Ora et Labora with Benedictine Oblates

Last Saturday we welcomed our Oblates (lay women and men who live St. Benedict’s Rule in their own married or single lives) to the monastery for their annual Retreat Day. This year’s theme was Ora et Labora, or Pray and Work. We spent the morning praying and reflecting, and the afternoon doing … you guessed it! Work!

It was a taste for the Oblates of our everyday life.

Benedictine life is organized around the principle of Prayer and Work. Although in practice we don’t separate them – that is, we follow St. Paul’s exhortation to pray always, as well as Benedict’s teaching to combine work with contemplation – we do gather for communal prayer at designated times throughout the day. Saturday found us gathering with the Oblates first for group Lectio Divina, then for a reflection presented by one of our Oblates on work-life balance, and finally for Lauds.

After lunch, we got to work. Lucky for me and my preschoolers!

A group of Oblates helped me cut and color all kinds of wall art, cards and other paper tools. It was great. We were able to replace many items lost in last year’s flood, as well as make flashcards for each child to take home for homework.

It was a tremendous help and joy. Thanks to the Oblates’ labora, I should have most of what I need for my classroom through December. And we had a wonderful time of sharing and laughing. YAY!!!!

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