jan. 1, 1945. Ron is sending a card he shared with us.

New Business
Holy cards are sent to each chapter with the year’s deceased members listed. Mass intention cards from St. Meinrad go to the family.

Renewal of Oblation cards are due. The are sent by bulk mail, so not all were delivered at the same time. Next October we’ll talk in the chapter about renewals to be done in November.
A suggestion was made to include Benedictine dates of remembrance on our oblate calendar.
We were reminded of Sacred Heart Radio (740AM, 910AM, 89.5FM), and especially of the new program, “Driving Home the Faith” (4-6p.m. weekday afternoons) with Fr. Rob Jack.
Ron is sending a card to Debbie Storer’s daughter (only family member) c/o Dcn. Jerry Etienne, both from St. Mary, Bethel.

Fr. Mateo presented a conference on Accountability, the first of five in this series, to be given to all the chapters.

There were closing questions, stories of the monastery from Fr. Mateo. Fr. Mateo lead a closing prayer and gave a blessing.

We had a time of hospitality and refreshments.

Summary of Fr. Mateo’s Conference
Accountability is a discipline, the path of a disciple of Christ. It is training, not punishment for sins, but the practice of self-mortification, daily cross.

Definition: Genuine Christian accountability in a Benedictine way is a discipline of mutual openness and obedience in a community of disciples. (RB 71:1-2) . We remember that “we are all in this together”. Obedience is a culture of selflessness; in accountability we owe one another the work of preserving order and harmony.

In common parlance, accountability demands an answer from one person to another, a confrontation. RB does require confrontation with offenders; in the words of Esther DeWaal, “a heart to heart talk”. Accountability is first of all a practice of listening carefully to one another (RB Prologue, “Listen”). Visceral (from “where we store our crap”/guts) confrontations intend hurt, humiliation, getting even. People are angry because they are hurting or afraid. Genuine Christian accountability has to be heart to heart because that’s how love operates. Both parties have to be vulnerable so wounds can be tended to and healed, as relationship.

Christian accountability has reconciliation as its goal, not retribution. Is being right more important than the feelings in the relationship?

Caring about the monastery is what keeps monks there. Breaking rules says you don’t care about the others or the rule. The consequences of excommunication keep you from the very rule of life you care about. For us as oblates, our relationships are also what we care about, for example our marriages.

Submitted by Mary Louise Reed

November 2018 Newsletter

November 13, 2018
by Pat Dorn
Greater Cincinnati Chapter

Our November meeting will be held on Sunday, November 18, at 2:00 p.m. in the St. Joseph Room of the St. Gertrude Parish Center. PLEASE NOTE: November 18 is the 3rd Sunday of the month rather than the 4th.

Our guest speaker for the November meeting is Fr. Mateo Zamora, OSB.

We would like to express our thanks to Linda McCarroll for the sharing her journey to becoming a Benedictine Oblate of Saint Meinrad with us last month. You will find a copy of her testimony enclosed. Great job, Linda!

The December 14-16 Benedictine Oblate Retreat at Saint Meinrad features Fr. Denis Robinson, OSB. The topic of the retreat is: “Being Benedictine in a World Turned Upside Down: Looking at the World Today through the Lens of the Rule.” The cost of the retreat with meals is $255 (single) and $425 (double). For reservations, please call 1-800-581-6905.

As we will not meet in December due to December oblate retreat at Saint Meinrad, we would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, a Blessed Christmas, and a Joyous New Year.

The January meeting will be held January 27, 2019.

Before closing, I have some sad news to share. I just learned of the death of Debbie Storer, one of our Cincinnati oblates, who recently passed away. Debbie has been ill for a number of years and has been unable to attend our Chapter meetings. She made her oblation on September 26, 2010. Please remember her in your prayers,

Sunday, November 18, 2018 Meeting
St. Gertrude Parish Center • 2:00 p.m.
  1. Reading of Mission Statement
  2. Vespers
  3. Prayer for Deceased Members of our Chapter
  4. Lectio Divina
  5. Minutes of October 28, 2018 Meeting
  6. Treasurer’s Report
  7. Old/New Business
  8. Program:
    Guest Speaker: Fr. Mateo Zamora, OSB
  9. Adjournment & Closing Prayer

October 2018 Minutes

Cincinnati Oblates' Meeting October 28, 2018

The meeting opened with a greeting, prayer, and introductions. Steve Anslinger, a new novice, introduced himself. Later in the meeting, Tom Murray, another new novice, shared some of his story of being attracted to St. Meinrad.

Others in attendance: Nick & Linda McCarroll, Kathy Gloeckner, Mark Milliron, Margaret Sherlock, Pat & Clyde Dorn, Peyton & Mary Louise Reed, and Ron DeMarco.
We read the Mission Statement and prayed Vespers.

In line with our current theme of “Accountability” we had a short explanation/discussion of the practice of “kneeling out” at the monastery whenever someone makes a serious mistake in praying the office.

Lectio was on Mark 10:46-52, the story of Blind Bartimaeus.
The theme of the Rule that Ron chose as related is “Stay close to Jesus.”

