The purpose of the Congregation is that of attending to the sanctification of its members by way of the most attentive imitation of Jesus Christ, Whom in all actions they take as their model, together with Mary Most Holy, their dear Mother, and that of attending with the utmost care to the redemption and sanctification of men. –Constitutions, Art. 2
The Oblates, whose name means “offering,” are a group of priests and brothers founded early in the 19th Century by the Venerable Fr. Pio Bruno Lanteri. Ven. Lanteri, a priest from Northern Italy, always insisted that the Virgin Mary is the Foundress of the Congregation. Having lost his own mother at the age of four, he used to say with a heartfelt love: “I have known no mother than Mary most holy, and throughout my life I have received nothing but caresses from such a good mother.” In like manner, all Oblates look to her with devotion as a model in the imitation of Jesus, and a sign of hope to all believers.
As with their love for Mary, the Oblates find their mission rooted in the graces and experiences of Fr. Lanteri. Ven. Lanteri lived during the turbulent era of the French Revolution and the invasion of Northern Italy by Napoleon. In his day, many people had left the practice of the Faith, and many others were being led astray by a secular culture. He founded the Oblates to work toward of rebirth of authentic spirituality by means of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, the formation of the clergy, the refutation of current errors and defense of sound doctrine, the propagation of good books and media, the formation of the laity, and the missionary apostolate.
As important as the Oblates’ works themselves is the spirit with which they carry them out. An Oblate is not a man at war with the world, but on fire with the love of God. This expresses itself in an Oblate’s love for preaching and the sacraments, especially the sacraments of Eucharist and Reconciliation. Ven. Lanteri taught the Oblates to examine attentively the “signs of the times,” in order to guide men and women to find the answers they seek in Christ. Called by the Holy Spirit to seek God alone, the Oblates unite themselves more closely to Christ by vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. In every action, they always have Jesus Christ before their eyes as companion and model who said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father but through me.” An Oblate serves the People of God with generosity, amiability, and patience, hoping to manifest, even in the smallest way, the infinite goodness and mercy of God.