The Oratory of the Good Shepherd is an Anglican Society founded in 1913 at Cambridge University and now extends around the world with provincial organisations in Europe, Australia, North America and South Africa.
Members of the Oratory are bound together by a common Rule and discipline; they do not normally live together in community but meet regularly in Chapter and Retreat.
The Rule of the Oratory requires celibacy, a regular account of spending and direction of life. In addition, "Labour of the Mind" is a characteristic of the Oratory and members are expected to spend time in study.
The Oratory encourages its members in their individual ministries and has among its members - bishops, parish priests, lecturers, missionaries, a cathedral verger, an insurance consultant and many others.
Members are grouped together into "Colleges" and meet regularly to find mutual support and to share together their living of the Oratory life. The "Colleges" are grouped together into four Provinces: Europe, North America, Australia and Southern Africa. Each Province meets annually for a Provincial Chapter and Retreat. Every three years the General Chapter of the Oratory meets and this Chapter is presided over by the Superior of the whole Oratory, whose responsibility it is to maintain the unity of the Provinces of the Oratory. The Superior is elected every three years at the General Chapter.
Father Peter Hibbert OGS Superior
A member of the Oratory undertakes to follow the example of Jesus the Good Shepherd and to live a life of prayer, discipline and pastoral concern. The Rule commits him to a daily Eucharist, offices and an hour’s prayer.
A person wishing to test a vocation to the Oratory should contact the Provincial of the province in which he resides or the Superior or the Secretary-General to learn more about its life. Click here for the names and addresses of the Superior, the Secretary-General and Provincials. If the candidate wishes to proceed, there is a period of postulancy and probation before election to full membership. Members are professed (that is, made full members) for one year and may then renew their profession annually until such time as they are eligible to make profession for longer periods or for life.
Members of the Oratory regard each other as brothers and find within the Oratory friendship, trust and love. A commitment to the Oratory way of life is a commitment to God and to each other so that we might serve Jesus the Good Shepherd both as individuals and as a religious family.
Attached to the Oratory are Companions and Associates and they are considered to be an important part of the Oratory family. Companions keep a Rule of Life based on the Rule observed by the professed brethren. They undertake to attend the Eucharist on Sundays and some weekdays, to pray regularly, to spend time in retreat and to be regular in alms-giving, confession and praying for the Oratory.
Companions report quarterly to one of the professed brethren and where possible are invited to take part in local Chapter meetings and retreats. Those who wish to become Companions are invited to examine the Rule of Life and to try and live it for a few months before being formally admitted.
Associates are friends of the Oratory who wish to receive its annual report, newsletter and intercession lists etc, and to pray for the Oratory.