Minutes of the September 23,2018 meeting were read and approved.

The Treasurer's report is $641 in the account, with a receipt for copies to be paid.

Old Business: Calendar corrections
Br. Francis will be coming in March, not April
The program for the January meeting will be a chapter discussion of Screwtape Br. Francis will send us questions before the January meeting.

New Business: Day of Recollection 2020, which our chapter will host
We need to get a date from Brenda (Oblate Secretary), find out from her whether a monk is available, and find a place to have it.

Two suggestions came: The Community of the Transfiguration (Episcopal) in Glendale, and Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center in Norwood. Nick will be checking with the second. The date we are requesting is near May 16, 2020.

Novice changes: Abbot Kurt has appointed Br. Stanley Rother Wagner, OSB to be Oblate Novice Mentor. Ron will send us information about the new novice procedures.
A beautiful card, including artwork by Br. Martin, was designed for each chapter with the list of deceased oblates for this year. We remember Ron Clark, who made his oblation on 21 March, 2011, and who died on 6 February, 2018.

March 21,2019 is the 140th anniversary of the founding of oblates at St. Meinrad, and there will be a retreat there in commemoration.

June 21,2019 Chapter Coordinators' meeting will have the same topic.

Amount we pay a visiting monk: Oblate Council discussed this, and each chapter is free to decide what to offer. We will keep $88 until something calls us to change.
April program: is open, and we are asked to consider what to do.

Linda McCarroll gave her testimony of becoming an oblate, and we very much enjoyed hearing her beautiful sharing.

Ron closed the meeting with a prayer of St. Francis de Sales. We enjoyed a time of fellowship and snacks.

Submitted by Mary Louise Reed

October 2018 Newsletter

October 22, 2018 by Pat Dorn

The Sunday, October 28 meeting will be held, as usual, at 2:00 p.m. in the St. Joseph Room of the St. Gertrude Parish Center. Ron has been working hard on the agenda for the meeting and has many exciting ideas to discuss with the group so we hope to see you all there. In addition, Linda McCarroll has agreed to give a witness as to why she became a Benedictine Oblate, and I am sure you will not want to miss her testimony. I understand there was some confusion regarding the meeting dates on the September newsletter, so I have reprinted the dates below.

All of the meeting dates were correct as listed. The only change is the date of the Day of Recollection that will be held in Dayton on June 8 this year. Additional details regarding the Day of Recollection will be provided by the Dayton Chapter at a later date. We are very excited about the homework assigned to us by Br. Francis at the September meeting.

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis is a delightful and entertaining masterpiece of religious satire about temptation and resistance to it. I provided an Amazon link to the book in my October 6 email for your convience. However, I am sure you can find it at a neighborhood bookstore or at Half Prices Books as well. See you on the 28th!

AGENDA October 28, 2018 Meeting St. Gertrude Parish Center • 2:00 p.m.

I. Reading of Mission Statement
II. Vespers
III. Lectio Divina
IV. Minutes of September 23, 2018 Meeting (enclosed)
V. Treasurer’s Report
VI. Old/New Business
VII. Program: A Reflection on Why I Became A Benedictine Oblate by Linda McCarroll VIII. Adjournment & Closing Prayer

September 2018 Minutes

Cincinnati Oblates Meeting September 23, 2018

Br. Francis opened our meeting with prayer.

We introduced ourselves, and heard that we have two new novices: Steve Anslinger and Tom Murray. We received the news that John Campbell's health is declining.

In attendance were: Nick McCarroll, Linda McCarroll, Ron Lillie, Pauline Cantrell, Peyton Reed, Margaret Sherlock, Joan Hilton, Ron DeMarco, Kathy Gloeckner, Linda Faulhaber, Mary Louise Reed

We read the Mission Statement and prayed Vespers, Week 1.

Lectio was Mk 9:30-37; the portion of the Rule that Ron selected to apply was RB 72:4-7.

The April minutes were approved.

The treasury currently has $678, as of the end of last year (September-April). We discussed thecost of having a monk visit. For two years now we have paid $88 per visit. That money goes into a fund for traveling monks that is held in the Oblate Office. We also discussed the possibility of helping members attend St. Meinrad events. We made no decisions.

Meetings without monks have no set program. At some meetings we will do more personal stories of how we became oblates and how that affects our lives. Linda McCarroll will share her story in October. Some meetings will have discussion of our “homework” book.

Do we want to send cards to our members for special occasions, such as oblation date? No decision.

Br. Francis gave a conference on the role of transparency in Benedictine life, and will make the whole conference available to us at a later date. He also assigned us a small book, Them Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, to read and study as homework for this next year. We will discuss it together when he returns in April. He assigns “homework” in order to help us engage with the presented topic over time, and not have it be segmented. Archabbot Kurt has chosen “Accountability” as this year's theme for the oblate program.

Ron DeMarco lead a closing prayer, followed by a social time.

