The affiliation of lay men and women as oblates of Saint Meinrad Archabbey dates to March 21, 1879, the silver jubilee of the founding of the monastery. On that occasion, Abbot Martin Marty, OSB, Saint Meinrad's first abbot [1870-1880], solemnly introduced the oblate movement at Saint Meinrad.
Promoting the oblate movement was to be one of his main objectives of the next 25 years. However, what was done to further this movement is not known. Any records probably perished in the great fire of 1887.
Abbot Athanasius Schmitt, OSB, Saint Meinrad's third abbot [1898-1930], revived interest in the oblates. On November 18, 1906, he received permission from the Holy See to allow students of the major and minor seminaries to be received as oblates when they became 15 years old.
Records of this movement begin with December 8, 1906, with the enrollment of 21 students. Since 1924, men and women outside the monastery and schools at Saint Meinrad have joined the oblate community.
Today, more than 1,300 men and women are oblates of Saint Meinrad. They strive to seek God in all things. Through their witness, they extend the spirit of the Saint Meinrad monastic community into areas where the monastic community cannot reach or be present.
Two books have been written on the history of Saint Meinrad's oblate community:
Both books are available from the Saint Meinrad Oblate Office.