The word 'Oblate' comes from the Latin word 'Oblatus' - a full offering of oneself - and therefore dedicated to, set aside for. The Oblates of Mary Immaculate are a religious congregation of priests and brothers 'set aside' for special missionary work of the Catholic Church under the patronage of Our Lady, Mary Immaculate.
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 3,667 Oblates in all - young men, old men, Oblates in formation, priests, brothers! Of this total, 562 are in formation, having already made their first commitment. For the highest number in formation, the prize goes to Africa, with 233 young men in training. We are in the five continents. The branch planted in Aix-En-Provence thrived well: more than 840 in Africa, 914 in Europe, 812 in Asia, 437 in Latin America, 622 in Canada and the United States.
And all these people, what do they do? We do everything. We are not specialised, 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...
The Missionary Oblates are called to every kind of mission, especially to the most abandoned. This leads them to dangerous situations sometimes and on two occasions several of our men were martyred for the faith. Discover the stories of the Oblate Marytrs of Spain and the Oblate Martyrs of Laos.
"Whoever wishes to become one of us must have an ardent desire for his own perfection, and be enflamed with the love for Our Lord Jesus Christ ad his Church and a burning zeal for the salvation of souls..." (Rule of 1853)