Submitted by
Mary Louise Reed

September 2018 Newsletter

September 15, 2018 by Pat Dorn

Now that summer “officially” is over, it will be nice to get back to meeting again. I have listed our meeting dates in the box at the bottom of the page. Please be sure to mark them on your calendar. All meetings will be held in the Parish Center at St. Gertrude in Madeira and begin at 2:00 p.m. Please note: this includes the September 23 meeting originally scheduled to be held at our house. As I mentioned in my earlier email, this change was necessary due to the flooding of our finished basement when our sump pump gave out during a recent record-breaking rainfall.

We are pleased to welcome back our Dean, Br. Francis Wagner, as the guest speaker for this meeting. Br. Francis’ talk will be on the topic of Accountability, which is the theme for 2018-2019. Ron asks that I remind you that we are always striving to follow our basic meeting outline as well as to provide something new that our members might find fruitful to their spiritual growth as oblates. For example, at the September meeting Ron will be looking at the Lectio Divina Scripture reading for that day and select a good match from the Rule of Saint Benedict to complement the reading. He will then ask for a volunteer to prepare the Rule reading for the next meeting. He will be looking for volunteers who would be willing to share their stories about what drew then to become an oblate and how being an oblate has helped them grow in their spiritual life.

Remember the book drive organized by oblates Bob & Melinda Reckers last March to help the Benedictine monks at Holy Cross Monastery in Beaumont, Texas restore their library that was destroyed by Hurricane Harvey? Bob and Melinda sent thanks to our oblates for helping them collect well over 1000 books.

AGENDA September 23, 2018 Meeting – 2:00 p.m. St. Gertrude Parish Center – St. Joseph Room

I. Reading of Mission Statement
II. Vespers (Week 1 – Liturgy of the Hours for Benedictine Oblates)
III. Lectio Divina
IV. Minutes of April 22, 2018 Meeting
V. Treasurer’s Report
VI. Old/New Business
VII. Program: Guest Speaker: Br. Francis Wagner, OSB Topic: Accountability
VIII. Adjournment & Closing Prayer

2018/2019 Meeting Dates Please mark your calendar.
Please Note: All meetings are held on a Sunday at 2:00 p.m.

September 23 (Br. Francis Wagner, OSB)
October 28 – (Program to be determined)
November 18 (Fr. Mateo, OSB)

2019 January 27 (Program to be determined)
February 24 (Fr. Joseph Cox, OSB)
March 28 (Br. Francis Wagner, OSB)
April 28 (Program to be determined)

Other Important Dates
May 18 — Day of Recollection hosted by Dayton Chapter

ARTICLE: Portrait of a Historic Monastic Community

Copyright © 2010 The Center for Christian Ethics at Baylor University
Saint Meinrad Archabbey:
Portrait of a Historic
Monastic Community
By Matthew Mattingly, O.S.B.
through its Benedictine oblate program, Saint Meinrad archabbey builds bridges between the cloister and Chris- tians living in the world. Oblates are living witnesses that centuries-old traditions of monastic prayer, contemplation, and practice can transform the world at a practical level.
Saint Meinrad Archabbey, a Benedictine monastic community of about one hundred men situated in the wooded hills of rural southern Indiana, is a destination for several thousand visitors who come here seeking God each year. Many arrive as retreatants or pilgrims, some as students of the abbey’s School of Theology, others just to visit. Many weekends the abbey church is packed for worship. There might be several large retreats going on at the same time, the seminarians in the school may be joining themonks for Vespers, a group of high school students preparing for Confirmationperhaps is visiting, or it could be a weekend of pilgrimage to the Marian shrine on nearby Monte Cassino hill. On other weekends, by contrast, the church is not so crowded, just a few individuals scattered throughout the guest section: a religious sister here on sabbatical, one of the monastery’s many lay coworkers, a young man making a “come and see” visit to discern if the monastic life may be for him, and always a handful of largely anonymous persons here on private visits, probably just looking for a quiet place to get away and find renewal. Many guests, many reasons for being here, but all of them, whoever they are and whatever their background, find themselves gladly welcomed here as Christ, just as the Rule of Saint Benedict prescribes.
Saint Meinrad Archabbey: Portrait of a Historic Monastic Community 63
People are attracted to Saint Meinrad on account of the restful silence, the beauty of the grounds, the peaceful isolation, the mystery of the monastic cloister, the rhythm and pace of the daily schedule, and the simplicity of life to be found here. But all of these, however much they are to be enjoyed for their own sake, are nonetheless ultimately for the sake of something much larger. People come to Saint Meinrad because it is a place of prayer. They come here seeking God, desiring to experience Christ more deeply in their lives, and they hope that they might somehow be able to tap into the life of prayer and contemplation cultivated so diligently by the monks who live here.
Many who visit Saint Meinrad come away wishing that they could some- how preserve or keep alive the peace and closeness to God they sense when they are here. Of these, a few may perceive that they are being called to become monks themselves. For the great majority, however, that is not a realistic or desirable option; most visitors have already established lives and familiesback home. At the same time, however, they find themselves attracted to thevalues of monastic life and wish that they could somehow integrate these into their own lives away from the monastery. It is for this reason that many choose to affiliate themselves to Saint Meinrad in a special way, by joining the monastery’s chapter of Benedictine oblates.
“I was first drawn by the beauty and peacefulness of Saint Meinrad, as well as by the joy and happiness of the monks [my husband and I] came to know,” recollects Pat Dorn, a long-time oblate from Cincinnati. “I [later] came to realize the opportunity for spiritual growth provided through the structure of the oblate program.” Diane Rivera, an oblate from Bloomington, Indiana, recalls that “prior to knowing that the Benedictine oblate program existed, a friend and I had made a couple of weekend retreats to St. Meinrad and liked returning to the abbey for spiritual refreshment. We were taken by the possibility of something beyond regular church attendance, Bible study, and private prayer.”
A Benedictine oblate, to quote the official oblate manual, is a “Christian whoyearns for a spiritual life deeply rooted in God, and who chooses to attach his or herself to a specific Benedictine community and strives to live the spirit of the Rule of St. Benedict in response to this yearning.” It is a structured program of spirituality that helps those who commit themselves to it to live as closely as possible the life of a monk outside of the cloister in the world. Although many oblates are attracted to the communal aspects of the program, being an oblate is not so much about being part of a group (like belonging
to a parish or to a club, for instance) as it is about embracing a way of living that informs and deepens their understanding of the relationships and activities to which they are already committed.

