The community of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate in Aix-en-Provence is the oldest in the Congregation, canonically erected on January 25, 1816. Situated at the ancient Carmel at 60, cours Mirabeau, it had St. Eugene de Mazenod, founder of the Congregation, as its first Superior. This community lives right at the historic heart of the Oblates, and today this is the site of the Association Centre International Eugene de Mazenod (CIEM). This Association was created in November, 2011, with the approbation of the Superior General in Council. The community of the CIEM is made up of five Oblates from five different countries (South Africa, Belgium, France, Indonesia, and Poland). Since October 1, 2012, it is under the direct jurisdiction of the Superior General.
The community of the Oblates of Aix-en-Provence is responsible for the upkeep of the historical spot, which is the cradle of the Congregation, situated at the ancient Carmel, at 60 cours Mirabeau. Since January 25, 1816, the history of this house is intimately linked with the history of the Congregation. It is written up in all the biographies of Eugene de Mazenod and in all the books, which talk about the foundation. Its history, calm at certain times and very eventful at others, was similar to what other religious communities experienced in France. Today, the house is a place of pilgrimage for Oblates from the whole world. For them, it has much the same role as the Holy Land for Christians. The house belongs to the de Mazenod Foundation, which signed a contract with the Association EMIC on December 7, 2011.
De Mazenod Experience
The “De Mazenod Experience” is a renewal programme, one of the most recommended for ongoing formation. It is open to all Oblates who have spent several years in missionary life. It aims, especially, at enabling the participants to look back over their experience of the Oblate charism in the everyday life of their mission and ministry. They do so in an atmosphere of prayer, reflection and fraternal sharing. A 15 days’ retreat, based on Ignatian Spiritual Exercises, is an integral part of the Experience.