What is an Oblate Life?

Who are we?

 We are missionaries.  We began 200 years ago, on January 25, 1816, when Father Eugene de Mazenod and four companions came together to preach missions in Provencal, in the rural countryside of southern France.

Currently, how many are we?

We are nearly 4,000 Oblates in all – young men, old men, Oblates in formation, priests, Brothers! Of this total, more than 600 are in formation, having already made their first commitment. For the highest number in formation, the prize goes to Africa, with 259 young men in training.

Where are we?

We are on six continents. The branch planted in Aix-en-Provence thrived well: Oblates serve the poor in Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia, Latin America, and North America.

What do we do?

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….

  • “Whoever wishes to become one of us must have an ardent desire for his own perfection, and be inflamed with the love for Our Lord Jesus Christ and his Church and a burning zeal for the salvation of souls..” (Rule of 1853)
  • “We are men set apart for the Gospel, men ready to leave everything to be disciples of Jesus.” (Constitution 2)

  • “The community of the Apostles with Jesus is the model of our life.” (Const. 3)
  • “Like the Apostle, to preach “Jesus Christ, and him crucified… not in loftiness of speech. ” That is to say, by making manifest that we have pondered in our hearts the words which we proclaim, and that we began to practice before setting out to teach.” (Rule of 1826)
  • “Wherever we work, our mission is especially to those people whose condition cries out for salvation and for the hope which only Jesus Christ can fully bring.” (Const. 5)
  • “The Founder left us a legacy: ‘Among yourselves practice charity, charity, charity – and, outside, zeal for the salvation of souls.’ In fidelity to that testament, each member’s zeal is sustained by the bonds of fraternal charity.” (Const. 37)

These quotations show both the realism and the ideal of our life. Seeing the demands of our commitment sometimes frightens us. Mediocrity is always a potential danger. Daily generous fidelity, often heroic, that is the way followed by our brothers whose holiness the Church has recognized: Saint Eugene de Mazenod, the Blessed Joseph Gerard, the apostle of Basuthos, and Blessed Jozef Cebula, who was killed in Mauthausen in 1943, and so many others whose anonymous holiness is registered in the heart of God.

Learn more about the Oblates and their history.