Jeff Dols, OblSB
I have always been drawn to religious orders as spiritual communities, or as Richard Rohr, OFM calls them “parachurch, or church on the side”. Growing up in the small town of St. Joseph, MN, in the shadow of St. Benedict’s Monastery, I wasn’t really aware of how unusual it was to have a whole community of Benedictine’s dwelling right next door to our parish church and teaching in our parish elementary school. I was swimming in an ocean of Benedictine influence and not even aware of it! Years later, that influence has lured me back to the Benedictine fold as an Oblate of St. Paul’s Monastery.
For me as an Oblate, there is great joy in serving this community of strong, prayerful woman as they carry on the mission of living Benedictine values in the world. I am especially drawn to St. Benedict’s desire to bring the contemplative prayer practices of the desert mystics into a community setting, and now, 1500 years later, helping this community of St. Paul’s Monastery bring those practices into a 21st century world that desperately needs them.