1. The Founder
  2. The Constitutions and Rules
  3. General Chapters
  4. Circular letters of the Superiors General
  5. Oblate writings
  6. The Spiritual Life of Well-known Oblates

Our Oblate spirituality emanates from two sources: the experience of the interior and apostolic life of the Founder and those of his spiritual sons, especially the most renowned. Even if a profound harmony necessarily exists between the characteristic traits of the two experiences, they are not necessarily identical. In contemporary language we would say that the charism of the Founder and that of his spiritual sons, both in their concordance and in their differences, constitute the sources of Oblate spirituality.

We can find these sources in the life and writings of the Founder, the constant evolution of the Rule, the General Chapters, the circular letters of the Superiors General, in Oblate writings and the life of a number of well-known Oblates.

The Founder

Anyone interested in getting to know the spirituality and the charism of a religious congregation should first of all study the life and writings of its Founder. This is, in fact, the case with Eugene de Mazenod, Founder of the Oblates. Indeed, in his Circular Letter of February 2, 1857, he wrote: “[The Oblate Congregation] has in some way sprung from my heart”. We can then say that the spiritual life and the charism of the Founder constitute the primary and most important source of the spiritual life of a religious congregation. [1]


We know the Founder especially through his writings. Even though, with the passing of the years, some of them were lost, we still possess a significant portion of them today. These writings, either in the original manus, in reproduction or tranions more or less complete, have been copied and arranged in chronological order. They are contained in thirty-two imposing volumes conserved in the General Archives of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in Rome. Certainly, at the head of the list in terms of importance are his spiritual writings and letters to his Oblates. Consultation of these works has been greatly facilitated by a complete card index of names and subjects prepared by Fathers Yvon Beaudoin and Mathias Menger.

In spite of different attempts to do so, to date a complete edition of these subjects and names has not been drawn up. From 1977 on, Father Beaudoin has undertaken, little by little, but with a remarkable tenacity, the task of publishing the most important ones. By 1999, he had published 19 volumes of letters, spiritual writings and the Diary of the Founder.


Next in line to the personal writings, come the numerous biographies. We point out only the most important ones from the point of view of documentation and spiritual content and present them in chronological order.

COOKE, Robert, O.M.I. Sketches of the Life of Mgr. de Mazenod Bishop of Marseilles and Founder of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, London, Burns and Oates, 1879, 1882, 2 vols., 400 and 419 pages respectively.

This is the first of the biographies of the Founder. The author makes no pretence of writing a scientific work. He simply wants to tell what he knew about the Founder, whether it was firsthand knowledge or things he had learned from his Oblate confreres. Another edition of this work, abridged and re-edited by Father Dawson Thomas, was published in Dublin in 1914 (245 pp).

RAMBERT, Toussaint, Vie de Monseigneur Charles-Joseph-Eugène de Mazenod, évêque de Marseille, fondateur de la Congrégation des Missionnaires Oblats de Marie Immaculée, Tours, Mame, 1883, 2 vols., 800 and 720 pages respectively.

This is the first extensive biography of the Founder aimed at an Oblate readership. From the critical point of view, it leaves a lot to be desired. Nevertheless, it has real value because it reproduces a number of the Founder’s writings which today cannot be found and were probably destroyed.

REY, Achille, Histoire de Monseigneur Charles-Joseph-Eugène de Mazenod, évêque de Marseille, fondateur de la Congrégation des Missionnaires Oblats de Marie Immaculée. vol. I, Rome, General House, 1928; vol. 2, Marseilles, Marseilles Printers, 1928.

The author died in 1911, leaving his second volume unfinished. Later on, the work was hurriedly finished and published in 1928 in two volumes, 758 and 912 pages respectively. This is a substantial biography prepared in view of the beatification of Bishop de Mazenod. It is as richly documented as that of Father Rambert, but is somewhat more critically written.

RICARD, Mgr Antoine, Monseigneur de Mazenod, évêque de Marseille, fondateur de la Congrégation des Missionnaires Oblats de Marie Immaculée, 1782-1861, Paris, Delhomme and Briguet, 1892, 474 p.

This is the first biography written by a non-Oblate and targeting the general public as readership. Bishop Ricard knew the Founder personally and had a good grasp of the distinguishing features of his personality.

LEFLON, Jean, Eugène de Mazenod, évêque de Marseille, fondateur des Missionnaires Oblats de Marie Immaculée, 1782-1861, Paris, Plon, 1957-1965, 3 vols., 492, 670 and 861 pages respectively.

Monsignor Jean Leflon is well known in France for his work as a historian. The Oblates gave him the task of giving an accurate portrayal of the Founder since certain French historians had called into question the way Bishop de Mazenod had been portrayed up until then. His portrayal of Bishop de Mazenod’s genuine character was meant to offer further support for his beatification. This is by far the most extensive and the most critically written biography of Eugene de Mazenod from the historical point of view, but it does treat his spiritual life with the same thoroughness. (It has been translated into English and Spanish.) [2]


JEANCARD, Mgr Jacques, Mélanges historiques sur la Congrégation des Oblats de Marie Immaculée à l’occasion de la vie et la mort du R. P. Suzanne, Tours, Mame, 1872, 400 p.

Bishop Jeancard was a close friend of the Founder. Jeancard is a very fine writer and does a good job sketching the spiritual silhouette of the Founder against the background of the Oblate community.

BAFFIE, Eugène, Esprit et vertus du missionnaire des pauvres Charles-Joseph-Eugène de Mazenod, Paris-Lyon, 1894, 633 p.

In this work, the author presents the virtues of the Founder in a schematic and rather uncritical fashion.

MORABITO, Joseph, Je serai prêtre, Eugène de Mazenod de Venise à Saint-Sulpice, 1794-1811, Ottawa, Oblate Studies Edition, 1954, 200 p.

This is the first attempt to make a critical study of the spiritual journey of the Founder from his childhood to the priesthood inclusively.

PIELORZ, Jòzef, La vie spirituelle de Mgr de Mazenod, 1782-1812,ètude critique, Ottawa, èditions des Études oblates, t.14, 1956,318p.

This is the first critical work on the spiritual journey of the Founder covering the period from his birth to the beginning of his apostolate in Aix-en-Provence. It is a thesis presented at the Gregorian University in Rome as requirement for a doctorate in theology. In the preface, the then-Superior General, Leo Deschâtelets has this to say about it: “This work, so critical in its approach, is one of the most serious and original on the Founder. Whoever wishes to know the soul of Bishop de Mazenod and understand the spirit of our Congregation cannot avoid reading it”. Father Pielorz, relying on the first letters of the Founder (1799-1818) which he discovered on June 19, 1953, differs considerably from Father Morabito in the presentation of the spiritual journey of the Founder. In the wake of this work, each school has had its protagonists and its opponents. (This work has been translated into English).

TACHÉ, Alexander, La vie spirituelle d’Eugène de Mazenod, 1812-1818. Etude historico-doctrinale, Rome, 1960, typewritten, 455 p. He published: Excerpta ex dissertatione ad Lauream in Facultate theologica P.U.G., Rome, 1963, 102 p.

It was a follow-up to the preceding study. In this work, Father Taché gives a very good account of the spiritual life of the Founder, covering his apostolate in Aix, the stresses involved in founding the Congregation up to the writing of the first Rule in 1818. Unfortunately, only one part of this study has been published.

MOOSBRUGGER, Robert, The Spirituality of Blessed Eugene de Mazenod from 1818 until 1837, Rome, 1981, 153 p.

This author continues the study of the Founder’s spiritual journey from 1818 until 1837 when he was appointed Bishop of Marseilles. One portion yet remains to be treated, the last period of his life, 1837 to 1861.

LUBOWICKI, Kazimierz, Mystère et dynamique de l’amour dans la vie du Bx Eugène de Mazenod, Rome, 1990, 426, p.

In this thesis presented for a doctorate in spiritual theology at the Teresianum in Rome, the author focuses on the love of Christ in the life of the Founder. Transformed by it, he developed into “a kind of living icon” of this love.

ARENA, Domenico, Unità et missione nelle lettere del beato Eugenio de Mazenod fondatore dei Missionari Oblati di Maria Immacolata (1782-1861). Excepta ex dissertatione ad doctoratum in Facultate Missiologiae Pontificiae Universitatis Gregorianae, Rome, 1991, 76, p.

The author addresses the vast topic of unity in community life and the Oblate mission. He draws the conclusion “unity is what is most dear to de Mazenod’s heart”.

BX EUGENE DE MAZENOD, Selected Texts Related to the O.M.I. Constitutions and Rules, Rome, 1983, 587 p. (Texts chosen by Father Paul Sion. Translated into several languages.)

Other biographies and monographs of lesser importance can be found in BEAUDOIN, Yvon, Essai de bibliographie sur la Congrégation des Oblats de Marie Immaculée, Rome, A.G., 39 photocopied pages.


Father Francis de Paul Henry Tempier, the first associate and co-worker of Eugene de Mazenod, was his very close friend and his spiritual director; he is inseparable from him, his alter ego. Father Beaudoin makes the very insightful observation that he is truly “the second father for the Oblates”. [3] Consequently, we can consider his life and his writings as an integral part of those of the Founder.

The Constitutions and Rules

According to the Founder, the Rule must give a singular and specific inspiration and communicate the same spirit to all the members of the Congregation as an essential condition of its stability, its continued existence and the fervor of all its members. [4] In his circular letter of August 2, 1853, speaking as one who is basing his conclusions on long experience, he urges: “Read and meditate your holy Rules. There you will find the secret of your perfection; they include everything that is to lead you to God. … Read, meditate and observe your Rules, and you will become true saints, you will build up the Church, you will honor your vocation and you will attract graces of conversion on the souls you will evangelize as well as every kind of blessings on the Congregation, your mother, and on its members who are your brothers.” [5]

The Rule developed organically with the life of the Congregation. Already in the Founder’s lifetime, it was modified. This natural trend would continue after his death right up to our day when a total refashioning of the Rule took place – while at the same time holding firm to its original charism. We can say that the Rule, understood in the context of its continual evolution and in its total recasting, constitutes the second source of our spirituality and our charism.


The original text of the Rule was written in French by the Founder at Saint-Laurent-du-Verdon in 1818. [6] In view of obtaining Pontifical approbation, the text was translated into Latin. With some slight modifications made by the Congregation of Religious and Bishops, the text was approved by Leo XII on February 17, 1826 and published in Galliopolis (Villefranche-sur-Mer) bearing the title Constitutiones et Regulae Missionariorum Oblatorum Sanctissimae et Immaculatae Virginis Mariae. The three subsequent editions of 1884, 1910 and 1928 were issued in response to the need of integrating into the Rule the new norms of the Holy See, especially those of the Code of Canon Law promulgated in 1917.

In the wake of Vatican Council II, modifications and up-dating proved insufficient. The need was felt to rewrite the Rule completely, both as regards content and form while conserving as much as possible the original charism of the Founder.

The first attempt in this direction was made by the General Chapter of 1966. Approved ad experimentum by the Holy See, the new Rule was published that same year. Defended by some, attacked by others, it was reworked in the period between 1967-1980. The final product was a kind of happy synthesis of the two tendencies. It was no surprise then that it was approved almost unanimously by the 1980 Chapter. Approved by the Holy See with only slight modifications, it was published in 1982. The official text was not in Latin but in French under the title, Constitutions et Règles de la Congrégation des Missionnaires Oblats de Marie Immaculée, Rome, 1982. [7]


Among the numerous commentaries on the Rule, the following seem to be the most important:

YENVEUX, Alfred, Les Saintes Règles de la Congrégation des Missionnaires Oblats de Marie Immaculée, Paris, Oblate Procure in Paris, 1903, 2 vols.

Nine other volumes written from 1878 to 1903 have remained in manu form. They are conserved in the Oblate General Archives in Rome. Father Yenveux comments on the articles of the Rule with abundant quotations taken from the letters and commentaries of the Founder. Many of these letters are lost to us today.

COSENTINO, Georges, Histoire de nos Règles, Ottawa, Oblate Studies Edition, 1955, 6 vols.

This is a historical-doctrinal study of our Rules.

RESLE, Joseph, Commentarium privatum Constitutionum et Regularum, Ottawa, Oblate Studies Edition, 1956-1963, 5 vols.

In the traditional spirit, Father Reslé comments the Rule and opposes any in depth changes.

JETTÉ, Fernand, O.M.I. The Apostolic Man: A Commentary on the 1982 Edition of the Oblate Constitutions and Rules, General House, Rome, 1992, 541 p.

General Chapters

General Chapters, in their role of governing in the spirit of the Rule or in recommending modifications of the Rule to the Holy See and by their constant concern to deal with abuses, promote in an effective way the spiritual and apostolic life according to the charism specific to the Congregation. They stand at crucial stages of development and important turning points, both with regard to personnel as well as with regard to works. Consequently, they constitute another important source of our spirituality.


From its inception until 1992, the Congregation has held thirty-three chapters. The first was held in 1818 and the thirty-third was held in 1998. Reports of these Chapters are kept in the General Archives in Rome. All told, they amount to several handwritten or typewritten volumes. We list them below, giving their contents:

Volume 1: Chapters of 1818, 1821, 1824, 1826, 1831, 1837, 1843, 1850, 1856.

Volume 2: Chapters of 1861, 1867, 1873, 1879, 1887.

Volume 3: Chapters of 1893, 1898.

Volume 4: Chapters of 1904, 1906, 1908, 1920, 1926, 1932.

Volume 5: Chapters of 1938 and 1947.

Volume 6: Chapter of 1953.

Volume 7: Chapter of 1959.

Volume 8-9: Chapter of 1966.

Volume 10-11: Chapter of 1972.

Volume 12-14: Chapter of 1974.

Volume 15: Chapter of 1980.

Volume 16: Chapter of 1986.

Acts of the 1992 Chapter.

Several extracts of the proceedings have been published in Missions.


There are only two critical historical works which have been written on the General Chapters.

COSENTINO, Georges, Nos Chapitres généraux, Ottawa, Oblate Studies Edition, 1957, 330 p.

This is a general work on the twenty-five first General Chapters. The author limits himself to reproducing the proceedings of the Chapters.

PIELORZ, Józef, Les Chapitres généraux au temps du fondateur, 1818-1861, Ottawa, Oblate Studies Edition, 1968, 2 vols., 321 and 278 pages respectively.

This work is a historical critical documentation of the first ten General Chapters reproducing the entire text of the proceedings.

“The characteristic feature of these Chapters from 1818 to 1861 is the awe-inspiring presence of the Founder who presided over the sessions. He directed them and led them with undisputed authority. This presence explains everything. Was it not he who was inspired by the Holy Spirit to found this institute, to endow it with the holy law for its spiritual and apostolic life? Did he not continue to exercise his charism as founder? If what was needed was to modify some point in the Rule, he was at hand to say how it should be done. If there was need to solve some difficulty, if people were undecided or upset about an issue, the Chapter would turn to him, the father of the Oblate family, and in the light of God, the Founder would answer with wisdom, serenity and charity. His presence cast light on problems, reformed, corrected and inspired. [… These General Chapters] give us a picture of the Congregation during this period of time when the Founder steadfastly occupied its center of gravity. He stood at its center as an ardent soul and an inspiration for the Congregation as a whole as well as for each one of its members.”

“Father Pielorz did not limit himself to merely reproducing the texts of the Chapters’ proceedings. He complemented them with many meticulous monographs which are genuine revelations. He made faithful use of all previously published works, but at the same time continued to forge ahead in scientific research. This research led him to discover a body of unpublished documents. Guided by his marvelous instinct as a historian, he proceeded to carefully inventory these documents, rescuing them from the oblivion of dusty archives. Indeed, his work has painted a new portrait of the Congregation according to each stage delineated by these Chapters. He has quoted figures enumerating personnel and done so with such accuracy that he has overlooked virtually no one; he has listed our houses and works. Future historians will be forever in his debt for having provided for them the results of his research, his working hypotheses which led him to pursue paths that have provided rich and surprising discoveries.” [8]

Unfortunately, no one has ever continued this work. The same author published in Vie Oblate Life, a résumé of the entire thirty-one General Chapters, giving the dates, the length of the Chapter, the place it was held, the number of capitulants and Oblates as well as the most significant happenings of these Chapters. [9]

Circular letters of the Superiors General

Another important source for our Oblate spirituality comes from the letters written by the Superiors General and addressed to all the members of the Congregation. It was through these circular letters that the Superiors General prepared for or carried out the decisions of the General Chapters, announcing revisions and new editions of the Rule, curbing abuses, exhorting their confreres to observe the Rule and passing once again in review the Oblate ideal, sometimes by writing doctrinal treatises about it.

These letters are conserved in two distinct collections:


The first circular letter is that of March 19, 1850, written by the Founder, and the last is that of Father Leo Deschâtelets, April 11, 1972.


From 1972 on, the circular letters of the Superiors General have been published in the collection Acta Administrationis generalis.


In dealing with the Founder, the Rule, General Chapters and the letters of Superiors General, we have quoted from a number of publications which treat of these matters. But these books or articles make up only a small part of Oblate writing on the subject. As a source which enriches Oblate spirituality at any given period, it grows richer and richer year by year. From this immense multi-colored garden, we have selected a few flowers.


BERNAD, Marcel, Bibliographie des Missionnaires Oblats de Marie Immaculée, Ecrits des Missionnaires Oblates: 1816-1915, Liège, H. Dessain 1922, 147 p.

This is the first attempt at drawing up an Oblate bibliography. In it, not only do we find listed the books and pamphlets that have been published, but also a number of Oblate manus. It goes up to the year 1915.

BEAUDOIN, Yvon, Essai de bibliographie sur la Congrégation des Oblats de Marie Immaculée, Oblate General Archives, 1985, 39 p. photocopied.

This list contains only the works in the General Archives and in the Oblate library in the General House in Rome. With its thousand titles, this bibliography is the most important one with regard to the history of the Congregation in general and its spirituality in particular.

SMEENK, Karl, B., Bibliographie der OMI Schriften in Deutsche Sprache, 1990, 66 p.

IDEM, A Preliminary List of Publications Written in English by Oblates of Mary Immaculate or by Others about Oblate Congregation, Viborg, Denmark, 1992, 114 p.


ORTOLAN, Theophile, Les Oblats de Marie Immaculée durant le premier siècle de leur existence (1816-1914), Paris, 1914-1932, 4 vols.

Father Ortolan died in 1937 before he could finish his work. The fifth volume on the United States, Mexico, Ceylon and South Africa (1861-1892) remains unfinished in manu form. This is the first general history of the Congregation. As a piece of writing, it is wordy and leaves something to be desired from the critical point of view.

SCHARSCH, Phillip, Geschichte der Kongregation de Heiligen und Unbeflecten Jungfrau Maria 1816-1897, manu form, Engelport, 1952, 6 vols.

This is the second general history of the Congregation. It is more detailed and more critical than the one mentioned above.

LEVASSEUR, Donat, Histoire des Missionnaires Oblats de Marie Immaculée, Montreal, 1983, 1986, 2 vols., 308 and 485 pages respectively.

This is a work of synthesis, enriched with statistics on personnel in the Congregation and an index of place names and names of persons. Less bulky than the two mentioned above, it nevertheless encompasses the entire history of the Congregation from its inception to 1985.


The designation “local history” covers the works or pamphlets on the regions, provinces, vice-provinces, vicariates, delegations, houses, parishes, our Oblate works. Almost every province or vice-province presently has written its own history, either in printed, photocopied or simply typewritten form. We give below a selection of works chosen arbitrarily:

CARRIERE, Gaston, Histoire documentaire de la Congrégation des Oblats de Marie Immaculée dans l’Est du Canada, Ottawa, 1957-1975, 12 vols.

This is the first extensive work done on the Oblates of Eastern Canada from 1841 to 1900.

MORICE, Adrian, Gabriel, Histoire de l’Eglise catholique dans l’Ouest canadien du lac Supérieur au Pacifique, 1659-1915, Saint Boniface, 1921-1923, 4 vols.

DOYON, Bernard, The Cavalry of Christ on the Rio Grande, 1849-1883, Milwaukee, Bruce, 1956, 252 p.

This is a history of the terribly difficult Texas missions.

GABEN, Victor, Histoire de la mission du Calvaire, Marseilles, 426 pages, typewritten.

DRAGO, Gaetano, La provincia d’Italia dei Missionari Oblati di Maria Immacolata, Rome, 1970, 461 p.

PIELORZ, Józef, Les Oblats polonais dans le monde, 1920-1970, Rome, 1971, 254 p.

DENNY, Vincent, History of the Anglo-Irish Province of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Part I: 1841-1921, Dublin, Ireland, 1991, 160 p.

GAUDET, Valerian, Histoire des débuts de la mission oblate de Bolivie, 1990, 170 p.

Other monographs are listed in Father Yvon Beaudoin’s above- mentioned bibliography.

An ambitious and extensive project, Histoire des Oblats dans l’Ouest canadien is presently being conducted. The acts of three of its symposiums have already been published in 1990, 1992 and 1994 under the title Etudes oblates de l’Ouest. Only one work has appeared so far under the umbrella of this project: LEVASSEUR, Donat, Les Oblats de Marie Immaculée dans l’Ouest et le Nord du Canada, 1845-1967, Western Canadian Publishers, 1995, 345 p.


Book publishing faces problems difficult to overcome, both in the area of administration and finances. That is why a large number of Oblate works, even those of a certain historic and spiritual value lie covered in archival dust without hope of being published and communicated to the public at large. On the other hand, it is easier to have an article published in an Oblate review, either as the result of one’s research on a specific subject or as an expression of one’s opinion on a timely topic for discussion. There are reviews of a general character for the entire Congregation and some reviews dedicated more specifically to individual provinces. All of these reviews are bound and organized in chronological order and according to their place of origin in the Oblate General Archives in Rome. Here we will treat only of the reviews of a more general character.

Missions de la Congrégation des Missionnaires Oblats de Marie Immaculée, quarterly review first published in 1862. In 1971, it changed its title to the Latin form Missio, but the following year, ceased publication.

The general analytical indexes of Missions 1862-1961 were drawn up by Father Henry Verkin and published in four volumes from 1974 to 1987. The fifth volume covering the years 1962-1972 was prepared by Father Maurice Gilbert and published in 1989.

In 1972, the review Missions was replaced by three different reviews published more or less frequently.

A.R.O.M.I.Agence romaine des Missionnaires Oblats de Marie Immaculée, Rome, 1928-1966.

Acta Administrationis generalis O.M.I., one volume per year from 1972 on.

Documentation O.M.I., monthly newsletter published from 1968 on with articles or documents on the life of the Congregation.

Communiqué O.M.I., published from 1972 on. It is the official organ carrying the deliberations and the decisions of the Superior General in council during the plenary sessions. It appears three or four times a year.

Information O.M.I., monthly newsletter photocopied from 1967 on. It has taken the place of AROMI (Agence romaine des Oblats de Marie Immaculée), published from 1928 to 1966, thirty-three volumes in all.

The review, Missions, and the publications that have replaced it are real treasure troves for the study of Oblate history and spirituality.

