Celebrating Volunteers: Jeff Dols, OblSB

Celebrating Volunteers: Jeff Dols, OblSB

On Thursday, October 12 volunteer engagement professionals and others gathered at Second Harvest Heartland in Maple Grove, MN. Earlier that day, these volunteer coordinators from non-profit organizations across the state learned valuable insights from international volunteer engagement trainer Rob Jackson.

At the lunch hour, however, attention beautifully directed to several individuals recognized for their outstanding service as volunteers in our communities. St. Paul's Monastery proudly stood among those able to honor one of their own key mission makers: Jeff Dols!

Congratulations to Jeff for being honored and celebrated by MAVA (the Minnesota Alliance for Volunteer Advancement. Jeff is an Oblate of St. Paul's Monastery, former Director of Mission Advancement, former interim director of the Benedictine Center, current chair of the Benedictine Center Advisory Committee, one of three leaders recently named to guide our growing Oblate Ministry, and an exceptional day to day volunteer for St. Paul's Monastery and Benedictine Center.

We are so blessed to have volunteers like Jeff -- and like you -- here at St. Paul's Monastery and our Benedictine Center. Thank you for making our mission come alive through your passionate service!

Here are Jeff's own words in receipt of this award. Photos from the day follow Jeff's acceptance remarks.

If you would like to volunteer for St. Paul's Monastery and/or its Benedictine Center please click here to begin your journey of service to the Sisters' mission and ministry. Immediate need is for Christmas at the Monastery December 1-9, 2023.


Celebrating Volunteers, Jeff Dols, OBlSPOn behalf of all the volunteers at St. Paul’s Monastery, I’d like to thank you for this recognition of the work we do there.

I’d especially like to thank Travis Salisbury, the Mission Advancement staff, the monastic leadership team, and the Sisters for nominating me for this award.  They are all such wonderful partners, and it is their dedication that inspires me to work toward our shared mission.

And what is that mission? While the work of St. Paul’s Monastery and its ministries, such as the Benedictine Center, are rooted in the 1500-year-old monastic tradition of St. Benedict, to me the mission is less about promoting a particular religious tradition, and more about a way of being in the world. This way of being, which we’ve been calling “Being Benedictine,” is about trying to take loving, compassionate action in the world, based on being grounded in a regular practice of turning inward in contemplation.

Contemplative practices are called many different things in different traditions, but to me, they are all about trying to tap into our best selves, the essence of who we are before our ego selves get in the way. Whether one calls it prayer, or meditation, or mindfulness, the fruits of this inner journey will hopefully lead us to compassionate action in the world. And if there are enough of us acting out of compassion and right-relationship, rather than striving for wealth, power, or prestige, I believe we can start to change the community and the world in which we live.

I am one of 180+ lay Oblates, who are formed in the Benedictine tradition of the Sisters and are dedicated to living those values in our everyday lives. We follow the Sisters’ example of listening to the still small voice within, to not only help recognize our own inherent goodness and dignity, but also to see that goodness and dignity in everyone we encounter. We call it “welcoming all as Christ” and it is that spirit of Benedictine hospitality that we bring to the world.

That is what I see us doing every day at the Benedictine Center and St. Paul’s Monastery, and that is the mission I am dedicated to serve. Thank you for this honor.