It is a good idea to initially meet and talk with a local Oblate priest. If he knows you well enough, he will be able to give you some personal feedback. And even if he doesn't, he will be able to provide you with the information and advice as to how to go about making a decision. He will be able to share with you his own journey into the Oblates.
When the Apostles first met Jesus and were curious about His mission, Jesus told them to Come and See for themselves. So, too, we try to invite anybody thinking about the Oblate Missionary life to Come and See the Seminary, which is in Melbourne, and meet with the other men who are following this path. During the year, information weekends are held specifically for those exploring this life choice
If you do not know any Oblate living near you, then it is best to write to the Vocations Co-ordinator, and he will arrange to visit you, or have an Oblate in your vicinity make an initial contact.
Fr John Sherman OMI
P.O. Box 286
If, after this first step, you feel a growing interest in, and attraction to the Oblate Life, you can apply to the Seminary Community to begin a 12 month preparation period, which is called the Pre-Novitiate. During this time you will live at our Seminary with the other Oblate students.
This period is a time of orientation and the chance to "try on" the Oblate life to see if it fits. It will give you the chance to meet, work and live with Oblates first hand, and also to undertake some preliminary studies. Normally, Year 12 or its equivalent is required for entry into the Pre-Novitiate program.
You may also wish to undertake or continue studies at University or College and live in the community without formally joining.. A number of people have found this a helpful way to discern their vocation while at the same time continuing their studies.
If, after this time of initiation into Oblate life, you decide with the community to become an Oblate, you begin what is called the Novitiate year. This is the heart of the Oblate's training, focusing on the Spiritual Life, and the history and traditions and vows of the Congregation.
It is a time set aside for prayer and personal growth in faith, under the guidance of the Novice Master and a Spiritual Counselor or Director, whose role is to "walk with you" on your journey towards becoming an Oblate.
The year concludes with the Novices making their first formal commitment to the Order, by taking First Vows, which is to live the Oblate vows of poverty, chastity and obedience for one year.
Once you have made this solemn commitment to live out the vows for a year, your course is set to complete your studies for priesthood or brotherhood at Catholic Theological College and possibly Monash University, which normally takes between 4 and 6 years, and can include studies for your Bachelor Degrees.
Every year, you are invited to renew your vows for a year, and after three years, you can apply to take Final Vows, which makes you a full member of the congregation. As well as the studies, students (known as scholastics) are given a variety of work experiences to develop skills and prepare them for their future mission. For those who wish to, after Final Vows comes ordination to Diaconate and then Priesthood which completes the years of training for service as an Oblate Missionary.
Becoming an Oblate Brother
While people think of the Oblates as Priests, there is another Oblate Vocation which is equally as important, and that is the Oblate brother. From the very beginning of the Province, working in the trade school for abandoned youth, and in the parishes, these men have epitomised the Oblate ideal of "working very closely with the people". The first Australian Oblate, in fact, is a Brother.
Brothers have a vital missionary role to play within the order They live and work alongside their fellow Oblates, who are priests, usually in the area where they have special talents and training This can include social work, catechetics, teaching, and the whole array of professions and trades that building a mission requires.
The steps you take to become an Oblate Brother are similar to that of Oblate priests. The Oblate Brother is a full and very valued member of the Congregation and his vocation is one that we are trying to highlight in these days of new and creative ways to be an Oblate missionary. If you are interested in the vocation of an Oblate Brother, contact the address given on the previous page.