From Past to Present: The Influence of the Canada-US Oblate Provinces


From Past to Present: The Influence of the Canada-US Oblate Provinces

Over the past two weeks, the Central Government has visited many ministries and communities across the four provinces in the Canada-United States Region.   This region used to be made up of nineteen provinces. Despite changes and a drop in numbers, thinking this area doesn’t have much to contribute would be far from the truth.

A Historical Perspective
The Nineteen Legacy Provinces have been a significant source of inspiration and support for the entire Congregation since our earliest missions abroad. Many Oblates were sent to North America in the early days of the Congregation, and many more have gone from here to establish and support Oblate missions worldwide. Numerous formators and supporting members in crucial roles, including five Superior Generals, have come from this region.

Continuing the Legacy
This legacy continues in the current provinces. In addition to their historical contributions, the units in the Canada-US Region welcome and fund the education of numerous future Oblates from around the world. They also form missionaries for service both locally and internationally.   They also contribute generously to the Congregation. While the worldwide General Oblate Fundraisers provide about 10 million USD annually to the most financially challenged ministries, nearly half comes from the Canada-United States Region.  This amount well-surpasses the annual disbursement of all the Congregational Trusts combined.

Supporting the Present and the Future
The Canada-United States Region provides excellent examples of collaboration and leadership among the highly intercultural diversity of their four units. The sharing of the treasurers in the region is exemplary, as is the sharing of Oblate and lay employees’ talents between the Canadian provinces in finance, archives, eldercare, and Provincial Committees. Regional meetings of young Oblates, youth ministry leaders, and Oblate Associates have been particularly productive. The region’s expertise in Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation (JPIC), the Oblate International Pastoral (OIP), Global Oblate Fundraisers, and retreat ministry is consistently effective. Shared provincial calendars enhance ongoing formation opportunities within the units. The regional conference of CROCUS is also very active and well-organized.

Taking Bold Steps
Members of every unit, large or small, should remember the bold steps St. Eugene took with his small group, who could have stayed local in their homeland.  Similarly, despite challenges, we recall what Jesus achieved with 12 apostles and a few more disciples (and at least one of them was pretty sketchy!). Our shared Christian and Oblate roots inspire us to dream and step beyond the established and comfortable. We trust that the Holy Spirit is guiding us in each of our locations at this point in history. We are called to trust that we can, we must, we will – move forward together in that same Spirit. ​

By Jim Brobst, OMI
General Councilor for Canada-US Region

Published on the OMI World website