OBLATE CEREMONIES AT THE MONASTERY
September 9, 2021 was a joyous day at the monastery! In the presence of the sisters, oblates, friends and family, Joyce Andrew (Bristow), David Corey (Bristow), and Patricia Mason-Goggin (Bedford) were received as Oblate Novices for the deaneries of Bristow and Bedford. Diane Butler (Bristow) and Sherri Given (Bedford) made their oblation and received their Benedictine pins marking them as Oblates of Saint Benedict. Their handwritten and signed documents of oblation were countersigned and sealed by Sister Joanna Burley, OSB, prioress, and will be kept secure in the monastery. Debby Townsend was commissioned as Dean of the Bristow Deanery by directors Kathy Frick and Sister Andrea Westkamp, OSB.
The day opened with solemn statio by the Benedictine Sisters and Oblates, followed by the traditional Hymn to Saint Benedict and the antiphonal recitation of Psalm 34, a psalm of thanksgiving. Debby Townsend and Rita Zimmermann read from the Rule of Benedict (4.20-28) and the Gospel of Saint Matthew (5:14-16), and Diane Butler gave beautiful reflection. Joyce, David and Patricia were each called forth and asked the ancient question: What do you seek? With their verbal commitment, and the united support of the Sisters and Oblates, all three were received as Novices and presented with a copy of the Rule. Next, Diane and Sherri were called forth, and asked the same question. Each then publicly pronounced their oblation promise, signed the document, and received the Oblate Benedictine Medal pin as a sign of their commitment. All present prayed for Diane and Sherri: May God strengthen you in your faith. May you persevere in your sacred resolutions as your everyday life permits. And may God reward you with life everlasting. Amen.
Recognition and thanksgiving were given for Oblates who reached milestone anniversaries in 2020 and 2021, and Debby Townsend was commissioned as Dean of the Bristow Deanery. All prayed:
Debby, may you be empowered by the Holy Spirit in your ministry as Dean. May the Wisdom of Benedict and Scholastica be with you as you lead, instruct, listen and encourage all who come to this place seeking God through the Oblate way of life. Always listen with the ear of your heart and remember what the Rule says: “First of all, every time you begin a good work you must pray to God most earnestly to bring it to perfection.” May God bless, support and comfort you. May your ministry as dean hold many blessings for you and the Bristow deanery. Amen.