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(Lat. oblatus, “one who has offered himself”). A term used in different historical periods with different connotations, but always with reference to monasteries. In the contemporary Roman Catholic Church it describes the member of a specified religious community, e.g., the Oblates of St. Charles Borromeo founded in 1857 by H.E. Manning, archbishop of Westminster. In medieval and modern times it referred either to children placed in a monastery by their parents in order to learn from the monks (cf. Benedictine Rule, chap. 49), or to those who shared in the common life of a monastery without taking the vows.