35th General Chapter - Chapter News
September 8 - October 8, 2010

Day 21: Our new Superior General: Fr. Louis Lougen, OMI
09/28/2010

Louis Lougen, OMIThe 89 Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate from around the world at their 35th General Chapter in Rome have elected Father Louis LOUGEN, OMI, age 58, as the 13th Superior General of the Congregation. 

When asked by the outgoing Superior General if he is ready to accept this office, he responded: `Yes I am ready, with fear and trembling and the support of my brothers and the help of God.” Elected on the first ballot, Fr. Lougen will lead more than 4,000 Oblates working in 66 countries worldwide. 

Father Lougen is the current Provincial Superior of the United States Province. He succeeds Father Wilhelm STECKLING, OMI, who served as Superior General for the past 12 years and had finished his second 6 year term. 

Born in Buffalo, New York, USA in 1952, he met the Oblates as a student at Bishop Neumann High School in Buffalo, and entered the juniorate in Newburgh, New York, in 1970. He made his first profession at the novitiate in Godfrey, Illinois, in 1973 and continued his first formation at Oblate College in Washington, D.C., obtaining a Baccalaureate in Philosophy and a Master’s in Theology. He made perpetual vows in Newburgh in 1976. 

Following his ordination to the diaconate in 1978, he ministered for 6 months in Brazil. After his ordination to the priesthood in Washington in 1979, he returned to Brazil where, in the former São Paulo Province, he worked in parish and formation ministry, serving successively as pastor of several parishes, pre-novitiate director and novice master. As part of his ongoing formation as formator, Fr. Lougen participated in a 5-year school for formators program. He was elected to the Provincial Council of the São Paolo Province for three terms, serving in that capacity from 1985 to 1994. Upon returning to the United States in 1996, he served as assistant director of the pre-novitiate and pastor of Holy Angels Parish in Buffalo. 

He became novice master in Godfrey, Illinois, in 2002 and was named provincial in 2005.

Father Lougen is very much aware of the international and intercultural aspects of the worldwide Oblate congregation. His nearly 17 years in Brazil give him a sense of the struggle of the poor in Latin America. As provincial of the United States, he has frequently visited his province’s delegation in the African country of Zambia. He has also preached retreats in Asia. One of his priorities in his years as provincial in the United States was to encourage his brother Oblates to foster the call of new vocations to Oblate religious life.

On the day of his election as Superior General, he celebrated his 58th birthday. He speaks English, Portuguese and Spanish.

At a prayer service after the canonical election, Fr.Lougen made his Profession of Faith in the presence of those who had elected him. Father Steckling then gave him a precious relic passed on from one Superior General to another, the Oblate cross of St. Eugene de Mazenod. Then the capitulars came forward one by one to promise obedience to their newly elected Superior General.

In compliance with a new rule approved by the 35th General Chapter, the newly-elected Superior General and Council, in consultation with the current Superior General and Council, will decide the appropriate date for the installation, which will take place no later than three months after the end of the chapter.