OBLATES OF OUR LADY OF BETHEL
The foundational pillars of eremitic life, namely, prayer, silence and solitude, though lived intensely in Bethel by Our Lady’s Hermits of Bethel (OLHB), are also essential elements of Christian life in all walks of life. The Oblates of Our Lady of Bethel (OLB) are those who are called to solidarity with the eremitic life of the Hermits of Bethel, but are not called to formally enter as professed hermits.
They share in the spiritual blessings of the Hermits of Bethel by an annually renewed oblation to live the foundational pillars of eremitic life in a secular setting, through their ordinary day-to-day life as committed Christians who seek the path of holiness and fullness of life.
Oblates are called to incarnate in their lives the Preamble of the Institutum of Bethel summed up in the word Caritas. Though not consecrated religious, they still lead a life dedicated to God that journeys toward “the pursuit of perfect charity” (Perfectae caritatis, 1).
Oblates may be single or married lay people or any religious or secular clergy who seek to incarnate in the secular world, and in a conscious and deliberate way, the foundational pillars of eremitic life of Bethel.
Through a prayerful reflection and meditation on the Institutum of Bethel, they seek to incarnate the spirit of Bethel by a secular life imbued with a contemplative spirit. Further, as sisters and brothers to the Hermits of Bethel, the Oblates actively share in the mission of the Hermits to promote the importance of prayer, silence and solitude in the lives of all people they encounter.
Through a liturgical ceremony, highlighted by the imposition of the brown Carmelite scapular, and solemn recitation of the prescribed prayer, one becomes an Aspirant. He or she then starts and endeavors to faithfully live the life and promises of an Oblate while undergoing a series of formation to Christian Spirituality and other disciplines that seek to mature and deepen one’s faith in Jesus.
The Hermits of Bethel take charge in the on-going formation of the Oblates, ensuring that each one shares in the spiritual joy of being a member of one religious family, being one in hope and aspirations.
Upon prayerful discernment of the Servant-Leader of Bethel and in consultation with other Hermits of Bethel, the Aspirant may become a Professed Oblate within a Liturgical Ceremony of Oblation, highlighted by the imposition of the Oblate Mantle signifying their formal participation in the family of the Hermits of Bethel, and in the giving of the Oblation Cross.
Although not living a Plan of Life, each Oblate endeavors to organize their lives according to these statutes:
More frequent attendance and active participation in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, beyond the prescribed Holy Days of Obligation.
Daily recitation of, at least, the morning prayer (lauds) and evening prayer (vespers) of the Liturgy of the Hours, either personally or communally.
Silent prayer of at least an hour a day, which may be distributed throughout the day, e.g., 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening.
Must participate in church life by an active involvement in another organization, movement or ministry in a parish community.
Must spend “desert days” at Bethel consisting of at least three days and two nights and least once a year.
In order to maintain familial bond, an Oblate endeavors to join the community of the Hermits of Bethel in some significant events as one’s personal schedule may permit.
Must endeavor to participate in the on-going formation of Oblates.
An Oblate annually renews one’s personal oblation emphasizing that one’s spiritual participation in the life of the Hermits of Bethel is a constant and continuous sacrifice of one’s self to God who calls everyone to the path of holiness and fullness of life.
You can become an oblate by contacting us here: