Benedictine oblate directors gather at The Spirit Center

— Sixteen Benedictine oblates and directors from four communities gathered at Spirit Center Aug. 26-28 for the fifth biannual gathering of the Northwest Region of the North American Association of Benedictine Oblate Directors (NAABOD). This was the first time the event took place at the Monastery of St. Gertrude.

The theme of the weekend was “Developing Leadership Within Our Communities” and included presentations by Monastery of St. Gertrude Prioress Sister Mary Forman; St. Gertrude’s Oblates Charlene Bunch, Peg Griffin, Lisa Radakovich, and JoAnne Zimmer; and St. Gertrude’s Oblate Community Coordinators Sister Teresa Jackson and Oblate Jeannette Kelley.

The weekend began Friday evening with a social hosted by CEO of External Ministries Mary Schmidt and included Sister Teresa’s “Idaho Jeopardy.” Prioress Sister Mary Forman led the Saturday morning session with a presentation on leadership in the Rule of St. Benedict. The afternoon featured a panel discussion with St. Gertrude’s oblates reflecting on Benedictine values in leadership.

“Hospitality is a huge part of leadership,” said Charlene Bunch. “To receive everyone as Christ is love in action.” She added: “Silence leads to humility. In silence, I can listen and keep God before my eyes.”

Peg Griffin described the first time she read the Rule of Benedict: “Life broke open for me,” she explains, “beginning with that first word, ‘listen’ and the call for workers who long for God. I do long.”

“Being a leader means knowing when to lead and when to let others stand up and shine,” said Lisa Radakovich. “We are not here for our own glory but to lead others to new ways. I am more aware than ever of the call to care for the values and work of the sisters in the years to come. I continue to look for new ways to shine that light out into the world.”

JoAnne Zimmer recently retired and has been living at the Monastery, using her career in the construction industry to advise on capital improvement projects. She described the deepening welcome in her experience of living at St. Gertrude’s.

Saturday Evening featured a presentation by Sister Teresa Jackson and Jeannette Kelley on “Embracing the Future” and the weekend concluded Sunday with a morning conference and Mass.

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