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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.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.