Gertrude’s Oblate Program Celebrates 20th Anniversary
The sisters of the Monastery of St. Gertrude are celebrating the 20th anniversary of their Oblate Program this year. In 1988 eight men and women responded to the sisters’ invitation to share in the life and ministry of the monastery in a deeper way. They felt a deep connection to the sisters and wanted a more formal way to live out that relationship. The sisters welcomed these “eager eight” as the first extended members of the monastery. Later the name was changed to “oblates”, a term with a long history that means “someone who makes an offering of themselves.”
Over the years more and more oblates have committed themselves to the Monastery of St. Gertrude in this way. They include men and women, single and married, Catholic and Protestant and they promise to live out the values of the monastery, especially healing hospitality, grateful simplicity and creative peacemaking, in their everyday life.
Oblates gather together in local groups on a regular basis to pray, study Benedictine spirituality, have fellowship and support the sisters in whatever ways they can. There are groups in Puget Sound, Spokane, Coeur d’Alene, Moscow/Pullman, Lewiston, Boise, and the local community. The oblates convene three times a year at the monastery for retreats and meetings to deepen their faith and commitment. Currently there are over 60 active oblates, most living in Idaho or Washington.
According to Prioress Clarissa Goeckner, the oblates have become an integral part of St. Gertrude’s. “Not only do they learn from us but their inquiries, insights and actions influence us as they serve on committees, help with our annual Raspberry Festival and volunteer in a variety of ways. It is hard to imagine our life without them. We are very grateful for their presence and contributions to us in the last 20 years and look forward to the future as the oblates continue as part of our community.”
Jeannette Kelley, one of the original eight members, serves as Co-coordinator of the Oblate Program, along with Sr. Teresa Jackson. Reflecting on the last 20 years she said, “Being an oblate of the Monastery of St. Gertrude has enriched my life beyond measure. Attempting to live the Rule of St. Benedict in my own life as a lay woman is both challenging and rewarding. While each oblate comes from a different life situation, each one of us feels God’s blessing in our mutual relationship with the sisters.”
For more information about the Oblate Program please contact Jeannette Kelley or Sr. Teresa Jackson at email@example.com or visit us on the web at www.StGertrudes.org.
The implementation of our new 2008 - 2020 Strategic Plan is a major highlight of the Monastery of St. Gertrude’s Centennial “Celebrating 100 Years ‘at Home’ in Idaho”. We are addressing six goals, focusing on three or four strategies each year, as an achievable way to implement our new Vision Statement by 2020. One of these goals is to grow a vibrant monastic community which includes expanding membership of the sisters, the oblates and the volunteers to create one, mutually enhancing, community of prayer and ministry. Learn more and download our 2008 – 2009 Strategic Plan Brochure at www.StGertrudes.org/Community/Mission_Vision.htm.