The affiliation of lay men and women as oblates of
Saint Meinrad Archabbey dates to March 21, 1879, the silver jubilee
of the founding of the monastery. On that occasion, Abbot Martin
Marty, OSB, Saint Meinrad's first abbot [1870-1880], solemnly
introduced the oblate movement at Saint Meinrad.
Promoting the oblate movement was to be one of his main
objectives of the next 25 years. However, what was done to further
this movement is not known. Any records probably perished in the
great fire of 1887, which left only the sandstone walls of the
Abbot Athanasius Schmitt, OSB, Saint Meinrad's third abbot
[1898-1930], revived interest in the oblates. On November 18, 1906,
he received permission from the Holy See to allow students of the
major and minor seminaries to be received as oblates when they had
completed their 14th year of age.
Records of this movement begin with December 8, 1906, with the
enrollment of 21 students. Since 1924, men and women outside the
monastery and schools at Saint Meinrad have been enrolled as
Today, more than 1,000 men and women are oblates of Saint
Meinrad. They strive to seek God and the glory of God in all
things. Through their witness, they extend the spirit of the Saint
Meinrad monastic community into areas where the monastic community
cannot reach or be present.
A history of the oblate community was written in 2000 by Edward
L. Shaughnessy, titled The Benedictine Oblates of Saint
Meinrad Archabbey: A Brief History 1879-1999.
In 2012, oblate Ruth Clifford Engs wrote An Updated History
of the Benedictine Oblate Community of Saint Meinrad Archabbey:
Both books are available from the Saint Meinrad Oblate