The Oblate Story

This story starts on 1 August 1792 with Eugene de Mazenod being born into a privileged family in France. His father was a government official dealing with taxation and finance. When Eugene was eight years old the family had to flee France because of the turmoil of the French Revolution.

His father proved to be unsuccessful in business and the family became almost destitute. His mother returned to France where she sought a divorce. While living in Venice, Eugene was welcomed by the Zinelli family. Bartolo Zinelli, who was a priest, took special care of Eugene and his education. Don Bartolo was a major influence in the personal and spiritual development of the future founder of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

Like many of the French émigrés the de Mazenod family had to continually flee to seek refuge from the French Army. They finally were able to settle in Palermo, Sicily. This was because of the kindness of the Duke and Duchess of Cannizaro. Eugene became part of their household as companion to their two sons. As a young man, he now rediscovered his noble origins and began to live a lavish lifestyle. In this period, he began to call himself “Comte de Mazenod”. The future seemed to beckon an easy way of life.

In 1822, aged twenty, Eugene moved back to France with the expectation of continuing his life as the Comte de Mazenod. He lived with his mother in Aix-en-Provence. He gradually became aware of the shallowness of his lifestyle. He began to search for a deeper meaning to his life. He engaged himself in greater involvement in personal study, prayer and charitable work.

Good Friday, 27 March, 1807, proved to be a turning point for Eugene de Mazenod. While contemplating the image of the Crucified Christ, Eugene had an intense religious experience of God’s Mercy. A calling to the priesthood began to manifest itself. Eugene answered the call. And so, despite opposition from his mother, he entered the seminary of St. Sulpice in Paris. He was ordained a priest in Amiens on 21 December, 1811.

In 1816, the Church in France was still suffering the effects of the French Revolution. Responding to this need, Fr. Eugene de Mazenod recognised the need to preach the Gospel of Jesus to the poor working-class people of southern France. He called together a group of priests with the mission of preaching the Gospel and working for and with these people. Other priests, drawn by the work of these men, soon joined the group and in 1826 they received papal approval as a Religious Congregation under the patronage of Mary Immaculate.
Fr Eugene de Mazenod eventually became the Bishop of Marseilles, and he began to send his missionaries overseas to proclaim the Gospel to the world’s farthest ends. At his death in 1861, 400 Oblates were working in Europe, Asia, Africa and America. Today, over 3,500 Oblate priests and brothers work in 67 countries, on every continent.
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From the moment the Oblates arrived in Fremantle in 1894, they have dedicated themselves to the mission of the Church in Australia. They dedicate themselves to serving the poor in parishes, schools, prisons, among the youth and with those on the streets. The Oblates preach Christ to the poor and the most abandoned and have served them in Australia for more than 100 years.
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(To be) Followers of Jesus Christ in the footsteps of Saint Eugene de Mazenod, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate are a community of missionaries under the patronage of Mary.

Guided and inspired by the Holy Spirit, we proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ, who is alive and active in the world, by living and witnessing as apostolic men of prayer and holiness. Leaving nothing undared to establish the Kingdom of God, we work together with the people we serve, giving preference to the poor with their many faces.

Our Mission is characterised by Daring, Passion, Community and Service. In collaboration with the local Church, we are always open to new ways to reach those most in need.

We value:
Human Dignity – Oblates walk with people, recognising and celebrating the God-given dignity of each, especially those who are poor or in any need. We commit to ongoing listening and dialogue with them.

Evangelisation –
Oblates proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ to all, renewing them through its influence.

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