Become an Oblate

Our lay members are known as oblates.

Oblates are men and women, married or single, of any Christian denomination, who closely associate themselves with the Center for Benedictine Life at the  Monastery of St. Gertrude through an initiation process and formal oblation (promise). There are nearly 100 oblates of the Center for Benedictine Life, living 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 St. Benedict and the lived example of the entire Center for Benedictine Life community.

Oblates meet regularly in local area groups, and at the monastery, 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 Center for Benedictine Life, oblates take an active participatory role in areas such as monastery committees and retreat ministry. Oblates also volunteer where needed: the kitchen, garden, museum, library, monastery offices, and during liturgies.

The Oblate Community has nine area groups:

  • Treasure Valley (Boise, Idaho area)
  • Prairie (Cottonwood, Idaho area)
  • Lewiston, Idaho
  • Palouse (Moscow, Idaho and Pullman, Washington area)
  • McCall, Idaho
  • Spokane, Washington
  • North Idaho (Coeur d’Alene area)
  • Big Sky (Western Montana)
  • Puget Sound, Washington

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 Center for Benedictine Life is modeled after the process of initiation into the monastic community as developed in the Rule of St. Benedict and through monastic tradition.

  • First: one would become a Guest of an oblate area group and attend an Inquiry Day at the Center for Benedictine Life. You would become acquainted with oblates in your local area group and be introduced to the fundamentals of Benedictine spirituality as lived by the sisters and oblates of the Monastery of St. Gertrude. Listen: it is a time of introduction.
  • Second: become an Inquirer. This is a time to become acquainted with the cenobitic and oblate communities through visits to the monastery and participation in oblate activities. It is an opportunity to deepen one’s personal prayer life and continue in  local ministry. Listen and observe: it is a time for gathering information.
  • Third: as an Oblate Novice, one learns more about Benedictine spirituality through formal study, regular sharing, and participation in the liturgy and work of the monastery. The novice communicates regularly with a mentor while discerning oblation. Listen and learn: it is a time for formation.
  • Fourth: as an Oblate, live out the Benedictine spirit and continue  contact with the Center for Benedictine Life community. Engagement in service will reflect the monastery’s mission in one’s local situation. Listen and live: it is a lifetime of transformation.

Let us know if you would like more information about becoming an oblate…