The oblate program at Saint Meinrad is nearly as old as the abbey itself, and it is closely related to the monastery’s overall mission of “seeking God
64 Monasticism Old and New
and serving the Church.” In 1854, two monks from the ancient Swiss monastery of Einsiedeln arrived in southern Indiana and settled near the banks of the Anderson River. They purchased a large tract of land and established a new monastic community. Their arrival here was prompted by two coinciding factors. Back home in Switzerland, the government at that time had enacted a policy of closing down all religious houses that could not prove their use-
although Benedictine oblates do not take formal vows that are ecclesiastically binding as monks do, they do make commitments to stability of heart, obedience to the will of god, and fidelity to the spirit of the monastic life.
fulness to society. Monas- teries with their focus on prayer and contemplation were especially affected by this, and so Einsiedeln was looking at the possibility of making a foundation in the United States in case the monks should be forced out of their native land. At the same time, the diocese in which the new monas- tery would eventually be founded was actively look- ing for a German-speaking
monastery from Europe to make a foundation in Indiana. Large numbers of German-Catholic immigrants had recently settled in the area, but there were virtually no native clergy able to serve their spiritual needs on account of the language barrier. In addition to providing priests who could help fill the immediate void in pastoral ministry, monasteries were also known traditionally to operate schools and seminaries for the training of new priests. The Abbey of Einsiedeln, fortunately, was never suppressed, but they did respond to the request for a monastic foundation in Indiana by sending over two monks to found what was first known as Saint Meinrad Priory, named after the ninth- century founder of the motherhouse. More monks from Einsiedeln would follow, and many locals joined the new foundation as well. By 1870, Saint Meinrad had grown large enough to be raised to the status of an abbey, independent from the motherhouse in Switzerland. The seminary was success- fully up and running, and many monks from Saint Meinrad served as pastors in local parishes.
In addition to serving the needs of the local church through their outward ministries, Saint Meinrad had also striven to cultivate a strong inner life of prayer and contemplation, which is the foundation of the monastic life. Devo- tion to the liturgy and a strong commitment to developing and promoting the Church’s rich tradition of liturgical music, particularly Gregorian chant, have been a part of the monastery’s mission from the very beginning. Even on the day in 1887 when a devastating fire destroyed most of the newly con- structed buildings at Saint Meinrad, the monks still made it a point to come
Saint Meinrad Archabbey: Portrait of a Historic Monastic Community 65
together and celebrate each of the prescribed hours of the Divine Office. Thisgreat common prayer of the universal Church has been offered here on the “Holy Hill”—as many visitors are fond of calling it—uninterrupted now
for over 156 years. Today, the monks of Saint Meinrad come together in the choir of their church five times a day to offer their praise to God, once for the celebration of the Mass, and also for the morning, midday, evening, and nighttime offices of the Liturgy of the Hours. In addition, time is set aside each day for private Scripture reading, following an ancient practice known as 
lectio divina (literally, “divine reading”). All the other works of the mon- astery—the School of Theology, the Guest House/Retreat Center, the Abbey Press, Abbey Caskets, parish ministry, and the many other works and min- istries that individual monks are involved in—all flow out of this deeply cultivated life of prayer, worship, and contemplation.
It is natural that others would be attracted to the monastery on account of the spiritual life to be found here, and that some might want to attach themselves to Saint Meinrad in a deeper and more committed way. On that account, the oblate program at Saint Meinrad was founded in 1879, on thetwenty-fifth anniversary of the abbey’s founding. At first it was limited mostlyto students and alumni of the school and to a few locals, but following the Second World War, and a nationwide resurgence of interest in monastic spirituality, Saint Meinrad’s oblate program experienced exponential growth. Today Saint Meinrad Archabbey boasts of having over 1,200 oblates active in the program, many of whom are members in one of the twenty affiliated local chapters scattered across the country. There are oblate chapters in places as large as New York City, population seven million, and as tiny as the town of St. Meinrad itself, population five hundred.
Oblates are attracted and committed to the program for a variety of reasons. Many cite the order and structure that it has given to their personal spiritual life. “I needed to find more order in my life—structure without the ruts or potholes that tend to develop over time,” recalls George Thompson of Louisville, Kentucky. “The oblate program has provided a good centering device for me. The [chapter] meetings in Louisville and the gatherings at Saint Meinrad help to bring me back in line, to refocus on what is important.” “They [fellow oblates] help to pull me back to the center of the path of my journey.”
Although oblates do not take formal vows that are ecclesiastically binding as monks do, they do make three commitments that mirror the formal monastic vows of stability of place to one’s monastery, obedience to one’s abbot, andfidelity to the monastic way of life. The oblate promises stability of heartobedienceto the will of God, and fidelity to the spirit of the monastic life. Stability of heart means, on the one hand, that the oblate promises to be faithful to the values and culture of their affiliated monastery, and, on the other, faithful to the way of life that they are already committed to, especially their family and
66 Monasticism Old and New
faith community. Obedience to the will of God is fostered through prayer and Scripture reading that sharpens the ability to see the presence of the Word in the needs of one’s family and community. Fidelity to the spirit of the monastic life means that the oblate works to integrate the principles and values of the Rule of Saint Benedict into their daily lives.
Out of these general promises flows the program of specific duties that an oblate commits him- or
in a society increasingly obsessed with doing and achieving and solving problems, monas- ticism is a powerful witness that the outcome of our world, its successes and failures, does not lie ultimately in our human efforts, but rather belongs to god.
