Benedictine and Carmelite spirituality



I wonder if you can give me some advice/suggestions;

it is now 3 years that I feel called to be part of a third order . I did the usual research about the different orders spiritualities and I went several times to retreats at Benedictine Monasteries. I find that when I stay with the Monastery community I feel in peace and love to follow the timetable (even if for few days) of the Monks; I like to be alone praying. Now as I do not have a Benedictine Monastery near where I live I found a Carmelite community-great people and I think the Carmelite spirituality complements perfectly the Benedictine; while I am attending once , twice a month the Carmelite third order meetings I still feel that the Benedictine spirituality is the perfect for me so I am thinking to become an Oblate and the Monks would be positive about it even if I can visit the Monastery once a year or twice for a retreat. I wonder is it possible to become an Oblate and still attend the meetings of the Carmelites even if I cannot start the process which eventually can lead to profess , as it is my understanding that a person can be a member of only 1 Third Order?



I think this question needs to be posed to the two groups. While we have a Secular Discalced Carmelite on the forums, I don’t know of any Ben Oblates.

My initial impression is that you could become a Ben Oblate, visiting once a year, and use the support of the OCDS. Teresa and John are for everyone. I know of an Hispanic Ben nun who read up on Teresa’s writings, saying that the Hispanics needed to stick together.

The Ben Oblates use the Monastic Diurnal, whereas the OCDS use the regular LOTH. You’d likely need both to participate as fully as you can.

Hope this helps.

Mrs Cloisters OP
Lay Dominican


@OraLabora for the Benedictine Oblates.


Ah, thanks!


I don’t know about the Oblates, but you could not enter OCDS formation and also belong to another order. And our meetings are for members only, except once or twice a year when prospective aspirants are allowed to attend one or two partial meetings, as they discern whether to apply. Now, different OCDS communities may have different specific rules on that, but I’ve never heard of a non-member being allowed to regularly attend.
I don’t know if the O. Carm have different procedures.


When I had the TOP group in Knoxville, the solitary OCDS, OSB Obl, and SFO had an open invitation to join us for the sake of moral support. I encouraged them to seek out others; start their own newsletters; and start having meetings. I had a reciprocal invitation to their groups.


It’s the same for oblates; however prospects can also come to any meeting, and once in the formation program you can come to meetings. The regulations in general do tend to differ as monasteries are very independent from the order, in fact Benedictines quip that it isn’t an order but is in disorder :wink:

It’s a bit more complicated. First of all liturgy is regulated at the level of the monastery. There are 4 main schemas for the Benedictine LOTH. Schema A is the original Benedictine schema. However the Monastic Diurnal is out of date except for monasteries that use the pre-conciliar version of the Benedictine schema, of which there are a few (Clear Creek in the US for one). Schema B is the most popular schema as it meets the requirement in the Rule of the entire psalter being recited in one week, but is much lighter and with no repetitions (150 psalms chanted per week instead of 250). The other two schemas are on 2-week cycles.

Our abbey uses schema B and I have their old choir books from before they changed them (they are still valid, just not very convenient). Our former oblate director also put out a condensed version containing only Lauds, Vespers and Compline, with simplified propers and commons, for oblates.

Our Oblate Constitution allows us to use either the monastic schema of the abbey, the 4-week Liturgy of the Hours, or another licit schema. Depending on how busy I am, I switch between the Monastic and LOTH. Since I chant the Offices in Latin (LOTH) or Latin (Lauds and Vespers) and French (the rest) for the Monastic Office, I dedicate quite a bit of time to the Divine Office. So even though I’m retired, I can get quite busy especially in summer and will switch between the two as required; I tend to try to at least complete a week in one or the other before switching. Like the monks, when I travel, I simply recite the LOTH. To complicate matters more, our abbey (for Vigils aka the Office of Readings) uses a 2-year monastic lectionary instead of the 1-year one in the LOTH; there are more monastic sources for the patristic readings as well.

The Rule however has a lot of flexibility built in, and oblates and even monks, now use it as inspiration and not legislation as there have been a few changes in society and the Church since the 6th century. Moreover the meaning of “oblate” was much different back then (children gifted to the monastery by their parents). The modern meaning of oblates was established in the 19th century by Dom Prosper Gueranger at Solesmes.

We do have a couple of remotely located oblates, after all Canada is a big country and there are few Benedictine monasteries, but now it is expected that prospects be able to commit to coming to the abbey once or twice a year. I go twice a week as I attend Mass there and volunteer in the library a day a week.


Thanks for explaining that.


This topic was automatically closed 14 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit