Pope Benedict used to say that Christian life consists in continuously scaling the mountain to meet God and coming back down again, reminded Fr. Jerome Kodell. It was a timely reminder for the approximately seventy Oblates and Oblate Directors who were listening to Fr. Jerome’s keynote at the North American Association of Oblate Directors (NAABOD), July 10-15, 2015. They had gathered to reflect on that up and down movement in Benedictine spirituality of deepening one’s relationship with God in order to share the fruits of that connection.
Oblate Kathy Caudill (left, pictured with a fellow Oblate from St. Meinrad's community) represented the Oblate community of St. Scholastica Monastery and shared daily reflections with her fellow oblates via their Facebook group. Some of the highlights of her reflections included hearing from “a panel of oblates, sharing their stories about the journeys that brought them to become Oblates….” and meeting with a regional committee to discuss “plans for the regional conference on shared leadership to take place at St. Meinrad Archabbey in October 2016.”
The Oblates and Oblate Directors also spent time in prayer and traveled to learn about the surrounding area. Kathy wrote, “Yesterday was a quiet day in terms of programming, but still a busy day. After morning prayer we took a group photo, and joined the Monks and community members for Mass. We then hopped on school buses and visited Mount Magazine, the highest point in Arkansas, and traveled to Fort Smith to visit the sisters at St. Scholastica Monastery there. We joined them for evening prayer, then dinner and a tour.”
In the end, Kathy noted that “meeting so many amazing Oblates and Directors…is probably the best part of this entire conference.” She looks forward to sharing her notes and the spirit of the conference with her fellow Oblates during their August meetings. Thank you for being our community representative, Kathy!
Below are a few other photos from the week's gathering.
Subiaco Abbey, Subiaco, Arkansas
Inside Subiaco, Subiaco, Arkansas
Inside St. Scholastica Monastery, Fort Smith, Arkansas