herself to following faith- fully. These include: praying daily at least the morning and evening office of the Liturgy of the Hours; prac- ticing lectio divina regularly, including a daily reading from the Rule of Saint Bene- dict; being active members of their own church com- munity (oblates do not have to be Catholics; the program is open to committed Chris- tians of any denomination); and being actively attentive
of God’s presence in his or her ordinary daily life. “I know that by disciplining myself to follow the Rule, saying the Liturgy of the Hours, lectio divina, and attending the periodic meetings, I am slowly growing in holiness. I feel certain that my life has more meaning now as I strive for daily renewal and persever- ance,” says Carl Schneider about his experience.
Apart from the structure that the program provides, others find that beingpart of a larger community, wider than their own local church, is the mostmeaningful aspect of being an oblate. Diane Rivera finds that “the communityaspect of coming together with other oblates to learn, to share, and to pray is very satisfying and faith-building.” “It fulfills a longing I have to give myself to God, and to be spiritually nourished outside of, and in addition to, my parish life.” For Sharon Ogden, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the most important thing is the spiritual friendship that has been fostered within her chapter. “We are a diverse group, many different ages, but we all feel con- nected. We pray for one another and care about one another.”
In addition to several general oblate meetings and retreats conducted at Saint Meinrad each year, the local chapters typically hold their own meetings about once a month. Occasionally, perhaps several times a year, a monk from Saint Meinrad will be present to give a talk. The Oblate Director andhis assistants try to give focus to these meetings by having a specific monastictopic that serves as the theme to build discussion and reflection around for the entire year.
Saint Meinrad Archabbey: Portrait of a Historic Monastic Community 67
Finally, others see the connection with the abbey itself and its monks as the most important aspect of being an oblate. “The monks are like family,” says Pat Dorn. “They pray for us and we for them.” “When [my husband and I] go to Saint Meinrad, I experience the same sense of joy and excitement that I felt as a child when my parents took us to Indiana to visit my grandparents. It is a homecoming.” Suzy Kalmar from Dayton, Ohio, is “comforted by the idea that the monks are praying for me and for all the oblates, as I am praying forthem. I am also edified by the experience of belonging to something so muchlarger than myself. There is a timelessness about it all; like the Church itself.”
The spiritual benefits of the Benedictine oblate program are not just limitedto the oblates themselves. They add something real and valuable to the monas-tic life itself as lived at Saint Meinrad. “Our oblates are an important reflectionof our prayer and work as monks in the monastery,” offers Brother Francis Wagner, O.S.B. “They are very committed to [Saint Benedict’s] vision—even more so than I sometimes am—and their own fidelity strengthens mine.” Father Meinrad Brune, O.S.B., Director of Oblates at Saint Meinrad, echoes this when he says that “the witness of the oblates living the Benedictine values in the world strengthens the monks’ love and appreciation for our spiritual life as Benedictines.” He adds that “the oblates remind the monks of their own goodness and uniqueness.”
The relationship between a monastery and its oblates, however, runs deeper than just the mutual support they provide for one another’s spiritual lives. Monasteries serve a real and vital need within the life of the institutional Church as well as the world at large, and Benedictine oblates contribute inan essential way to the fulfillment of this mission. In a society that is increas- ingly obsessed with doing and achieving and solving problems, monasticism remains a powerful witness that the outcome of our world, its successes and failures, does not lie ultimately in our own human efforts and intentions, but rather belongs to God. The monastic life, through its commitment to prayer and contemplation, helps to keep a line of communication open and a space free for the Word of God to do its work in the world. In many ways, the oblates might be seen as the agents of the monastery working silently
in the world. As Edward L. Shaughnessy puts it in his history of the oblate program at Saint Meinrad, “Benedictine oblates are men and women who strive to live a contemplative life in the world. The vocation calls forth no deep commitment to move the Catholic Church’s social or liturgical agenda.”
1Benedictine spirituality is not about changing the outward structures of the world, but about renewing them from within by allowing God to transform the interior lives of the individuals who participate in them.
People often ask, what is the difference between a monk and a layperson in the Church? How does the spirituality of someone living in the cloister differ from that of those living in the world? Ultimately, nothing. All Christians are
68 Monasticism Old and New
called to pursue the same goal of building up the kingdom of God here on earth in preparation for the eternal kingdom of the life to come. The differ- ence is in how each way of life contributes to this.
A monk or a nun is someone who has been called out of the world to live a Christian life at a level of intensity impossible for someone living in it who has to be concerned with running a household, raising a family, managing a career, and other practicalities of daily living. The lay Christian, on the other hand, is called to be a follower of Christ in the world and a witness to it ofthe truth of the Christian faith. Lay Christians are often able to find inspirationand spiritual guidance from those who have dedicated their lives fully to pursuing a life of prayer. The role of the Benedictine oblate, perhaps, is that of a bridge between the life of the cloister and that of the ordinary Christian living in the world. Oblates are living witnesses that centuries-old traditions of monastic prayer, contemplation, and practice truly are capable of transform- ing the world at a practical level. Their lives can serve as an example and an inspiration for all those who will never have the opportunity to pray and worship with the monks here on the “Holy Hill” at Saint Meinrad Archabbey.2
1 Edward L. Shaughnessy, The Benedictine Oblates of Saint Meinrad Archabbey: A Brief History, 1879-1999 (Saint Meinrad, IN: Abbey Press, 2000), 55.
2 For more information about the Benedictine oblate program at Saint Meinrad Archab- bey, see
Matthew MattiNgly, o.s.B.
is Retreat Director at Saint Meinrad Archabbey in St. Meinrad, Indiana.

