Mount Community Welcomes Six New Oblates

2014 New Oblates

Back row: Jude Highberger, Jennifer Halling, Elizabeth Fischer
Front row: Jackie Comella, Anne Eggers, Patty Wolvington

The Mount community continues to be blessed with new oblates. In this year’s rite, four candidates made oblation and two oblates of another community transferred their affiliation. Each has a rich story of spiritual seeking and attraction to Benedictine values, which it is impossible to condense into this brief article.

One of the candidates has a heritage of family ties to the community that would be hard to surpass. Lambert Halling, the great-great-grandfather of Jennifer Halling, was one of the men who guarded the sisters with his lantern on their first night in Atchison. Jennifer graduated from Benedictine College and has been inspired by many of the sisters who taught her. Like her ancestors, she “delights in the women of the Mount, who have much to teach me about hospitality, joy, prayer, humility, and how to live in community.”

Last year, Sharon Highberger became an oblate, and this year her husband Jude added his oblation. He actually knew and worked with sisters long before his wife did. “For many years I have admired and respected Mount St. Scholastica’s commitment to serve their fellow human beings,” he says. “I want to share, as an oblate, their vision and commitment to witness in truth and love.”

Jackie Comella is a lifelong resident of St. Joseph, Mo., where she attends the oblate group led by Sister Evelyn Gregory. Jackie felt something was missing in her spiritual life that she found in St. Benedict’s rule. “The Benedictine way has shown me a new approach to life and a greater devotion to God.”

A Roeland Park resident who attends one of the Kansas City area groups led by Sister Therese Elias, Elizabeth Fischer is a busy mother and grandmother who is finishing a degree in public administration. This would explain why, as she puts it, “I am attracted to the Benedictine way of life because of its combined contemplative and community emphases.”

Both of the transferring oblates are from Atchison. Anne Eggers came decades ago when her husband began teaching at the college and Patty Wolvington arrived more recently after her husband’s military retirement. Because oblates are considered to have made a commitment to association with a particular monastery, one may sometimes feel called to change affiliation. As an oblate, Anne says, “My life has been so enriched by the Rule and all the programs that I cannot imagine my existence without the teachings of St. Benedict.” Both she and Patty became involved with Sophia Center and the sisters. Patty found that, “Whenever I set foot in the monastery, there is a palpable sense of hospitality and love from the sisters that is a rare gift indeed.” Thus, in consultation with their previous director, a transfer was approved. 

These oblates will join the approximately 200 other oblates and inquirers whose gifts and prayers expand the Mount St. Scholastica family.