In addition to the mission of the U.S. Province in the Philippines, the Oblates minister in seven other countries. The General House of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary rests on the Janiculum hill in Rome near the North American College, not far from St. Peter’s Basilica. From there, