Who are the Missionary Oblates?
The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate serve poor and needy people in the United States and more than 60 countries around the world. They provide food for the homeless in New Orleans, shelter for victims of natural disasters in Haiti and bring the Word of God to isolated parts of Zambia. Their ministries are a testament to the profound effect God’s love has on the communities they serve.
The Missionary Oblates go where people’s needs are greatest. Today nearly 4,000 Missionary Oblates are ministering in some of the world’s most difficult missions, reaching out to serve those most in need. They are comfort to the sick, food to the hungry and hope for the orphaned. They bring peace to war-torn nations and spiritual healing to people in need.
Our Founder – St. Eugene De Mazenod
Saint Eugene De Mazenod was born into an aristocratic French family in 1782. The French Revolution forced his family into exile. At age 20 Eugene was able to return to Aix where he gave himself over to the pleasures of this world. But in 1807, he had a profound religious experience, and he committed himself to Christ and the Church.
As a young priest Eugene was appalled by the condition of the Church in southern France. The poor were being neglected. In response, Eugene gathered around him a small group of priests and began to preach directly to the poor. Eventually this small band became the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.
By the time of his death on May 21, 1861 the congregation he founded had grown to 415 priests and brothers in seven countries. On December 3, 1995 Pope John Paul II formally declared Eugene De Mazenod a saint.
Examples of Oblate Ministries
The “Milk Babies” of Zambia – The Oblates have created a program in which 60 Zambian infants are provided milk every day to improve their chances of survival. Many of these infants lost their mothers during childbirth and would have no other way to receive milk without the program.
Pope John Paul II Institution in Ouanaminthe, Haiti – The Oblates created Pope John Paul II Institution in the town of Ouanaminthe for refugee children who lost their homes in an earthquake. They transformed the parish hall at Notre Dame de l’ Assomption parish into a school that can accommodate up to 200 children.
Lebh Shomea House of Prayer in Texas – Visitors are provided an opportunity for communion with God in silence and solitude within a vast ecological wilderness of astounding beauty and creative possibilities. Guests of the retreat house in Sarita, Texas are afforded the support of a praying community and competent spiritual direction.
Radio Pio XII in Bolivia – For more than 50 years, Radio Pio XII has been broadcasting in support of miners who work in slave-like conditions high in the Andes Mountains of Bolivia. The station speaks out against corruption by the government, mining companies and labor unions. Radio Pio XII has been damaged by bombs many times through the years, and several Oblates have survived assassination attempts because of their outspoken support of human rights for Bolivia’s poor.