A Little Benedictine Oblate Manual by James Nugent

NugentLittleBenedictineOblateManualWhere I Got It: Review copy from the narrator (thanks!)

Narrator: Valerie Gilbert

Publisher: James Joseph Nugent, Jr. (2013)

Length: 30 minutes

Author’s Page

Near as I can tell, this book is for folks who are already Benedictine Oblates, or at least have a solid idea of what one is. The author provides his experiences and opinions on such a spiritual life. If you read the book blurb on Goodreads or Audible, it seems this book is meant to spark ideas or conversation for folks already living the life as Oblates or considering doing so.

Going into to this book, I didn’t know what an Oblate was and in completing this book, I was still mystified. So I went to the Wikipedia Article to educate myself. While the book blurb says this little book would be useful for beginners to experts, I will say this is better suited to the expert, or at least someone who has a solid idea of many of the practices, prayers, and religious terms used. I do not and therefore, felt lost much of the time.

As one can say about most religious text and religion-related texts, the basis is try to do good and keep your deity/deities always in mind. That definitely applies here and that is a positive message. However, the author does tend to ramble. Couple that with the subject specific references and terms, and you don’t have a book that just anyone can step into and get much out of.

Several times, the author refers to his past job where he worked and lived on a boat, before he got an office job and became an Oblate. Personally, I think this would be a fascinating tale: what he and his life were like on that boat and then how things shifted to what he does today. Why did he decide to leave the ship life? What was hard and easy about doing so? How did he become an Oblate and what he finds easy and hard about that? You never know; the author could be planning to write such a thing. Then folding this little book into that would make it make sense.

While this book on it’s own didn’t work for me, others may find it interesting and useful. It’s short enough to enjoy during a lunch break. So if you have any interest in the subject of Oblates, this could give you a small taste of what that role in society and church means.

Narration:  Valerie Gilbert did a good job with this narration. She presented the book in a clear and thoughtful voice. During the few instances where the text required some emotion (wonder or even awe) she did a great job of imbuing that. Basically, it felt like I was having a cup of tea with the author as he had a nice lunch time ramble.

What I Liked: Forced me to learn by looking up the Wikipedia article; was like having a rambly chat with a neighbor.

What I Disliked:  The book required you to have quite a bit of knowledge to follow along; it was a long ramble so I wasn’t always clear what the point was; the cover is rather utilitarian.

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