MARY DEL VECCHIO, Psy.D and Obl.OSB
I am inspired by St. Benedict who says, "Welcome all as Christ."
What is an Oblate?
As an oblate I am often asked, “What is an Oblate?” In 1999 when I made my final Oblation, I would have answered the question very differently from what I share with people today. Back then I participated in the Oblate Formation at St. Paul’s Monastery as a personal journey of spiritual growth while I was working professionally with persons with disabilities and mental illness.
I was inspired by St. Benedict who says, “Welcome all as Christ.” I had discovered many people with whom I worked had a strong spiritual core and wanted to talk about their faith. They represented numerous faith traditions from around the world. Being an Oblate was an opening up of myself to others, a deepening of my faith and a searching for God’s purpose in my life.
Today being an Oblate is a part of me that is integrated into all aspects of my life. OBLATE to me means:
O – Opening oneself to God’s call; Other centered; working Outside the Monastery
B – Blessed: I am Blessed when I can give to those with whom I work and help
L – Love
A – All are welcomed as Christ
T – Giving of my Time and Talents to others
E – Every day I seek to carry my commitment of being an Oblate into the world
Currently I find myself called to work as a therapist at Catholic Charities – Opportunity Center in Minneapolis. Working at Catholic Charities with the homeless is an opportunity for me to use my education, skills and gifts. It is the most challenging work I have done in my 35 year career. However, it offers me blessings in equal measure. Living an Oblate life in the world is about serving others; walking as Jesus did with the sick, lepers and rejected.
Joan Chittister, OSB says, “We must begin to do life, to be with people, to accept circumstances, to bring good to evil in ways that speak of the presence of God in every moment.” The presence of God is abundantly seen and felt in every person that sits in my office. The frustration of their situation, their wounded spirit and lack of food and shelter can be overwhelming; yet the flame of Hope and Faith that tomorrow will be better is often heard too. The gratitude for what they receive is expressed even through their human suffering. As an Oblate I attempt to “be and do” all that is held within those six letters: O-B-L-A-T-E.