What is an Oblate
Congregation of the Good Samaritan?
Do I want to Become One?
The Congregation of the Good Samaritan (CGS)
has established and follows a Rule, based on the Rule of St. Benedict, St.
Augustine, and St. Francis, yet modified to apply to an order established to
minister to those members of society who are “in trouble, sorrow, need, sickness
or any other adversity ( BCP pg 74, Prayer for the
We have adopted the Benedictine concept of Oblates, a group of men and women, not called to live their lives in the seclusion of the monastery, but who do feel called to serve God in the way of Christ; to devote their lives to growing in their spiritual relationship with God and serving His people in need, using the gifts and talents that have been given to them by The Father.
Oblates, members of the Congregation who live and pray and function in the world, rather than in the monastery, should be able to profit from the wisdom of the Governor General and the Governess of the Congregation, and from the spiritual experiences of the Congregation. In addition, they need to have encouragement and spiritual guidance that speaks to their daily lives as lay Christians. It is hoped that the Congregation will be able assist them in their journey through this life and in their commitment to the Gospel of Christ that calls them on this journey.
O.K. So What Is an Oblate?
Why do some Anglicans wish
to become CGS Oblates?
Men and women are attracted to the Oblate program because they are seeking God in Jesus Christ and believe they will be able to find Him through the Christian values manifested by the members of CGS and its Oblates. Such people recognize that the values of CGS and, ultimately, of the Gospel, have great significance in their own daily lives and in their own search for God in the midst of their ordinary lives of work and prayer and relationships. They are very aware of their own weaknesses and yet they know that God is calling them through His love to holiness. Both the Oblate and God recognize that it will be an ongoing struggle to overcome their defects, but they realize that the struggle will be easier if they can find prayerful nurture and guidance within the Congregation.
In our day, the rejection of the way of fidelity, faith, and obedience threatens our society with ruin. The promises that bind us as Christians are being loosened every day. In family life, in public life, and even in the churches, these vows are being replaced by a code of unrestraint and license. We pray that this Rule of Life, with those who vow to follow it and be led by it, may come to the rescue of society. Through the spreading of the Oblate program, we pray that the families of these men and women, and the other folks with whom they come in contact, will seek to return themselves to the Christian principles of fidelity, faith and obedience. When this happens, then we may rightly hope and pray that society and government will follow.
The Meaning of Oblate Life
“Oblate Life” begins as a Christian affiliation with the Congregation of the Good Samaritan for the purpose of reshaping and enriching one’s spiritual life by the Gospel of Christ as interpreted by the Rule of the Congregation. Oblates neither live in the religious house (although they are welcome to visit at any time), nor do they take the religious vows of profession, but at the time of their Oblation, they promise to form their lives within the Evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience, striving to become holy in their chosen way of life—whether as a married person, a single celibate or as secular clergy. It is through this commitment that Oblates bring the light of the Gospel into the world and encourage others to Our Lord’s call of love. Oblates can provide a powerful witness to the world of the real possibility of an intense Christian life in the midst of a largely non-Christian society. Along with the prayers and support of the community members of the Congregation, the daily reading of Scripture and the example of the Rule, Oblates, ordinary fallible people living among other ordinary, fallible people, are encouraged to live a life of extraordinary holiness. As they learn to live a life full of mutual respect, patience with others and obedience to God and others out of love of Christ, these ordinary people make room in their hearts from which the grace of God can flow.
An Oblate’s Responsibilities
The Congregation of the Good Samaritan received official status in the Diocese of New Orleans in May, 2009, although we had been working to establish the Congregation since as early as 2003. And since the beginning, it was our intent to make it clear that Oblates are active members of the House, not a separate or lesser group. Oblates have responsibilities of prayer, study and ministries, modified to fit into their secular life, but which in turn MODIFY THEIR SECULAR LIFE so that they may respond to their individual call to holiness. Oblates are welcome in the House at any time, and are especially encouraged to make a retreat once a year with the professed membership. In addition, they are given seat, voice and limited voting rights in Chapter and an elective seat on the Council.
FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES: The support of the Congregation comes from two primary sources. First, we rely on donations from the public, which are qualified for income tax consideration under the IRS. As a new organization, we are in the beginning stages of developing an active donor roll and hope that, in the future, this roll will become a great resource for support and growth.
At this time, each monastic (living in the house) member of the Congregation has income from employment or retirement, and these funds are turned over in full to the Congregation in order to support the House and to promote the health and growth of the Congregation.
It is expected that Oblates will do what they can to contribute to the support of the Congregation as well. We understand that each has personal responsibilities which we expect will be fulfilled. However, as one begins to modify ones life in holiness, we hope that a person will also be able to modify his financial situation so that you will be able to make some regular donation to the Congregation. We don’t want a written pledge, nor do we ask for any specified amount. We just ask that a person search heart and pockets and do what is possible.
Who Might Become an Oblate?
The Congregation of the Good Samaritan welcomes all Anglican women and men who are truly seeking God and have discerned a desire for affiliation with a Religious Order within the Anglican Catholic Church. Applicants should contact Father John Benedict, Governor General, or Sister Anne, Governess. As soon as the required paperwork is complete, the applicant will be ready to be received as a novice Oblate. This novitiate, a period of one year or more, gives time to become acquainted with the spirit of the Rule and members of the Congregation and let their values have a transforming effect on his Christian life. At the end of this period, if the Oblate novice discerns an ongoing call to continue their spiritual path within the Congregation, he or she may apply for Oblation. It is the Act of Oblation that formally makes one an Oblate. The Oblate then continues to share in the prayers and the works of the monastic community, to grow in communion with other Oblates, and live out the promises of poverty, chastity and obedience with an ever more persistent turning to Christ in the daily decisions of one’s life. This growth in Christ, achieved by God’s grace, comes about as all the members of the Congregation family offer mutual encouragement to one another to seek God by forming our lives according to the Gospel of Christ, embracing the values found in the Rule of the Congregation and as witnessed by the Community.
We are all aware that growing up in these times is a most difficult and dangerous thing to do. God has been taken out of school and other activities, and our children are presented with a godless society in which they are encouraged to conform.
Our children need our support and direction in order to have the courage to stay on the Christian path to Salvation. The Congregation of the Good Samaritan has developed a program for children of Confirmation age and older to help them on this most difficult journey. The program includes instruction in prayer, recommended readings, annual gatherings and personal guidance when needed. These young people will dedicate their lives to God at the Altar, just as our Oblates do, and will be encouraged to share in the prayer and the ministries of the Congregation.
We will keep in contact with parents to be sure they understand what is being asked of their children, and encourage them to add their support. We also hope that the parish priest will become involved with the Junior Oblate and will help with the formation and ministry.
If you, or anyone you know, are interested in this program, please fill out the form below, checking ‘Junior’ and return it to us. We will be glad to talk to the young people and to their parents, to give them a more complete concept of the program.