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Benedictine Associates

All Christians are called to be disciples of Jesus Christ and to seek the presence of God in their lives. Those who listen to their hearts will recognize a longing, an unnamed desire that draws them to a search for a fuller life. This desire is planted in the human heart by God who calls all persons to find their happiness by living for Christ and for others.

St. Benedict, a Christian layman of sixth century Italy, heard this call, lived it out with others, and eventually wrote a Rule or way of life applying the principles of the Gospel to daily life.

The Sisters of Sacred Heart Monastery, who follow this Rule of Benedict, invite Christian women and men to take up this Rule as a guide for their lives by becoming Benedictine Associates or Oblates.

Benedictine associates are women and men who have a formal association with the monastery in order that they may experience a reciprocal relationship with the Sisters in prayer and in good works. The spiritual journey of an associate will be enriched by the prayer, support, and encouragement received from the Sisters. The Sisters in turn are enriched by the prayer, faith, and witness of the associates.


Persons who enroll in the associate program are asked to attend the regular associate meetings and enter into a relationship with the community for one year prior to a formal commitment. The formal association is renewed annually. Persons who enroll in the associate program are invited to:

  • Reflect daily on the Word of God and nurture a deeper relationship with Christ.
  • Pray some portion of the Liturgy of the Hours daily.
  • Give witness to Benedictine values in their daily lives.
  • Attend the regular meetings of the Associates at the monastery
  • Interact with the monastic community in retreats, liturgies, and celebrations of special events.

Benedictine Oblates

Benedictine oblates enter into a formal commitment to live the Benedictine values in their daily lives. They become part of an international oblate community that dates back several centuries. To become an oblate is more than joining a program; it is to enter a Benedictine way of life.

The obligations are similar to those of a Benedictine associate with the added commitment to:

  • Spend some time in lectio divina (spiritual reading) daily.
  • Undertake a serious study of the Rule of Benedict.
  • Attend regular meetings of the Oblates or write personal reflections on the topics under consideration.
  • Make an annual retreat at the Monastery.
  • Submit Lenten resolutions to the prioress for her blessing.

Persons interested in becoming oblates of Sacred Heart Monastery are asked to first become a Benedictine associate for a year, then enter into a one-year oblate formation program as a novice. After the period of formation and upon discernment, the person may make his/her oblation to God in a formal ritual in the presence of the Sisters of Sacred Heart Monastery. This commitment is understood to be a lifetime obligation, but is renewed annually in the presence of the monastic community. However, upon mutual agreement with the monastery, the oblate may cancel the commitment, or transfer the commitment to another monastery.

If you are interested in the associate or oblate way of life, we invite you to “come and see.” The Benedictine Sisters and oblates of Sacred Heart Monastery are open to accompanying you on your journey to God.

For further information, please contact Sacred Heart Monastery at 701-974-2121 or email

See also for information on an online chapter of Benedictine oblates.

Prefer nothing to Christ and may he bring us all together to everlasting life. (Rule of Benedict, Chapter 73.)


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