Oblate Associates

Who are we? 1

Oblate Associates are men and women who recognize a Spirit-initiated call to live their baptism enlightened and formed by the charism of St. Eugene de Mazenod and the Oblates. Animated by a family spirit, they share among themselves and with Oblates the same spirituality and missionary outlook.

Oblate Associates are…

impassioned for Jesus Christ. Associates are disciples of His in the footsteps of the Apostles. They give living witness to Christ the Saviour in the midst of the world. They deepen their relationship with Christ through their frequent contact with the Word of God, meditation, prayer and liturgy. The Eucharist and the Gospel are the wellspring and centre of their whole life. Their model is Mary who gives Christ to the world.

impassioned for mission. With a love for humanity, Associates have faith in the dignity of every person before God. They see the reality of the world through the eyes of Christ the Saviour and Evangelizer. They live their mission with daring, initiative, creativity and perseverance. They give value to hospitality, to attention for and listening to persons. They have a heart for justice and make a privileged option for the poor with their many faces.

impassioned for the Church. Like Eugene de Mazenod, Associates love the Church, the Body of Christ, the People of God – sign and instrument of Jesus Christ in today’s world and its new calls. They wish to build as Church, to answer to the challenges of today’s world and to new calls.

impassioned for community. Associates maintain a living link with the Oblates, acknowledging a mutual need for each other. Theirs is a living relationship of reciprocity in openness, trust and respect for every person’s vocation. All deepen Eugene de Mazenod’s charism according to their own specific vocation and enrich others with their discoveries and experiences. Oblates and Associates live and complement one another in mutual growth.

impassioned for prayer. Associates recognize that at the heart of the charism of St. Eugene de Mazenod is deep personal conversion, an encounter with the love of God. Oblate Associates are called to prayer, recognizing the rich tradition in our Church for different methods of prayer. Both individual and community prayer, along with a deep love for the Eucharist, is encouraged. They have a special devotion to Mary Immaculate, the patroness of the Oblates and model for all who follow Christ. With her, they are invited to encounter Christ and to say, “Yes,” to God’s will.

Ways of Being Connected to the Oblates:

There are many ways people are connected to the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. The charism of their Founder, St Eugene, has touched the hearts of men and women wherever the Oblates minister.
Today we speak of a Mazenodian Family, a term promoted throughout the Congregation by Oblate Father Frank Santucci. In Canada, this Mazenodian Family includes people from all states and walks of life, and together with St. Eugene we are all “co‐operators of Christ the Saviour.” In OMI Lacombe Canada Province people are presently connected with the Oblates in a variety of ways:

  • Honorary Oblates
  • Members of MAMI
  • Parishioners of Oblate Parishes
  • Staff at Oblate Institutions and Parishes
  • Orders and Institutes founded by Oblates
  • Oblate Associates

Characteristics of an Oblate Associate:

Oblate Associates of OMI Lacombe Canada share the following five characteristics:

1. Sense of call: The Oblate Associate of OMI Lacombe Canada Province is an individual who recognizes a Spirit initiated call to the Oblate charism, lived intentionally in service to the marginalized and connection to Oblate community.

The call to Association may come to them through prayer, Scripture, other people and events. It may arise within the individual or from the Oblate community but its authenticity is discerned in communion with the Oblates at various levels and with the assistance of the Associate Animators.

2. Formation: Associates are pilgrims journeying along the path of the charism. They desire to learn more about the life and charism of St Eugene, and the mission and the spirituality of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, especially as lived in OMI Lacombe Canada. Study may be undertaken as a group or individually. There is both an initial formation and then ongoing formation.

The initial formation includes

  • Study of the life of St. Eugene and elements of the Oblate charism, including Oblate mission, Oblate community, and Oblate prayer.
  • Understanding and experience of OMI Lacombe Canada Province as it is presently lived.

3. Participation in the Oblate community: St. Eugene strived to imitate the ‘unity’ of Christ and the apostles by living in community. Building community is essential to the Oblate charism.

Oblate Associates and Oblates find opportunities to share faith and offer mutual support in their day‐to‐day lives, through formal gatherings such as meetings with the basic Oblate communities, District retreats and assemblies, Convocations and Oblate Associate meetings, and informally through day‐to‐day prayer and communications.

They gather for spiritual development and dialogue about faith and mission. Faith sharing reveals the different ways we live out the charism of St. Eugene.

4. Participation in Oblate mission: Like the vowed Oblates, Associates feel called to service with an Oblate heart. To be involved in mission is one of the commitments Associates make.

Associates the Charism in some visible way that unites “head, heart, hands and feet, especially in service to the poor.

This does not presume or imply a direct link to an already established Oblate work, however. Associates live out their call to service in their own milieu and as they are called.

As such, Associate ministries are diverse and rich. Oblate Associates can be found working in diocesan offices, schools, retreat centres and prisons. They might be catechists, social workers, business people, or care givers. They visit the sick and the elderly, help with their local food bank or St. Vincent de Paul and offer prayer ministry and support. Wherever they go, they take the Oblate charism with them.

5. Common ritualized commitment: Oblate Associates across Canada share a common commitment, renewable annually for the first three years and subsequently for three year periods.

A small Oblate Cross is given as a symbol of the Associate’s commitment.

1adapted from Aix Congress, 1996.