Two Queensland women made their commitment as Good Samaritan Oblates this month, after both were drawn to deepen their ties with the Good Samaritan community in prayer, outreach and companionship.
By Debra Vermeer
Maureen Larkin and Judy Hall made their Oblation on August 13 at the Lourdes Hill College chapel in Brisbane in front of family, friends, Sisters and members of the broader Good Samaritan community.
Queensland Good Samaritan Oblate Coordinator, Sister Sonia Wagner SGS, said there were several stages in the Oblate formation journey, beginning with a ‘Come and See’ period.
“During that time, people who have expressed an interest in becoming an Oblate attend gatherings of a local group,” she said.
“At the end of that, if they’re ready and willing, there is a time of Candidature. This is an official step, if you like. There is a small ceremony and the candidates receive a copy of the Rule of Benedict.
“This period is usually from one to three years, according to each individual’s needs. Some have been on the journey for a long time already, while others might have become involved more recently.
“During their Candidature, prospective Oblates work through the Oblate Candidacy Reflection Starters program, focusing on the basic values of Good Samaritan, Benedictine life. With the support of an Oblate Companion, and in the context of a local group, the Candidate continues to discern the call to become an Oblate.
“At the end of their Candidature, the Candidate applies to be received as an Oblate, making promises to live by the values of Obedience, Stability, and ongoing Conversion of Life, appropriate to their vocation in life.
“Essentially, the Oblate formation period is a deepening of their relationship with God and the Good Samaritan community, which will also usually mean engaging in some form of outreach.”
Sonia said Oblates usually progress as part of a local group and attend their gatherings, so that Oblates can gain strength and support from one another. From time to time, they also meet up on Zoom with other Oblates and Good Samaritan Sisters. Becoming a Good Samaritan Oblate means they are linked into the Benedictine Oblate community throughout the world.
Maureen Larkin said that working at Lourdes Hill College in Brisbane was where she first made a strong connection with the Sisters of the Good Samaritan of the Order of St Benedict.
In 2016, Maureen took part in a Benedictine pilgrimage, staying at Jamberoo Abbey in New South Wales, as part of the celebrations to mark the Centenary of Lourdes Hill College. The college belongs to the community of 10 schools across Australia called Good Samaritan Education.
“In recent years I began sharing lectio divina with Good Samaritan Sisters Mary and Ellen Randle who introduced me to the Brisbane Oblate group and became my kind and caring companions on my Oblate journey. I look forward to continuing Oblate life and friendship with the Brisbane group,” Maureen said.
Judy Hall said her introduction to the Sisters of the Good Samaritan and St Benedict came at the invitation of her sister, Moira Anderson, to attend the Pilgrims, Pathways and Possibilities Conference at Lourdes Hill College. Moira, who is based in New South Wales, will also become an Oblate.
“During the conference, I was introduced to Gemma Hockey from the Caboolture Oblate Group. And with that momentous meeting, my Oblate journey began,” she said.
“I am grateful for the ongoing companionship, in the first instance with Gemma and then continuing with Sister Judy Margetts SGS.”
Judy said the broader sense of spiritual accompaniment in the Oblate Group underpinned her own decision to become an Oblate.
“I am with a group of prayerful people who have welcomed me and made me comfortable,” she said.
“On my journey, I’ve learned that to listen to another with an attitude of love is a sacred experience. I pray that the Caboolture group will continue to grow together in grace, hope and love.”