Dorothy Day was an Oblate of St. Benedict. So was the French poet and playwright, Paul Claudel. The German commander at the Battle of Monte Cassino during World War II was an oblate. And so were St. Thomas More and St. Thomas Becket. And Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia, the first woman in Europe to be granted a Ph.D.
But one needn’t be well-known to become an Oblate of St. Benedict. Many men and women who will never have any claim to fame have been and are oblates. Most oblates are ordinary lay people. But diocesan clergy may also adapt The Rule of St. Benedict to their way of life. An oblate is someone who wants to practice what St. Benedict taught. Although his Rule was written for monks, its Christian principles can be applied by everyone else. An Oblate of St. Benedict is associated with a particular Benedictine community.
The Oblate Director keeps in touch with oblates by sending them instructional letters and by meetings at the monastery. Ideally, one might like to live close enough to the monastery to be able to attend meetings. This is not necessary, however. What is more important is for one to live in the spirit of St. Benedict. Oblates are encouraged (but are not morally bound) to pray at least part of the Divine Office in union with the monks or nuns of the communities with which they are affiliated.