The 4th World Congress of Benedictine Oblates will take place from November 4 – 10 at the Salesianum just outside Rome. The international planning team represents 50 countries with monasteries that have Oblates. After days of discussion throughout this last year, the team developed the following theme:
A WAY FORWARD- THE BENEDICTINE COMMUNITY IN MOVEMENT
The brothers and sisters should serve one another. (The Holy Rule Ch. 35)
This congress will certainly provide a wonderful opportunity for Oblates to join together for mutual support and further formation. Now more than ever Oblates need to connect on international issues. Those attending will deal with questions like: What does it mean to be an Oblate in the 21st century? What is our responsibility for our broken world? How can we serve as peacemakers showing hospitality in the face of war, terrorism and refugee crises?
Sister Joan Chittister, OSB, will be the keynote speaker. She is a passionate advocate for peace, human rights, women’s issues and church renewal. Sister Joan travels all over the world to share her message. In her spare time, she has written over 50 books. We continue to use many of her books in our Oblate formation program here at Ferdinand.
I am pleased to share that Sister Kathy Huber, OSB, Oblates Shirley France and Stephanie Smith will be traveling to Rome in November for this Congress. Sister Kathy is one of our former prioresses. She leads retreats, does workshops & spiritual direction all over the U.S. In addition, she has served as a mentor for several of our Oblate candidates over the years.
Shirley is a rather new Oblate. She has been active in developing and instituting many spiritual programs in her parish and elsewhere. She facilitates Monastery of the Heart groups in a women’s prison near her Ohio home. Shirley has written her first book, Soul Provider, which will be published by Amazon and available through Kindle.
Stephanie became an Oblate just a couple years back. She is a natural born leader and volunteers her skills wherever she goes. Prior to becoming an Oblate, she worked as a deputy prosecuting attorney near Indianapolis. Presently, she is director of major gifts in our development program here at Ferdinand.
All three of these women will be leaders in various break-out sessions at the Rome Congress. Certainly, they will also share encouraging news about our Ferdinand community. I can assure you that Sister Kathy, Shirley and Stephanie will return to us with a host of stimulating stories and experiences.
By Sister Brenda Engleman
Photo: Left to right: Oblate Stephanie Smith, Oblate Shirley France, Sister Kathryn Huber