April 2018 Newsletter

The April meeting will be held this coming Sunday, April 22, in the St. Joseph Room of the St. Gertrude Parish Center at 2:00 p.m. Have you done your homework? Br. Francis Wagner will return to collect on the assignment he gave us in September—watching the movie Gran Torino and discussing the questions he assigned relating to this movie. This meeting will be our last until September.

Kathy Goeckner gave a very moving testimony at the March meeting about her journey to becoming a Benedictine Oblate. A copy of her witness is attached.

Congratulations to Mark & Mandie Melron who made their investiture on March 24 at Saint Meinrad Archabbey! We look forward to celebrating with them on Sunday and hearing all about their experience at Saint Meinrad. We welcome them to our Chapter and look forward to accompanying them on their journey to oblation.

REMINDER: Please do not forget to send in your reservation for the Oblate Day
of Recollection in Columbus on Saturday, June 22. Fr. Joseph Cox is the presenter;
the topic of his talk is “Prayer: Our Conversation with God.” Reservations are due by May 15. A registration form was sent to you several weeks ago, but I have also attached it to this newsletter.

Last, but not least, please remember to bring your book donations for the Holy Cross Monastery in Beaumont, Texas to the meeting with you on Sunday. Bob & Melinda Reckers will pick them up at our house when they come to town in May.

April 22, 2018 Meeting — 2:00 p.m.
St. Gertrude Parish Center – Madeira, Ohio

  1. Reading of Mission Statement
  2. Vespers
  3. Lectio Divina
  4. Minutes of March 25, 2018 Meeting
  5. Treasurer’s Report
  6. Old/New Business
  7. Program
    Guest Speaker: Br. Francis Wagner, OSB Topic: Discussion of Homework on
    the Movie “Gran Torino”
  8. Adjournment & Closing Prayer

    Oblate Anniversaries
    Congratulations to the following oblates who are celebrating their anniversaries in April, May, June and July.
    4/9 Kathy Gloeckner (15 yrs.) 4/9 Joan Hilton (9 yrs.)
    4/28 Eric Kenny (5 yrs.)
    4/28 Mark Caldwell-Reiss (5 yrs.)

    5/8 Susan Anderson (56 yrs.)
    5/18 Ron DeMarco (5 yrs.)
    6/15 Steve Drees (7 yrs.)
    6/15 Margaret Sherlock (7 yrs.) 6/17 Steve Bay (9 yrs.)

    7/26 David Annabel (7 yrs.)

March 2018 Minutes

Cincinnati Oblates' Meeting March 25, 2018

Ron DeMarco opened the meeting with the blessing from Archabbot Kurt for Lenten Bona Opera. We then introduced ourselves, followed by reading the Mission Statement. Vespers and Lectio Divina were next. The scripture for lectio was Psalm 32, not the gospel for Palm Sunday, and Ron read RB Chapter 7: 44-48, the fifth step of humility, as related to the psalm. Br. Francis suggested Chapter 49:7 for us.

