The 4th World Congress of Benedictine Oblates continued with Mass celebrated by Emeritus Abbot Primate Notker Wolf, OSB. Originally from the Benedictine Archabbey of St. Ottilien, Wolf served as the ninth Abbot Primate from 2000-2016 and was the initiator of the World Oblate Congresses. He has written many books, speaks a number of languages and is a well-known musician, playing everything from classical to jazz. He graced us with a beautiful thank you gift by playing his flute at a special luncheon in his honor.
I was blessed to meet Abbot Notker at Christ the King Priory in Schuyler just a few months ago. Upon his retirement, he was gifted with a trip around the world to visit monasteries that had supported his ministries through the years. I was struck by how friendly and joy-filled he is. When we met again at the Congress, his hands were full so he said, “I cannot hug you, but I give you a kiss instead.” And he kissed my cheek. A very kind man, indeed, with a heart for oblates.
“Friendship is at the heart of the relationship with the monastery.” –Charles Van Leeuwen, Oblate of Monastère Saint-André de Clerlande, Belgium
In panel discussions and poster sharing, we hear from oblates around the world including the Netherlands, South Korea, Philippines, Vietnam, the Ivory Coast in Africa and from Illinois and Pennsylvania in the United States. Prayer and work are the touchstones of these monasteries—a devotion to praying the Psalms, listening, practicing simplicity, humility, stability, and balance while remaining committed to conversatio morum, building community and helping those in need including the homeless, prisoners, abused, mentally ill and the poor.
A highlight of the conference was hearing Keynote Speaker, Joan Chittister, who believes that oblates are the future of the Benedictine order. Nuggets of wisdom throughout her speech included: Continue reading “4th World Congress of Benedictine Oblates, part 2”