UK Oblates National Online Retreat

‘ Walking with St Benedict’


UKOT Oblates National Advent Online Retreat/Day of Reflection Saturday 4th December 2021.


Led by Father Stuart Chalmers, Spiritual Director of Scots College, Salamanca.

‘Mutual Longing: God and His Creation.’  The  day was well attended by 22 oblates from all over the country including Guernsey, with one from France. Neil Zoladkiewicz was the host with Roddy Maddocks providing technical assistance. Father Stuart’s talks from Spain were rich in content and finely presented, drawing from a wealth of sources that included The Rule, Scripture, Teresa of Avila, St Catherine of Siena, Cistercian monk Michael Casey and Pope Benedict XV1, giving oblates plenty to discuss in the break-out rooms, with lectio divina, meditation and prayer filling in the day.

NEIL ZOLADKIEWICZ, Oblate of Ealing Abbey and Treasurer of the U.K. Oblate Team, has recently published a new blog on the Oblate life. It will be an occasional series of short reflections. Details and the link are here:

OBLATE: A Benedictine In The World – Oblate Neil Zoladkiewicz reflects upon trying to live a Benedictine lifestyle in our world.

UK Oblates National Online Retreat

‘ Walking with St Benedict’


                                                         Wednesday, 19th May 2021

Led by The Rt Rev Richard Moth, Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, Oblate of Pluscarden Abbey.

We had a rewarding day of reflection, underpinned by the dedicated team. About 32 oblates attended and it was good to ‘meet’ them. The programme featured two challenging talks, a silence and a question time with Bishop Richard and included a Christian Meditation and a Lectio Divina. Small breakout rooms gave us all the valuable chance to converse at close quarters over questions such as: ‘What brought me to the monastery in the first place?’ ‘What challenges do we face in our oblate way of life?’ ‘What does the oblate bring into the market place?’

Bishop Moth gave generously from his rich seam of Benedictine wisdom.  Building on the walking  theme of the title: ‘It is a journey of listening. We shall get lost if we do not listen. The Rule is the workshop of our oblate life. We are given a big bag of tools, to avoid losing our way to sin. It is like a guidebook, a map and compass. Humility is like a rope ladder, which we haul up with us, concentrating on one rung at a time. We have a burden, which the Lord will help us to carry. When the road is steepest, with our energies gone, we grow and develop and rely on Christ. Our walk with St Benedict is a run. It may not be easy at first, but then we shall run.’ In the second half, he enumerated a formation that begins with Baptism and takes us to the high pastures.

Our gratitude goes to Bishop Moth, who left us with a great deal upon which to reflect, to the oblates who made the journey to our screens and to the  skillful team that made it all work.

Frances Bailess

UKOT Chair

The text of the two talks given by Bishop Moth are available as PDF files using the links below:



Jane Coll, a member of the UKOT Team and an oblate of Pluscarden Abbey, is involved with a project to re-establish the medieval pilgrimage route between St Duthac’s, Tain in the Scottish Highlands and St Magnus, Kirkwall in Orkney.

For more information on this project see their website:

“One of the Trinity was Crucified”:

On the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ as Revelation of the Trinity


The 2021 Pluscarden Pentecost Lectures

were given by Fr Thomas Joseph White OP

Director of the Thomistic Institute and Professor of Systematic Theology

Pontifical University of St Thomas (Angelicum), Rome

 25th–27th May 2021 

  1. Tuesday 25th May at 3.00 pm
    The Agony of Gethsemane and the Obedience of the Son
  2. Wednesday 26th May at 10.30 am
    Suffering and Crucifixion: Atonement as Trinitarian Revelation
  3. Wednesday 26th May at 3.00 pm
    Jesus’ Descent into Hell and the Mystery of Trinitarian Love
  4. Thursday 27th May at 10.30 am
    Bodily Resurrection and Exaltation:  Cumulative Revelation of Jesus as Son and Lord

Each year the Abbot and Community of Pluscarden Abbey sponsor a series of four lectures by an invited Theologian on an aspect of Catholic Theology Fr Thomas Joseph White is a Dominican priest, who lives and teaches at the Pontifical University of St Thomas (Angelicum) in Rome, where he is the Director of the Thomistic Institute.  The Lectures are held on the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday after Pentecost in St Scholastica’s Retreat House at the Abbey. They are open to all.

Recordings of these lectures are available online at



On Saturday November 21, the first UK Oblates Online Retreat took place via Zoom. Over thirty oblates from around the UK took part (including one from Northern Ireland and one from France).

The retreat included two pre-recorded talks by Sister Laurentia Johns from Stanbrook Abbey. Sister Laurentia is the author of ‘The Way of Benedict: Eight Blessings for Lent’ and other works. The first talk was on Silence as a way of preparing for Advent. Practicing silence, enables us to be vigilant, alert and attentive for the coming of Christ. She suggested that oblates should create little islands of silence in their everyday lives and become silent spaces for others.

The second talk was about the Great ‘O’ Antiphons, which we sing or say at Vespers between December 17th and 24th. The antiphons are a high point of our Benedictine tradition and are the fruit of the lectio divina of our forebears. They suggest a pattern of prayer and can be used as lectio themselves, inviting a response from us as well as engaging us in our current situation.

Sister Laurentia was also with us for the day online from Stanbrook. The day also included a period of silence following her first talk, Lectio, a workshop on the ‘O’ Antiphons and another period of silence as well as discussion groups. Examples from the ‘O’ Antiphons workshop are included below.

From the discussion groups, it seemed that the retreat answered a need in the second lockdown following on from long bleak months of uncertainty. In these months we have become a digital community, through the various media platforms and an online spirituality is emerging. Despite being physically distanced from eachother, in the times of silent prayer there was a strong sense that we were all in the same room. It seems that Jesus’ promise that where two or three are gathered in His Name, there will He be also, was fulfilled.

Neil Zoladkiewicz (Ealing)

UK Oblates Team Treasurer


O Good Shepherd

You seek us out when we are lost

And lead us to restful pastures

Come carry us in your loving arms

Through these dark days of suffering and uncertainty.


O, Anointed One,

Fount of all light and goodness,

Come to relieve our dark & suffering people.


O, Lord of creation and giver of life,

Come to your creatures

And enliven them with your love.


O, Maker of all things,

And Lord of us all,

Come into our lives

And fill us with your love.



O Bread of Life

Born, once in a cattle’s feeding trough,

Come and feed a world

Starving for love

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