Attendance: Linda & Nick McCarroll, Ron DeMarco, Clyde & Pat Dorn, Peyton & Mary Louise Reed, John Campbell, Kathy Gloeckner, Linda Faulhaber, Bob Gloeckner, Shari Banks

The minutes of the February meeting were approved.

Nick reported $679 in the treasury, after paying Fr. Joseph for the February meeting.

Old Business: Brother Francis, our oblate dean, will return in April and will lead us in discussion about his assignment to us last September. We are to watch the movie “Gran Torino” and consider the questions he wrote. Peyton answered questions about his testimony from last month and offered to loan two books by Cardinal Sarah.

We were reminded of salvation coming in community, not as individuals.

New Business: Net month will be our last meeting until September. The Day of Reflection will be in Columbus on June 2. Meetings will continue with lectio and a related part of the Rule, and personal testimonies about what it means to be an oblate and how we live out our vocations as oblates in our daily lives. Through these testimonies we get to know each other, building community.

Bob and Melinda Reckers, members of our chapter who now live in Texas, meeting with oblates at Holy Cross Monastery in Beaumont, report that the monastery lost over 2,000 books in the hurricane last September. They will be here in May, and will pick up books that we donate (or cash). We can bring books to the April meeting and Pat and Clyde will take care of them.

Kathy Gloeckner gave a very moving testimony, which was well received.

Following a directive from Janis, the monastery, and the 4th World Congress of Benedictine Oblates, we spent considerable time looking over and discussing possible themes for the 5th World Congress. Each chapter was to do this, and to rank them in importance, with comments. To accomplish our goal, we each submitted a copy of the list with our rankings and comments to Ron, who will collate them and send in our chapter summary. This project was given very short notice and had to be completed the day of the meeting.

We closed with and Our Father and social time. Submitted by Mary Louise Reed

March 2018 Newsletter

March 18, 2018
By Pat Dorn

The March meeting will be held on Sunday, March 25, at 2:00 p.m. in the St. Joseph Room of the St. Gertrude Parish Center. The program for this meeting we will be a continuation of the witness/reflections of our oblates with Kathy Gloeckner sharing how becoming a Benedictine Oblate has been helpful to her in her everyday and spiritual life.

A copy of the wonderful reflection given by Peyton Reed at the February meeting entitled Come for the Psalms, Stay for the Silence, is enclosed. Enjoy!

We want to express our thanks and appreciation to Susan Anderson for all the many times she has volunteered to take the minutes of our Chapter meetings in the past. Thank you, Susan, you have performed a wonderful service for our chapter! Thanks also to Mary Louise Reed for volunteering to replace Susan as our secretary.

PLEASE MARK YOUR CALENDARS: The is sponsored by the Columbus/Lancaster Chapter this year and will be held in Columbus on . Registration and program information will be provided as soon as it is available to us.

REMINDER: On Wednesday, March 21, we celebrate the first of two feast days honoring St. Benedict—The Passing of Blessed Father Benedict. (The second—Our Blessed Father Benedict—is celebrated on July 11.) Oblates have an opportunity to earn a Plenary Indulgence on these days by fulfilling the following conditions: 1) Confession, 2) receiving Holy Communion, and 3) praying for the intentions of the Holy Father. In addition, oblates should renew, at least privately, their promise to faithfully observe the promise of their way of life.
Greater Cincinnati Chapter

Ohio Day of Recollection
See you at the meeting on Sunday, March 25!

February 2018 Minutes

Cincinnati Oblate Chapter Minutes February 25, 2018

Attendance: Nick McCarroll, Linda McCarroll, John Rasche, Clyde Dorn, Pat Dorn, Margaret Sherlock, John Campbell, Susan Hundley, Eric Kenny, Peyton Reed, Mary Louise Reed, Mark Milliron, Shari Banks, Bob Gloeckner, Fr. Joseph Cox,OSB

We began with prayer, reading the Mission Statement, Second Vespers of Sunday, Week 2, introductions, and Lectio Dvina. Pat Dorn was the leader, since Ron DeMarco had recent surgery and wasn't able to attend. We signed a card for him, and were also asked to pray for Kathy Gloeckner, who was not well.

Minutes of both the November 19 and January 28 meetings were approved.Treasurer's report: Nick McCarroll reported a balance of $736.

Old Business: None

New Business: Pat Dorn still sends e-mails to those members who can receive them, and
letters to others.

Program: Peyton Reed gave a reflective testimony of his entry into oblate life, relating it to the portion of the Rule assigned for the day. He also recommended to us a book by Robert Cardinal Sarah, The Power of Silence, Against the Dictatorship of Noise. (Ignatius Press) There were favorable comments, as we remembered Mary, pondering all things in her heart. Clyde Dorn shared a favorite verse, “Be still and know that I am God.”

We discussed briefly ways to share books with each other at future meetings. And were reminded that the Oblate Library at St. Meinrad is available to us. We can borrow books and bring them back, or mail them back in a padded envelope.

