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The Our Lady of Sorrows Chapter is an Eastern Orthodox Benedictine Oblate community under the pastoral care Metropolitan Mar Melchizedek, of The Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Epirus, located in Lincoln, Nebraska). You can visit the OCE web site at: www.epirus-church.org

We meet monthly in southeastern Pennsylvania on the first Saturday of every month. We begin at 10 AM with prayer, then a time of study, followed by group lectio divina and fellowship. Most meetings, from start to finish, last about 2 hours. We also have a yearly Chapter retreat at a local retreat center.

Although we are an Eastern Orthodox Chapter, we are also ecumenical – that means that all Christians, no matter their faith tradition (as long as they profess the Apostle’s Creed), are welcome to our meetings and to become a member of our Chapter, as an Oblate or Associate.

Our Story
We first formed in 2006 as an independent Chapter, then in 2008 we became associated with a Benedictine monastery. In June of 2020 there was a change of monastery, then in December of that year there was again a change of both monastery and jurisdiction. Finally, in January of 2021, we came under the pastoral care of Metropolitan Mar. Melchizedek.

We are not a large Chapter: we number three Life Professed Oblates, one member who has made First Oblation and two Associates. Although small, we are blessed with new growth as God calls willing hearts.

Group Photo

How does one become an Oblate?
As mentioned above, Christians of all faith traditions who profess the Apostle’s Creed may become a member of our Chapter. An oblate must simply desire to learn about and follow the Benedictine way in their life circumstances.

Oblate life is formed through community. The oblate is affiliated spiritually with a monastic community and thus both groups share in the prayer, work, love, and commitment of one another. The oblates also form community in chapters and among their family, friends and church. By being part of the Benedictine community, the oblate is able to live more fully the Christian life.

If you feel God is calling you to life as an Oblate, begin by attending meetings at a Chapter near you. The Our Lady of Sorrows Chapter, located in southeastern Pennsylvania (north of Philadelphia) meets every first Saturday. After attending regularly for a minimum of 3 months, you are received as a Postulant; then, upon mutual agreement with the Director of Oblates, and our Abbot, you are received as a Novice. After a year of novitiate study, you will make your First Oblation; one year later you will make Oblation for life. The oblation ceremony borrows elements from the monastic profession of vows, although oblates only make promises.

Once oblates have been formally accepted into a Chapter, they keep the spirit of St. Benedict in their lives by regular prayer, study and acts of charity in accord with their state of life. Want to learn more? To come to a meeting if you are in the area - contact us for more information. You are also invited to pray with us, no matter your location.

Our Associates Program
It sometimes happens that a person is interested in the charism of the Chapter but doesn’t feel called to Oblate life. In that case, they are welcome to become a part of the community as an Associate member.

Associates are Christian women and men - married, single, divorced, and widowed; clergy members and lay persons who were drawn to the charism of the Benedictine Oblate Chapter, but who do not wish to take on all the responsibilities required of an Oblate. Associates do not make Oblation promises, but rather commit to be partners with Oblate Chapter members, and to share the mission and charism of the Chapter to which they belong.

Associates participate in the life of the Chapter through their involvement in prayer, study, and ministry. They strive to extend the Benedictine presence into the many worlds in which they live. They are engaged in all walks of life and whether they are attorneys, homemakers, teachers, business-owners, or factory workers, they try to live their daily lives in the intentional way of Benedictine spirituality.

Associates join with the Chapter on a monthly basis for shared prayer, study, and volunteer activities, while receiving support in living the charism and spirituality of the Benedictine Chapter to which they belong.

Associates do not have voting privileges or make promises, as do the Oblates. They are also not obligated to do any particular things, like pray the Divine Office, for instance, but are encouraged to incorporate as much as the Rule of St. Benedict into their daily lives as possible, according to their own gifts, talents, and life circumstances.

If someone is drawn to become an Associate, they simply make an application. Upon acceptance, the new Associate receives a medal of St. Benedict pin which they will wear, particularly at meetings.

In time, if an Associate should feel called to become an Oblate, they will make application to the Oblate Director. Upon acceptance, they will be invested as a Novice, since the time they spent as an Associate will serve as their time as a Postulant, and they will begin preparation for Oblation in the usual manner of the Chapter.

Meetings: First Saturday of every month *
Time: 10:00 AM
Date: February 5, 2022

* If you wish to come to a meeting, please contact us and let us know of your interest. We look forward to welcoming you to a meeting soon.

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