The Oblates of the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration
In 1935, Mother Dolorosa Mergen received an invitation from Bishop Daniel Gercke of Tucson to found a convent in his Diocese. The Bishop hoped that a community with a dedication to adoration of the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament would be a means of reparation for the persecution rampant in neighboring Mexico. In fact, the completed chapel of the new foundation was to be dedicated to “Christ the King” in memory of the last cry of the martyred Fr. Miguel Pro. It was also thought that the dry climate of the southwest might help a number of Sisters who suffered from tuberculosis.
The Sisters first occupied the Steinfeld home at 300 North Main Street. Construction of the permanent monastery began in 1939, and the Sisters were able to move in by December 1940. The building was designed by Roy Place, the architect of many prominent buildings in Tucson. The fledgling monastery was in the heart of the city, which made it more accessible to people. Business men, professional people, Mexican and English — they came to the chapel, “where one may find peace,” as one visitor expressed it. Over the years, local groups of men and women helped keep adoration with the Sisters: Knights of the Blessed Sacrament, Sentinels of the Blessed Sacrament, and the Eucharistic Guard.
The Sisters, in 2017, made the difficult but necessary decision to consolidate their membership at their Mother House in Missouri. Saint Philip’s has been blessed to be able to offer a home to the Oblates of the Sisters, who meet regularly for prayer, discernment, and worship fed and formed by the monastic traditions passed on by Saint Benedict.
What is an Oblate?
Oblates are Christian adults who are formally affiliated with the Benedictine monastic family in order to seek God more intentionally. They are women and men, married or single, who, in their own way of life, with their ordinary family and social duties, find support and ongoing growth in holiness through spiritual association with a particular monastic community.
Oblates are strengthened by affiliation with a vowed monastic community in worship, reverence, humility, universal love, and stability of purpose, incorporating the spirit of the Rule of Saint Benedict and adapting monastic practices to their chosen way of life. Increasing their vital participation in the life of their own faith community, they offer themselves (the meaning of the word “oblate”) for the service of God and neighbor by word and example. No specific additional prayers, practices, or devotions are required of them, although having a personal prayer practice is essential to the monastic value of mindfulness of God and unceasing prayer.
The Oblates meet regularly at Saint Philip’s and share their life of prayer, witness, and service with our community. If you would like to learn more about them or about the classes, programs, and more that they offer please click the “Oblates” button below.