Fr. Joseph's PresentationMercy, as contained in the Rule of St. Benedict

Chapters 4,7,53, and 64 talk about mercy.
Chapter 4 “The Tools for Good Works” reminds us to “never lose hope in God's mercy”. Chapter 7 “Humility” tells us to humbly confess our faults, remembering that God's mercy endures forever. Humility and truth are companions. The struggles we hide are the ones that consume us.

Chapter 53 “The reception of guests” (and chapter 66 “The Porter”). The visitor is a carrier of mercy; we acknowledge the gifts the visitor brings. The porter's “Thanks be to God” tells that we have another opportunity to greet Christ.

Chapter 64 “The election of an abbot” is a theology of authority, leadership, parenting. Themes are: let mercy triumph over judgment; stewardship is taking care of things with respect and reverence; mercy is used three times, prudence twice. In considering removing the rust but not breaking the vessel, there is a sense in which each person is a Eucharistic vessel. Authority is sacred.

Fr. Joseph reminded us that Pope Francis says, “Mercy changes everything.” and that morality is not a never falling down, but always getting up again, and that words from Jesus are never condemning. He closed by encouraging us to allow ourselves to be loved by Jesus and to be agents of mercy for others.

In answer to a question from Mary Louise Reed, he told us that the oblate deans are assigned different geographical areas. The deans are himself, Br. Zachary, Br. Guerric, and our dean Br. Francis.

Closing: We closed the meeting by praying Our Father together and then enjoying a social time.

Submitted by Mary Louise Reed

February 2018 Newsletter

February 17, 2018
by Pat Dorn

Our Sunday, February 25 meeting will be held, as usual, in the St. Joseph Room of the St. Gertrude Parish Center beginning at 2:00 p.m.  Please feel free to bring a guest.  

The Agenda for this meeting is below.  The program for this meeting will be a witness/reflection given by Oblate Peyton Reed, followed by questions and discussion.  Also, you will be pleased to know that Fr. Joseph Cox emailed me that he will be attending our meeting on the 25!  It will be wonderful to see him again.

I have attached a copy of Steve Drees’ Witness/Reflection that was read by Mary Louise Reed at our January meeting for the benefit of those who were not present as well as for those of you who would like to reflect further on Steve’s experiences as an Oblate of Saint Meinrad.

Mark and Mandie Milliron will be invested as Oblate Novices during the March Oblate Retreat at Saint Meinrad held March 20-22.  If you have not yet made your reservations and would like to be there to welcome them to our Chapter, please do so soon before the rooms fill up.  

Ron DeMarco will be undergoing surgery on his shoulder on February 22. Please pray for a successful surgery and speedy recovery.  We will miss you at the meeting, Ron.


February 25, 2018 Meeting
St. Gertrude Parish Center   2:00 p.m.

I.           Reading of Mission Statement
II.         Vespers
III.       Lectio Divina
IV.       Minutes of November 19, 2017 and       January 28, 2018 Meetings
V.         Treasurer’s Report
VI.       Old/New Business
VII.      Program:  Witness/Reflection by Oblate Peyton Reed 

Adjournment & Closing Prayer

January 2018 Minutes

Cincinnati Oblate Chapter Minutes
January 28, 2018

Attendance: NickMcCarroll,LindaMcCarroll,LindaFaulhaber,KathyGloeckner,RonLillie, Pauline Cantrell, John Campbell, Mandie Milliron, Mark Milliron, Pat Dorn, Clyde Dorn, Peyton Reed, John Rasche, Susan Anderson, Ron DeMarco, Mary Louise Reed.

Prayer, introductions, and the reading of the Mission Statement opened our meeting. Second Sunday Vespers of Week Four was chanted together. Lectio Divina was shared together using Mark 1:21-28. November and January Minutes will be sent with the February newsletter. Nick McCarroll states that our current balance is now $684.00.

Old Business: Ron reminded us of Br. Francis’ request to review the “Gran Torino” film and questions about redemption from anger for our April meeting. Oblate packets were handed out at the November 26 meeting Pat & Ron had with the St. Cecelia group, and we welcomed the Millirons from St. Cecelia who joined us at our meeting today as a result.

New Business: Ron suggested Oblates give witness talks, and Kathy Gloeckner and Peyton Reed agreed to do this for our February meeting.

Program: Mary Louise Reed read Oblate Steve Drees’ witness statement that he wrote while on retreat at St. Andrew’s Abbey in Valermo, CA. Steve now lives in Las Vegas because of business and gives powerful witness as a business executive who integrates work and prayer. Steve is now studying online at St. Leo’s Abbey for ministry and is considering studying for the Diaconate. Steve began his spiritual journey at Gethsemani retreats and visited Saint Meinrad on the recommendation of a monk at Gethsemani. He appreciates the learning of a balanced and God-centered life that he connects to his spiritual home at Saint Meinrad.

Pat requested a copy of Steve’s reflection which she plans to send with the February newsletter.

Closing: Praying the Our Father together and social time closed our meeting.Submitted by Susan Anderson