Over 40 Benedictine oblates and sisters from around the world will gather at the Monastery of St. Gertrude in Cottonwood, Idaho, Oct. 7-13, for the first ever Oblates for the Future Symposium.

Throughout the week attendees will explore such topics as the history of oblates, oblate leadership, greater oblate participation in monasteries, oblate formation and oblates developing a vision of the future. The symposium will offer a combination of keynote speakers, facilitated discussions, break-out sessions and time for informal networking and visioning with Benedictine oblates from across North America and Europe.

Oblates are lay associates of monasteries. Oblates are united in their shared commitment to Benedictine values and fidelity to the particular monastery with which each is associated.  They don’t make religious vows but rather “oblation” an ancient Latin term that means “to offer”.  They may be married or single, men or women, of any Christian denomination. The goal of the symposium is to envision a how oblates can become a more integral part of Benedictine, monastic life in the future.

“In embracing oblates as people with a different, yet vital Benedictine vocation our world will be made new,” explains Sister Teresa Jackson of the Monastery of St. Gertrude, one of the organizers of the Symposium. “The oblate vocation only adds to the amazing accomplishments of our monasteries and our forbearers. To acknowledge the depth of the call of Benedictine oblates today is simply to acknowledge that Benedictine life and vocations are not in decline, but are actually alive and thriving in new ways.”

Other keynote speakers include Sister Mary Forman, PhD, prioress of the Monastery of St Gertrude; Jody Kilcup, PhD, an oblate affiliated with Mt. Angel Abbey in Oregon; Janis Dopp, director of oblates at St. Meinrad’s Arch Abbey in Indiana and Dr. Charles van Leeuwen, PhD, of the Netherlands.

For further information contact Nikki Nordstrom OblSB at nikki@stgertrudes.org or call 425-949-9744.