There has been a huge increase in recent years in the number of people wishing to become special oblates of monasteries.
These people live in the outside world and may have jobs, spouses and families. They may not even be the same denomination as the monastery they wish to become a special oblate of.
These are people who have become very interested in monastic life and usually a particular monastery.
They don’t make vows but just yearly promises to live their lives in accordance with Benedict’s Rule as much as their circumstances will allow.
They try and say as much of the Divine Office as they can which obviously differs greatly between oblates.
They are truly considered brothers or sisters of the monastery they choose.
Regular Oblates
There is much less known about regular oblates.
These are people who enter the monastery and receive the same preparation during the novitiate as the other members of the community. Instead of taking  simple vows for 3 years prior to making solemn proffession they make promises which are renewed every year.
The arrangement is flexible on both sides as the oblate is free to leave at any time and the community are equally free to discontinue the arrangement if it is not successful.
The oblate lives the same life as the rest of the community and wears the same habit although does not receive the cowl and the ring as no solemn proffession is made. They will also  not have a vote in chapter on important decisions.
Some communities do not like to take regular oblates because they make no binding commitments. However, many communites are happy to accept the arrangement and we have done so  ourselves successfully. We do not have any regular oblates at the prresent time.