Uk Oblates online advent retreat day
Saturday, 4th December 2021
Rev Fr Stuart Chalmers
Spiritual Director, Royal Scots College, Salamanca
Full details to follow in September
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.
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
- Tuesday 25th May at 3.00 pm
The Agony of Gethsemane and the Obedience of the Son
- Wednesday 26th May at 10.30 am
Suffering and Crucifixion: Atonement as Trinitarian Revelation
- Wednesday 26th May at 3.00 pm
Jesus’ Descent into Hell and the Mystery of Trinitarian Love
- 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
UK OBLATES ONLINE RETREAT:
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
EXAMPLES OF ‘O’ ANTIPHONS WRITTEN BY PARTICIPANTS:
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
May 2020. News from Douai Abbey .
Fr Abbot told us at the start of the lockdown, that now we can be proper monks and not go travelling out. Mother Abbess of St Cecilia’s Ryde, wrote in their Chronicle that the abnormal has now become the normal and the world at large has joined the nuns in observing enclosure. One of the younger monks goes out once a week to pick up prescriptions from the surgery and do any necessary shopping. The front of house seems strangely quiet without any guests or visitors, and there are no retreats or talks to prepare and give. Most noticeable is the absence of people at Mass, especially sad for those few elderly people who make great efforts to share the daily Eucharist with us, and those who like to come into the church during the day to pray. The Triduum was particularly forlorn without the usual retreatants. We followed the bishops’ instructions exactly, so there were no processions, foot washing or watching on Maundy Thursday, no blessing of the fire or water at the Easter Vigil, but at least we celebrated it as well as were able.
We recognise that how much better off we are than many people who are unable to go to church, or who live in high rise flats in inner cities and have no gardens to enjoy, and so we must be thankful for our blessings.
Father Gervase Holdaway OSB