OF THE MISSIONARY OBLATES OF MARY IMMACULATE
Founder: Blessed Eugene de Mazenod.
The French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars had left
the Church in France in sad disarray.
In order to assist the Church to revitalise herself,
Father (later Bishop) Charles Joseph Eugene de Mazenod felt
the need of getting together a band of apostolic men, entirely
dedicated to the spiritual welfare of the poor.
On the 25 January 1816, Father de Mazenod, with Father
Tempier (both Secular Priests) began Community life in an
abandoned monastery. In February 1826 although the new Society numbered
only a dozen secular priests and a few clerics, Pope Leo XII
approved the new Institute with its Constitutions and Rules
Conferring on it the name of Oblates of Mary Immaculate. In
1841 the First batch of Oblates left for Canada. On the 21st
October 1947 four Oblates, namely Father Clamin, Keating,
and Brother De Stefanis with Father Stephen Semeria as Superior,
left Marseilles for Ceylon. On 25th April1 1861,
the First Ceylonese Oblate made his Religious Profession and
become a full-fledged native member of the Oblate Congregation
with the personal approval of the venerated Founder. Thus
was forged the golden link which binds the Oblates of Ceylon
to their Holy Founder himself. The Missionary roster of the
church is resplendent with the names of Oblates of Mary Immaculate
whose founder Charles Joseph Eugene de Mazenod was beatified
on the 19 October 1975 and his spiritual son Joseph Gerard,
a missionary in South Africa was raised to the altars in 1988
by Pope John Paul II. Their
motto being "He has sent me to evangelize the poor",
the Oblates then, as well as now, make it their primary aim
to bring the good news to those most in need.