History of MAMI
a brief outline of mami in australia
M.A.M.I was established by Fr Michael O’Ryan OMI who was the Australian Oblate Provincial from 1953 to 1956. He appointed the late Fr Patrick McCarthy OMI to be the first Director of M.A.M.I. At that time the Oblates had only five parishes in Australia: Fremantle, Beaconsfield in WA, Moe in Gippsland, Sefton in NSW and Sorrento in Victoria. Fr Patrick McCarthy OMI visited the parishes, appealing for membership and Fr Michael O’Ryan OMI received permission from Archbishop Prendiville in WA, Bishop Ryan in Sale and Archbishop Danial Mannix of Melbourne to establish M.A.M.I in their dioceses. Fr McCarthy introduced Life Membership certificates and subscriptions and within three or four years, recruited around 400 Life Members.
During the 1950s many men followed Fr Patrick McCarthy as Director of M.A.M.I in the Province- Fr Michael Clarke OMI, Fr Henry McFall OMI, Fr James Carroll OMI and Fr Joe O’Shaughnessy OMI. There was a period when Fr Ned Ryan OMI, Provincial, appointed a Director in each capital city of the states where the Oblates mission; namely Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
Fr Michael Clarke OMI organized viewings of films about the missions at Provincial House in Camberwell, Melbourne, and started the quarterly Magazine, Immaculate, which was sent to all M.A.M.I members.
In 1958, Fr James Carroll OMI was appointed Director of M.A.M.I. He was very successful in promoting the monthly magazine, Immaculate, which reached a circulation of 20,000 in the early 60s and was in circulation for a total of 12 years. Fr James Carroll was in turn followed by Fr Tom Brady OMI who was succeeded by Fr Robert McGregor OMI in 1968. Fr Robert McGregor combined his work as Parish Priest of Sefton with the Directorship of M.A.M.I and continued his annual raffles and fundraising functions. Fr Robert McGregor’s efforts proved instrumental in funding the building of St. Mary’s Seminary, opened in Melbourne in 1963.
Fr William Cagney OMI negotiated our first Australian foreign mission in 1970 and Indonesia was the country chosen. In November 1971, Fr John Hannah OMI (Provincial) carried out this decision by sending four Australian Oblates to Indonesia- Frs. Kevin Casey, Pat Moroney, David Shelton and Pat Slattery. He realized that opening a mission in a third world country required an enormous amount of spiritual and financial support and that M.A.M.I would be an integral source of this. Fr John Hannah OMI (Provincial) appointed Fr Denis McCarthy OMI as M.A.M.I Director in January 1971 a position he would hold for the next 35 years.
The founding of our Indonesian Mission gave M.A.M.I a real boost. Life Membership, Annual Membership and Register of the Dead certificates were commissioned and membership flourished.
Fr. Denis McCarthy OMI continued the great foundations laid by former M.A.M.I Directors by promoting and increasing the membership through raising funds from annual donations and subscriptions. Rather than depend on raffles and promoters as a fundraising means, he concentrated on appealing in parishes for an increase in memberships. He made appeals in Oblate parishes every two years and also made appeals in over 200 diocesan parishes where the parish priests were supportive of helping our Oblate missions. Fr Denis McCarthy established the current M.A.M.I News Bulletin that was published six times a year for 17 years and quarterly during the last 18 years. During this time membership of M.A.M.I reached 16,500 families by the mid 80s. Of course the work of M.A.M.I is not achieved by Oblates alone but with the dedicated help of secretaries, Mrs. Lorna Goddall who was with M.A.M.I for 27 years and now Mrs. Sandra Dwyer.
Fr McCarthy retired from the Directorship and was succeeded by Fr James FitzPatrick OMI in 2005. Fr James FitzPatrick OMI approached his new role with great enthusiasm and energy. One of his main contributions was updating the format of the M.A.M.I. News Bulletin.
Fr Harry Dyer OMI succeeded Fr James FitzPatrick OMI being appointed M.A.M.I Director while also Parish Priest of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception parish, Sunshine, Victoria. Mr. David Maiden was recruited in the role of Mission Coordinator to assist Fr. Harry Dyer. Fr Harry continued as Director of M.A.M.I after being appointed Provincial of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate in 2007. Under this new Mission Team leadership the focus of the Newsletter changed to highlight the various missionary roles of the Oblates and the Oblate Family in the Australian Province and the China Mission. To this day, M.A.M.I has a very solid core of members, whose generosity has been a vital support for our Oblate missions in Java, China Mission and St. Mary’s Seminary, Mulgrave.
In 2008 Fr Harry Dyer OMI, Provincial, undertook a restructuring of the Provincial administration. This resulted in the new ‘Office of Mission’ being established which would incorporate M.A.M.I, Oblate Family, Oblate Youth, Rosies, Partners in Mission. In January 2009 Fr Harry Dyer OMI (Provincial) appointed Fr Christian Fini OMI as the Director of the Office of Mission. Mr. David Maiden retired to undertake a new overseas role.
M.A.M.I will continue to be a vibrant part of our Oblate life here in Australia as more and more people connect with our Oblate Family through the Association.
We encourage you to consider joining M.A.M.I as we endeavor to support the missionary works of the Oblates both in Australia and overseas.
For instructions on how to join, please click here!