The word 'Oblate' comes from the Latin word 'Oblatus'- an offering, something offered up- and therefore dedicated to, set aside for. The Oblates of Mary Immaculate are a religious congregation of priests and brothers in the Catholic Church under the patronage of Our Lady. They are essentially missionaries who work in many countries and are available for every kind of apostolic work.
"Your destiny is to be apostles, and so tend within your hearts the sacred fire that the Holy Spirit lights there..." - Eugene de Mazenod, Nov 17, 1851
We are 4,440 Oblates in all - young men, old men, Oblates in formation, priests, Brothers! Of this total, 580 are in formation, having already made their first commitment. For the highest number in formation, the prize goes to Africa, with 165 young men in training. We are in the five continents. The branch planted in Aix-en-Provence thrived well: more than 700 in Africa, 1450 in Europe, 630 in Asia, 360 in Latin America, 750 in Canada, 480 in the United States.
And all these people, what do they do? We do everything. We are not specialized, except in facing urgent needs.... It was enough for bishops to come to our Founder and say to him: "I do not have anybody..." for him to act, re-examine his manpower, cut personnel here and there, and release 2 or 3 men for these new needs. And that continues today still. You see, it is a question of passion, of missionary concern....