Etudes oblates, a quarterly review published from 1942 on, first by the Eastern Canadian Province and then by St. Joseph’s. In 1974, the title took on a French-English wording: Vie Oblate Life. This review, publishes in French and English articles on the history and spirituality of the Congregation with special focus on the Founder. This is the most important review with regard to Oblate spirituality. Consequently, it is an essential source for the study of Oblate spirituality and our charism. From among the many articles, here are a few examples:

LESAGE, Germain, “Notre littérature spirituelle” in Etudes oblates, 3 (1944), p. 50-61 and 116-132. This article treats of the sources of our Oblate spirituality.

“Actes du congrès sur le charisme du Fondateur aujourd’hui” Rome, April 26-May 14, 1976 in Vie Oblate Life, 36 (1977), p. 2-300.

“Actes du congrès sur les Oblats et l’évangélisation” Rome, August 29-September 14, 1983 in Vie Oblate Life, 42 (1983), p. 99-394.

“La mission oblate par la communauté apostolique”, Acts of the first congress of the Association of Oblate Studies and Research, Ottawa, August 7-11, 1989 in Vie Oblate Life, 49 (1990), p. 111-373.


Among the collections, we cannot fail to mention the Oblate Historical Archives, the Oblate Library, the Quaderni di Vermicino and Oblate Writings.

a. Oblate Historical Archives

This collection is made up of twenty-four volumes published from 1954 to 1968 under the direction of Fathers Maurice Gilbert and Gaston Carrière. Most of these works have already been cited in the preceding pages. Here, we add three more:

La retraite de Mazenod à Rome, 3 octobre 1954-10 avril 1955. Notes et documents, vol. 11, 1956, 194 p.

COSENTINO, Georges, Exercices de piété de l’Oblat, vol. 19, 1962, 466 p.

BEAUDOIN, Yvon, Grand séminaire de Marseille et scolasticat oblat sous la direction des Oblats de Marie Immaculée, 1827-1862, vol. 21, 1967, 282 p.

b. Oblate Library

The Oblate Library is a collection similar to the Oblate Historical Archives with the difference that the material in the Oblate Historical Archives is photocopied whereas the works in the Oblate Library are printed. Launched in 1954, they contain fifteen volumes all told. The most important works would seem to be the following:

MORABITO, Joseph, Je serai prêtre, Eugène de Mazenod de Venise à Saint-Sulpice, 1794-1811, 1954, 200 p.

GILBERT, Maurice, Réflexions sur la vie oblate à la lumière des nouvelles Constitutions, vol. 14, 1966, 100 p.

c. Quaderni di Vermicino

These are booklets photocopied by the scholasticate of the Province of Italy at Vermicino near Rome.

In them, one finds articles or treatises on the Congregation in general and on the Founder in particular. Launched in 1975, this collection has grown by one or two volumes per year. We give a few examples here:

CIARDI, Fabio, Fisionomia e natura della comunità oblata nel periodo di fondazione 1815-1816, 2 (1976), 166 p.

D’ADDIO, Angelo, Cristo Crocifisso e la Chiesa abbandonata. Eugenio de Mazenod, un appassionato di Cristo e della Chiesa, 4 (1978), 218 p.

MAMMANA, Giuseppe, La Chiesa nella vita et nel pensiero del beato Eugenio de Mazenod, 7 (1979), 145 p.

BEAUDOIN, Yvon, L’itinerario spirituale del beato Eugenio de Mazenod, 18 (1988).

ZAGO, Marcello, Il beato Giuseppe Gérard ci parla, 24 (1989), 54 p.

GIORGIANNI, Maurizio, Il martirio, “carisma” della missione in Eugenio de Mazenod e nella sua famiglia religiosa, 28 (1994), 132 p.

d. Oblate heritage

At the urging of the most recent General Chapters, the Postulation has begun to publish short biographies on Oblates renowned for the sanctity of their lives. They target the general public as their readership.

e. Selección de Estudios oblatos

A review published three times a year from 1980 on under the direction of Father Laurent Roy. At the beginning, it contained only articles from Etudes oblates and Vie Oblate Life translated into Spanish. In recent years, it has carried articles written in Spanish expressly for publication in this review.

f. Selected Oblate Studies and Texts

In this collection, certain articles, especially from Vie Oblate Life, translated into English have appeared. The first volume appeared in 1986, Rome, The General House, 1986, 506 p.

g. Oblate writings

This is a collection of writings of the Founder and of the better known Oblates. Launched in 1977, on the average, one volume per year is added to the collection. Father Yvon Beaudoin has already published thirteen volumes of letters of the Founder (Oblate Writings I, vols. 1-13), two volumes of his spiritual writings (vol. 14-15), four volumes on the Diary (vol. 16-19),one biography and the writings of Father Francis de Paul Henry Tempier (Oblate Writings II, vol. 1-2), of Blessed Joseph Gerard (II, vol. 3-4) and of Father Casimir Aubert (II, vol. 5). These writings have also been translated into English and some of them into Italian, Spanish, German and Polish.


