Home at Last
As far back as my memory goes I have always wanted to be a priested monk. I took the usual routes directed by the Roman Catholic Church but my heart beat to a different drummer, not rebellious or a child of the age, just different. Celibacy and the walls of a monastery were not exactly how God made me.
Finally, at forty, I revisited the call and built a cell in my home, and ventured forth. It was a treacherous journey, unaided, often misdirected, and certainly misunderstood by my family and friends. The parish priest wondered why I would want to do such a thing.
Yes, I looked for direction and support but little was found. Now, many years later I have been priested and find myself the Abbot General of the Cistercian Order of the Holy Cross, Common Observance. Home at last!
I write all this thinking that others may want to formalize their monastic call, find direction, support, and validation. The Cistercians are monks who live both inside and outside the walls. They seek a life of perfection through contemplation, work, prayer, stability, and obedience. The Order is open to lay men and women, and diocesan clergy, single or married, over twenty-one years of age, from Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox, and Protestant traditions.
We are an independent dispersed religious order within the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
We follow the Rule of St. Benedict, a Constitution, and have a manual that gives a detailed description of how to do it. Yes, we wear habits when appropriate. Most importantly we really care for and support each other. Our Constitution encourages us to support anchorite life particularly those not living in a monastery.
About the Abbot
The Most Reverend Oscar Joseph, OCCO has been a priest since April 19, 1993, and was consecrated as Bishop on November 9, 2002. He took his final vows as a monk on April 24, 1999.
He took the name “Oscar Joseph” to honor his father of the same name. Abbot Oscar Joseph, OCCO is married to Kathleen who has doctoral degrees in counseling and Mariology.
The Abbot conducts seminars and retreats with a focus on teaching prayer and healing. He has conducted healing services throughout the East Coast of the United States. At one time the Abbot was a nationally ranked 50-mile ultra-runner. Now he enjoys writing and reading the Church Fathers.
The Abbot has 21 years of experience as a classroom teacher; international seminar and workshop leader as well as being a radio and television personality. He has done extensive writing in a number of professional mediums and has a website featuring his latest books, https://abbotoscarjoseph.com/.
M.S. in Education/ English
Ph.D. in Counseling
D.S.T. in Sacred Theology (Scripture)