Oblate path

Hello Cynthia,

If you were to run through your path again would you pursue the oblate path, and where… near your home or one that is a better fit. Ideas of which ones you see as fitting best with wisdom school?

And, Are the Wisdom schools intro being taught by anyone you have directed? If so who?


Hi Ann,

I am deeply grateful for my nearly twenty years now as an oblate of New Camaldoli Hermitage in California, but as you accurately intuit, being close to the place you’re an oblate of (or at least close to a group of other oblates in the area) is tremendously helpful in actually buckling down and doing the work. Back in 1990, when I became a Camaldolese oblate, not that many monasteries actually had such programs, particularly not on my home turf, the Trappists. Now as the face of monasticism is shifting so dramatically (most houses failing to attract a critical mass of new permanent vocations, but the pressure from lay people for sustained formation skyrocketing), the picture is changing, and oblate groups are proliferating. I’d say pick a community whose general feeling and theology is congenial with your own and jointly explore the next step with their oblate director. It’s a big commitment, but a grand one.

Yes, there are wonderful wisdom schools offered by my senior students, particularly Bill Redfield and Lois Barton. Dianne Elliott has now pioneered a school in Indiana, Beth O’Brien in Wisconsin. It’s a wonderful new channel of transmission. We also have our very first online introductory Wisdom School, a labor of love by my student Robbin Whittington, created from years of filming me in on-the-ground-schools. Check it out at www.wisdomwayofknowing.org. Lots of folks around the country are using this wonderful new resource to call study and practice groups together.

All blessings,