UK Oblates National Online Retreat

‘ St Irenaeus of Lyons: Scripture, Unity and Synodality’

How can the newest Doctor of the Church help Oblates with 21st-century challenges?

UKOT online Day of Reflection 30 April 2022 was led by Dame Laurentia Johns OSB, Oblate Director (Stanbrook Abbey).

This was a most enjoyable and uplifting day in the company of friends and St Irenaeus. Our thanks go to  Neil for the gracious hosting, Roddy for all the technological help, Angela with Julia of WCCM for the most prayerful Sext and the 14 oblates who attended including one from France.

The day included two deeply informative illustrated talks on the key subject: St Irenaeus of Lyons, declared a Doctor of the Church in January 2022 by Pope Francis. Breakout rooms provided lively discussion, followed  by the essence of Christian Meditation, and the pursuit of Lectio Divina.

Overall we were given a rich tapestry of many tones and textures, for which we are in debt to Dame Laurentia.


Recommended books for those interested in St Irenaeus of Lyons:

Primary works

St Irenaeus On The Apostolic Preaching, trans and ed. John Behr. This is probably the most accessible way into Irenaeus’ own writings in 100 very short chapters – about the length of the Rule of Benedict


Against the Heresies Book 3, Ancient Christian Writers series.


Secondary work

Irenaeus: an Introduction by Denis Minns OP.

UK Oblates National Online Retreat

‘ Mutual Longing:God and His Creation’


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


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

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:

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