France was a shattered society when St. Eugene de Mazenod gathered around him a group of like-minded Presiders. They would go to the poorest people in the land to remind them of their human dignity, announce again the message of Jesus Christ and help them to a new way of life. This enthusiastic group became the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate in 1826.
Despite being a small number, Eugene sent his missionaries to the furthest reaches of the world: to the poor in Canada and on the Texas/Mexican border; to Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) and South Africa. Oblates came to Britain in 1841 and to Ireland in 1856. At Eugene de Mazenod’s canonisation in December 1995, St.John Paul II said of him “he had a heart as big as the world”.
Almost 5,000 Oblate priests and brothers are to be found today in more than 60 countries of the world. Oblates from Ireland and the UK are missionaries in Brazil, South Africa, Indonesia, Philippines, Australia, United States and Canada.
Oblates exercise very diverse ministries but above all seek to dedicate themselves to the poor and abandoned. So, the Oblates strive to seek out, befriend and respect as sisters and brothers, the abandoned poor with their many faces: the weak, unemployed, illiterate, victims of addictions, sick, marginalised, immigrants, minorities – not only the materially poor, but also those who are poor in spirit, those who do not know the name of Jesus Christ. Our mission invites us to a team approach, to collaboration with laity and other religious communities, to formation of lay leaders who will serve the needs of others, to become a part of the lives of those of others.
For more information on the Oblate way of life please contact:
Fr. John McFadden OMI
St. Mary Star of the Sea
106 Constitution Street
Leith, Edinburgh EH6 6AW
tel: +44 (0) 131 554 2482
We invite you to listen and watch as three Missionary Oblate priests describe the work of the Oblates and see if their life might be the life for you.
The Oblates of Mary Immaculate are committed to creating a safe environment for all. We want children, young people and vulnerable adults to feel included and valued, their participation is to be encouraged by all Oblates in their pastoral ministry and in activities that enhance their spiritual, physical, emotional and social development.
The Oblates recognize the dignity and rights of all children and vulnerable adults and are committed to their support and safeguarding.
The Oblates undertake to ensure a safe environment for children and young people and to ensure their protection from all forms of abuse through best practice;
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Fr. Chicho Rois OMI is a member of the Oblate Leadership team in Rome and is the General Councillor for Europe. He was invited to the Congress as a listener and the following is a summary of his reflection which he entitled, "Listening by Heart.”
Fr Chicho began by thanking everybody present for the gift of their presence and participation during the Congress. He repeated the view held by many "We need more time” and "to take our time to really understand this "grace event”. He was keen to restate that something we need to do when working on our priorities is, "to look at what happens from the other angle, from the other perspective.” Not an easy task but one that will ensure lasting, strong and equal partnerships.
Fr Chicho urged delegates, "Please, take your time, personally and in conversation with your local community”. "Everybody is invited to be engaged in a conversation to build up relationship and to grow in faith and life” so that we deepen our faith experience and grow in our human and Christian experience. All such conversations need to be as inclusive as possible and thus will inevitably face difficulties and possible conflict. Recognising that one of the challenges we face in our local communities is of creating, increasing and expanding relationships, Fr Chicho invited us to engage in listening with our hearts. "Because listening by heart and being inclusive is a way to discover God’s presence in our midst and yes, we have to include God in our conversation.”
Fr Vincent Mulligan was honoured by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers for the decades of service he has given to the “sick and most vulnerable” as the director of pilgrimages with the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) order in Dublin.
Fr Mulligan has been at the helm of the Lourdes pilgrimage for 27 years, bringing hundreds of patients to the French holy site.
The 74-year-old also spent a number of years working as a teacher, bringing students there on the Easter break from school.
“I am just a figure head at the top of a great, great movement of people. I’ve been to Lourdes well over 100 times, and this was my 27th year in a row,” he said.
The Co Westmeath native this year celebrated his golden jubilee as a priest, and revealed that he was shocked to receive the prestigious award.
Kirk Jacob and I recently spent two weeks at the Foundation house of the Oblates. We were attending a meeting for people who work to share the vision and charism of St. Eugene
The 26 participants came from all over the world from coldest Canada to sunny Oz and the many lands inbetween – from South America, Africa and the Oceanic countries too! I think it is fair to say that, although we have worked promoting St Eugene and his work for the last four years, neither Kirk or myself anticipated the effect that this event would have on us! It was a tremendous honour that we were invited to represent the Anglo Irish province. In the workshop, we looked again at the life of St Eugene which included walking to places in Aix which were important to him. We re-read the Constitutions and Rules of the Congregation which govern Professed Oblate life. We shared existing resources about St Eugene from around the world and we created new materials for the worldwide Oblate family to use in order to celebrate 200 years of the Oblate mission in the world.
In the coming months and years I know there will be more information about the 2016 Oblate Mission celebrations available. The Superior General, Fr. Louis Lougen, has asked that all people interested in the work of the Oblates or the life of St Eugene prepare for this anniversary in a special way. Not just by preparing for the celebrations, of which I am sure there will be many, but he invites us to prepare by learning more about St Eugene and become more engaged in the worldwide Oblate Mission. The preparations will finish on January 25, 2017!
The Founder’s house in Aix is now a retreat house; it was originally a Carmelite convent and although it has recently been refurbished it is no 5 star hotel, but it is truly a home from home. The international community who live there welcome members of the Oblate family from around the world.
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