Cell groups are reserved for those that have made their Final Oblation in affiliation with Sacred Heart Monastery unless other arrangements have been made. Please contact Jim Rea, Lead Dean, for more information.

Cell Group Formation

Ongoing formation is a lifelong commitment and often takes place in the context of a community. Participation in monthly community meetings of the Nebraska Benedictine Oblates provides an opportunity for ongoing formation within a Benedictine community.

Following an individual’s Final Oblation, to supplement attendance at the monthly community meetings, the opportunity is available to participate in a small group (cell group), which allows for a more personal and intimate setting for encouragement and support in continuing one’s formation.

Oblates gather in cell groups for common prayer, study of The Rule, discussion of applying The Rule in life settings, and discussion of readings relevant to Benedictine life and practice. Cell groups meet on different days and times, as well as frequency (some meet every other week, others meet once a month). Small groups provide opportunities that are not feasible in larger community meetings.

Cell groups are a vital resource to enable loving connections with fellow Oblates where one’s growth and service in the Benedictine tradition can be strengthened and matured. The model is the ancient small houses (cellae) of the monks.

In order to coordinate the overall effectiveness of the cell group communities, an Oblate who has an interest in joining a particular cell group can make this request to the Oblate Deans. If there is a preference for a particular group, or if logistical considerations make one group more accessible than another, the Oblate Deans will make every effort to accommodate the request. In addition, the cell group leader will be contacted about the request and the decision.

The Deans can also provide further information about the availability of all cell groups currently meeting. When a person makes a request for membership in a cell group, the request will be considered at the next monthly meeting of the Deans with attendance to begin following their approval. If there are extenuating circumstances that make attendance at one particular cell group of high priority, contact the Deans when making this request.

Hastings Cell Group:


Saint Scholastica Cell

Leader: Lee Ostdiek
Meetings: The fourth Saturday of the month beginning at 9:30 a.m. in the Guadalupe Center, 421 N. Kansas, Hastings.

Lincoln Cell Groups:


Beginners’ Cell

Leader: Marti Fritzen
Meetings: Monthly on the fourth Sunday at 7:00 p.m., beginning with Vespers in the chapel at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital. Then the group goes to the Platte Room for its gathering.
The Rule of Benedict (RB 73:8) says that the rule is for beginners; we are all beginners and all are welcome to this cell.

Hildegard von Bingen Cell

Leader: Carol Roettmer Brewer
Meetings: Every other Saturday, beginning at 8:00 a.m. with Morning Prayer in the chapel at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital. Following a time for quiet reflection, the members of this cell then gather in Sheridan B for lectio divina and conversation on a topic or the reading. Following this, members may gather in the cafeteria for breakfast and fellowship.
Details: Find out more.

Pax Christi Cell

Leader: Lorene Ludy
Meetings: Monthly on the third Tuesday from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. at Mary Lu Long’s house, 1615 Brent Blvd., Lincoln.

Preferring Christ Cell

Leaders: Charlotte Liggett
Meetings: Monthly on the fourth Sunday at 7:00 p.m., beginning with Vespers in the chapel at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital.
Readings come from Preferring Christ by Norvene Vest.

Cell Group Readings: 2020–2022

Text: The Forgotten Desert Mothers: Sayings, Lives, and Stories of Early Christian Women, Laura Swan, ISBN 978-0-8091-4016-9.
The cell groups will spend time with this book from the fall of 2020 through the spring of 2022.


Selections from The Oblate Handbook
Monastic Tradition Section: Simplification of Life, p. 53–top of p. 58 (up to Contemplative Availability). Download here.

Front-page icons (descriptions before Introduction) to p. 11 (including Introduction and the first part of Chapter 1), and Calendar pp. 202–204.

Chapter 1: Begin at “Entrance to the desert or monastery” through the end of the chapter (pp. 11–19)

Chapter 2: Desert Spirituality, pp. 20–31


Chapter 3: The Sayings of the Desert Mothers, p. 32 to top of p. 43, up to Amma Syncletica

Chapter 3: start at The Sayings of Amma Syncletica, p. 43 to top of p. 64

Chapter 3: begin at The Sayings of Amma Theodora to end of chapter, pp. 64–70

Chapter 4: Bright Stars in the Desert Sky: Lesser-known desert mothers, through Eugenia of Alexandria, pp. 71–82

Chapter 4: Begin at Euphrasia the Elder and Euphrasia the Younger, (through Mastridia of Jerusalem), p. 82 to top of p. 94

Chapter 4: begin at Matrona of Perge through the end of the chapter, pp. 94–105

Chapter 5: Deaconesses of the Early Church through Marthana, p. 106 to top of p. 114 and pp. 171–177, Ordination Rite of Deacons in the Byzantine Tradition

Chapter 5: begin at Melania the Elder through the end of Chapter 5, pp. 114–126

Chapter 6: Mentors of the Monastic Way: Communities and Their Leaders, through Macrina’s Prayer, p. 127 to top of p. 135


Chapter 6: begin at Rome through end of the chapter, pp. 135–149

Epilogue: The Gift of the Desert (entire), pp. 151–169

Oblate Handbook, Monastic Tradition Section: Life of Anthony, Basil’s Rule, Evagrius Ponticus, pp. 40–42

Oblate Handbook, Monastic Tradition Section: John Cassian, The Place of Monasticism in the Modern World, pp. 43–45

Oblate Handbook, Monastic Tradition Section: Contemplative Availability, pp. 58–62.