Individual Oblates have published many meditations, instructions, retreats and treatises on spiritual topics. These publications are as well sources for our spirituality and our charism. Here are a few examples:

BOISRAME, Prosper, Méditations pour tous les jours de l’année à l’usage de la Congrégation des Missionnaires Oblats de Marie Immaculée, Tours, Mame, 1887, 3 vols., 540, 615 and 572 pages respectively.

This work had a strong impact on the Congregation for some fifty years. Since this work reflects the spirituality current during the author’s lifetime, it fell into disuse after Vatican Council II.

FABRE, Joseph, Instructions pour les retraites annuelles, Rome, 1917, 555 p.

A collection of retreats preached by Father Joseph Fabre, Superior General, to the sisters of the Holy Family of Bordeaux..

KASSIEPE, Max, Die katholische Volksmission in der neuen Zeit, Paderborn, 1934, 200 p.

A treatise on parish missions in Germany.

CIARDI, Fabio, I Fondatori uomini dello Spirito. Per una teologia del carisma di fondatore. Rome, Città Nuova, 1982, 408 p.

A study of the charism of several founders of orders and religious congregations; among them is Eugene de Mazenod.

SANTOLINI, Giovanni, Evangelizzazione e prassi missionaria in Eugenio de Mazenod, Bologna, 1984, 220 p.

JETTÉ, Fernand, The Missionary Oblate of Mary Immaculate: Addresses and Written Texts, 1975-1985, General House, Rome, 1985, 354 p.

This work contains addresses and conferences given by Father Fernand Jetté, Superior General. In them, he shares with us his thinking on subjects like charism, mission, the religious life, ministry and formation.

IDEM, Letters to the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, General House, Rome, 1984, 238 p.

IDEM, Lettres et homélies, Rome, 1993.

Oblate Prayer, General House, Rome, 1986.

This work is meant to be something more than a prayer manual. It wants to stand as well as a witness to our tradition, a guide and inspiration for our prayer life today. It is a kind of spiritual directory which strives to establish links between our prayer life, our Constitutions, the thinking of the Founder and Oblate customs.

The Spiritual life of WELL-KNOWN Oblates

If the life of Eugene de Mazenod is a powerful source upon which Oblates can draw for their own spiritual life, the same can be said, due allowance being made, for the lives of those who have achieved renown.


Among the Oblates renowned for the sanctity of their lives, we must cite, first and foremost, those who have already been beatified by the Church and those whose cause for beatification is currently in process. Their writings can be found in the Oblate General Archives in Rome. Our Founder, Eugene de Mazenod was beatified October 19, 1975 and canonized, December 3, 1995. We have already presented him as the main source for Oblate spirituality. We will list here six other Oblates renowned for their holiness of life.

a. Blessed Joseph Gérard (1831-1914)

Father Joseph Gérard, Apostle of the Basotho, was beatified in Lesotho by Pope John Paul II, September 15, 1988. Among the numerous biographies written about him we list the following:

ROCHE, Aimé, Clartés australes. Joseph Gérard, O.M.I., “le prêtre bien-aimé des Basotho”, Lyon, Chalet, 1951, 400 p.

BEAUDOIN, Yvon, Blessed Joseph Gérard, O.M.I., Apostle to the Basotho (1831-1914), biography, testimonies, letters and spiritual writings, Rome, General Postulation O.M.I., 1988, 2 vols., 181 and 269 pages respectively.

b. Charles Dominic Albini (1790-1839)

This was the first Oblate whose cause was promoted for beatification by the Congregation of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

DRAGO, Gaetano, L’apostolo della Corsica, P. Carlo Albini, O.M.I. Rome, 1942, 290 p.

DELARUE, Louis, Prêtre, rien que ça. Le père Charles Dominique Albini, O.M.I., Paris, Latin Editions, 1970, 285 p.

c. Vital Grandin (1829-1902)

Bishop Vital Grandin was one of the greatest missionary bishops of the Canadian Northwest.

JONQUET, Emil, Mgr Grandin, O.M.I., premier évêque de Saint-Albert, Montreal, 1903, 532 p.

BRETON, Paul-Emil, Vital Grandin, Paris-Montreal, 1960, 366 p.

d. Ovide Charlebois (1862-1933)

This is another of the heroic bishops of Northwestern Canada.

LAJEUNESSE, Bishop Martin, Vertus de Mgr Charlebois, Le Pas, Manitoba, 1951, 306 p.

CARRIERE, Gaston, Le Père du Keewatin, Mgr Ovide Charlebois, Montreal, Rayonnement, 1962, 240 p.

e. Antoni Kowalczyk, (1866-1947)

Brother Anthony came from Poland to work as a missionary in the Canadian Northwest. He was known for his ardent Marian piety.

