Benedictine oblate enjoys monastic way of life

Experiencing a taste of the monastic life while living in the secular world.

That’s a benefit that Betty Bohaty enjoys as an oblate of the Missionary Benedictines of Christ the King Priory in Schuyler.

An oblate since 2004 and a member of Divine Mercy Parish in Schuyler with her husband, Don, Bohaty and up to 50 other oblates meet with the monks and study the 1,500-year-old Rule of St. Benedict, which gives guidelines for the spiritual and monastic life – incorporating obedience, silence, prayer, humility and work.

Learning that even the littlest actions of daily life can be a prayer if done for love of God is one aspect of monastic spirituality that rings true for Bohaty. "It gives me an awareness that I am praying always," she said.

She also learned the prayer method "Lectio Divina," which involves reading and contemplating a passage of Scripture, then pausing and reflecting on a particular word or phrase. And she prays the Divine Office (Liturgy of the Hours) five times a day.

Bohaty began her journey to the oblates after raising three children and retiring from work. She started attending Mass at the monastery and Father Volker Futter, subprior of the Missionary Benedictines and director of oblates, eventually asked if she would be interested in becoming an oblate.

"At that point in my life, I knew it would be a good opportunity to start a spiritual journey and to learn about monastic life and how to apply it to my life," she said. "It sounded like a good way to get grounded."

Membership is by invitation and involves a one-year novitiate, or period of formation, Father Futter said, culminating in the candidate making an "oblation," or offering of oneself to God.

Oblates attend a monthly day of prayer, recollection and discussion, including Mass and a meal, Bohaty said. They also come together for an annual retreat, and assist the monks with special events at the monastery such as fish fries, the annual Valentine’s Day dinner and other celebrations.

The beauty and quiet she finds at the Benedictine Center has helped her prayer life and made her more aware of the gifts she has been blessed with, Bohaty said.

"We are so fortunate to have a place where we can get away from the world and listen, which is the first word in the Rule of St. Benedict – ‘Listen.’"


Related story: Laity shares in spirituality, service of religious orders

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