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Seeking God as a Benedictine Oblate

If you have a desire to seek God through prayer and community, please join us at 1 pm on August 19th at St. Gertrude Monastery (25 Gender Road, Newark DE 19713) to learn about the Oblates of St. Benedict and who we are.

On that day you will meet the Oblate Director and Dean, as well as some current oblate members, tour the monastery, learn what it means to be an oblate and begin a discussion about the Rule of St. Benedict.

If you are interested in learning more about Benedictine Oblates, please RSVP via phone or email to Sr. Marylou Robino, OSB (phone: 302-416-0459 email: by Saturday, August 12.

St. Gertude Monastery

Oblate News



January, 2020

Sister Catherine Godfrey, prioress, recently installed Cynthia Ingram as the first dean of the Benedictine Oblates.

Cyndy will now be in charge of the St. Gertrude Deanery in Ridgely, Maryland. It will be her responsibility to plan and chair meetings, be responsible for the formation of new people interested in becoming oblates, and keep the Oblate Director informed of all matters pertaining to the St. Gertrude Deanery.

Cyndy has been an oblate since 2000 and has worked very closely with present as well as past oblate directors.

Deanery, Ridgely, MD  Meets 9:30am, second Saturdays*, Sept. through May at St. Benedict's Church in Ridgely, MD

Newark Oblates  Meet 10am, first Saturdays*, Sept. through May at St. Gertrude Monastery in Newark, DE.

*Generally.  Meeting dates subject to change (check calendar.)

The Angelus, Jean-Francois Millet

Ridgely Oblate Meeting

Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019


Visio Divina


Kathy Penniston-Smith, Obl.OSB


How to Pray

  • Prepare:  close your eyes, breathe, clear your mind.

  • Lectio (read): open your eyes and scan the image. Note what draws your interest, but continue to scan the whole image. Close and rest your eyes for a minute.

  • Meditatio (meditate): open your eyes and let your eyes be led. Focus on just this part of the image and name it. Close your eyes, seeing that piece of the image in your mind.

  • Oratio (pray): open your eyes and look again at the piece of the image that caught your eye.  Allow it to bring forth a word, image, or emotion.  Close and rest your eyes.

  • Contemplatio (contemplation): open your eyes and gaze at the image. What is God speaking to you today through this image?

Book Discussion 2019-2020

Oblates of St. Gertrude Deanery, Ridgely


When St. Benedict formed his first small community of monks at Monte Cassino on the hilltop, Italy--and much of Europe--was ravaged by war. The Roman Empire was breaking apart, and politics, cultural life, and even the Church, were all in disarray. In the midst of these tumultuous times, Benedict offered his followers a “little rule,” a guide about the size of a checkbook, that showed his monks the way to peace as they learned to prefer Christ above all things.

Though it was written nearly 1500 years ago, the Rule of Benedict still offers the practical tools for living a Christ-centered today. Here in St. Benedict’s Toolbox, readers will find a primer on how to use these tools in their own tumultuous lives. Each chapter examines one aspect of the Rule, from ways of praying to ways of embracing humility, and offers suggestions for prayer, reflection, journaling, and action. As they learn to use Benedict’s tools, readers will discover the power--and the timeliness--of this ancient way of life.

sacred rhythm.jpg

Oblate Book Discussion for 2018-2019

Sacred Rhythms: The Monastic Way Every Day

Br. Francis de Sales Wagner, O.S.B., Saint Meinrad Archabbey 


A compilation of reflections under the themes of prayer, work, faithfulness, and conversion, these meditations showcase the knowledge of religious and lay authors familiar with the Benedictine way of life.

Authors include Fr. Michael Casey, O.C.S.O, Kathleen Norris, Sr. Joan Chittister, O.S.B., Fr. Dwight Longenecker, Sr. Laura Swan, O.S.B., and Fr. Joel Rippinger, O.S.B., among many others. Together, they demonstrate that the Benedictine way of life has modern relevance in a world starved for the sacred rhythms that connect the dots in everyday.

NA Regional Oblate Meeting

St. Benedict Monastery, Bristow, VA

reg 3 oblates in bristow.jpg

2017 - 2018

Saturday, April 14

Oblate Meeting

Anne Sanders, Obl. OSB

The Divine Office

"Making Time for Prayer"

The Rule of St. Benedict

Chapters 8-20

Power Point Presentation Video

Day of Reflection

Saturday, May 19th

Mercy and The Rule

Sister Johanna Burley

St. Benedict Monastery, Bristow, VA

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Oblate Meeting

Bob Jacobs, Obl. OSB

The  Rule and a

Lesson on Stability

Take a moment today to welcome the changing you.

Take a moment today to stand still, aware of the ground beneath you and possibilities that surround you.

Take a moment today to welcome instability.

Oblate Schola

Directed by

Sr. Marylou Robino, leading the community in Morning Praise

Oblate Sunday Meeting

February 11, 2018

Oblate Lecture

On Chapter 7 of the Rule of Saint Benedict, Humility

By Kathy Pennington-Smith,

Obl, OSB

February 11, 2018

After Morning Praise, we celebrate Mass then the sisters and Oblates share time and refreshments before the Oblate Lecture 

Oblate Sunday Meeting

February 11, 2018

 January 2018

Oblate Meeting

The first meeting at St. Benedict's in Ridgely.  The Oblates are preparing for future meetings that will be held outside of the monastery as the sisters plan their move north.


As always, they begin with Morning Praise and mass.  This time, in the small chapel of the parish church.

World Congress of Benedictine oblates

2 of our Oblates represented our community at the Fourth World Congress of Benedictine Oblates in Rome this year.  Kathy Penniston-Smith and Anne Sanders joined nearly 200 other Oblates from 117 monasteries around the world.

The theme of the conference was The Benedictine Community in Movement.  Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB, the keynote speaker said, Oblates are meant to be carriers of the Benedictine tradition, not consumers. 


Attendees discussed and considered the challenges and the relationship of Oblates with their monastic communities, with each other and within the communities where they live.  Laudato Si was discussed at length, as was how we currently incorporate it and other social justice issues in our communities- as Oblates and in our every  day lives.

The beginning of a mission statement was developed based on feedback from the international community gathered in Rome; attendees were tasked to return to their home communities for discussion and input. The statement includes the following:

  • The Rule as our living tradition

  • Listening through prayer and contemplation

  • Oblate formation to ensure the future

  • The Oblate as the good steward

  • Oblates are networked

Sacred Reading

Book study for 2017 and 2018

Norvene Vest

Preferring Christ

"The Rule of St. Benedict continues to attract those who seek to live a deeper life, connected to Christ. But with such an ancient text, how can we authentically engage St. Benedict’s Rule in a manner that is true to its profound insights―and to our own spiritual journey? Norvene Vest suggests that the answer lies in the way we read the Rule. “It shouldn’t be studied like a book of regulations, or a school textbook. It should be read as lectio divina.”

This profound yet very practical volume speaks to our urgent spiritual need. People yearn for an interior life deeply rooted in God, humanly balanced, and substantially founded in the Christian heritage. Vest offers a valuable resource by rendering much more accessible the spiritual wealth of the key text of the ancient Benedictine charism. Here is the solid, balanced wisdom that has nourished and guided innumerable Christians for nearly fifteen centuries."     (description from Amazon)

Our Oblate Community
Oblate Nametags
Morning Praise with Sisters
The Rule of Saint Benedict
Sr. Mary Lou Robino
St. Benedict Medal
Sunday Talk
A Pilgrims Blessing
Lunch with the Sisters
Sr. Mary Lou Robino
Dining Room/Community Room
Gathering for Prayer and Mass
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