BRETON, Paul-Emil, Forgeron de Dieu ,frère, Antoine Kowalczyk, O.M.I., Edmonton, Hermitage Editions, 1953, 224 p.

SAJEWICZ, Jan, Nasz Brat. Zycie i dzialalnosc Polskiego emigranta i misjonarza Slugi Bozego Antoniego Kowalszyka, O.M.I., (Our Brother. The life and activity of an emigrant Pole and missionary, servant of God, Anthony Kowalczyk), Toronto, 1972 40 p.

Both authors knew Brother Kowalczyk very well; he was nicknamed, Brother Ave Maria.

[FERRARA, Nicola], Positio super vita et virtutibus S.D. Antonii Kowalczyk, Romae, 1993, 2 vols.

f. Cebula, Józef,

Superior of the juniorate of Lubliniec and subsequently master of novices at Markowice, this priest was known for his sanctity of life. Deport by the S.S. to the Mauthausen death camp, he was murdered in odium fidei. Following the diocesan process, his cause for beatification was introduced in Rome along with ninety-seven Polish priests and religious executed by the Nazis between 1939 and 1945. They were beatified by Pope John Paul II in Warsaw on 13 June 1999.


There are many Oblates who made their mark in the Congregation, either by the heroism of their missionary life or by their outstanding qualities of mind and heart. Biographies, some better documented than others, have been written about some of them. Some have been written up only in very brief obituary notices. Among the wealth of examples we note the following:

PAGUELLE DE FOLLENAY, J., Vie du Cardinal Guibert, Paris, Poussielgue Editions, 1896, 2 vols.

Hippolyte Guibert, Cardinal Archbishop of Paris, was the most illustrious Oblate contemporary of the Founder.

BENOIT, Dom Paul, c.r.i.c., Vie de Mgr Taché, archévêque de Saint-Boniface, Montreal, Beauchemin, 1904, 2 vols., 610 and 935 pages respectively.

DUCHAUSSOIS, Pierre, Aux glaces polaires. Indiens et Esquimaux, Lyon, 1921, 476 p.

This epic paints a marvelous picture of the heroic life led by Oblate missionaries in the Canadian North.

DUCHAUSSOIS, Pierre, Sous les feux de Ceylan, chez les Cinghalais et les Tamouls, Paris, Grasset, 1929, 380 p.

Similar to the above, this work gives a deion of the heroic life led by the Oblate missionaries in Ceylon (Sri Lanka).

DUCHAUSSOIS, Pierre, Apôtres inconnus. Nos coadjuteurs dans l’établissement de l’Evangile, Paris, 1924, 252 p.

Father Duchaussois’ works have been translated into a number of languages and have been republished a number of times.

BREYNAT, Bishop Gabriel, first vicar apostolic of the Mackenzie. Cinquante ans au pays des neiges, Montreal, Fides, 1945-1948, 3 vols., 348, 372 and 400 pages respectively.

These are his memoires of the extremely hard life of missionaries in the Canadian Far North

BULIARD, Roger, Inuk “Au dos de la terre”, Paris, Saint-Germain, 1949, 355 p.

This book describes the Oblate missions among the Inuit. It was translated into several languages and won an award from l’Académie française.

BONHOMME, Bishop Joseph, vicar apostolic of Basutoland, Noir or. Le Basutoland, mission noire, moisson d’or, Montreal, 1934, 280 p.

The story of the extremely difficult Oblate missions of Basutoland (Lesotho).

BORZAGA, Mario, Diario di un uomo felice. Un esperienza missionaria nel Laos, Rome, Città Nuova, 1985, 300 p.

The diary of Father Borzaga, missionary in Laos from 1957 to 1959. He was murdered by the Communists in 1960.

PARENT, Louis-Marie, Victor Lelièvre un homme branché sur le Sacré-Coeur, 1876-1956, Three Rivers Collection, Voluntas Dei, 1993, 393 p.

CHOQUE, Charles, Mikilar, Lionel Ducharme, O.M.I., apôtre des Inuits, Churchill, Manitoba, Episcopal Corporation, 1994, 230 p.

Notices nécrologiques des membres de la Congrégation, 8 volumes of 500 to 600 pages each, Paris-Rome, 1884-1939.

These are the obituary notices of various lengths of several hundred Oblates.

FRANCOEUR, Athanase, Notices nécrologiques de la Province du Canada-Est, 1849-1957, Ottawa, Oblate Library, nos. 8-11, 1957, 4 vols.

The rivulets that sprang from Oblate sources ran together to form a mighty river which bears the name Oblate spirituality or Oblate charism. We have attempted to map out these various rivulets and sources and to assess their importance with regard to the contribution each has made to our Oblate spirituality.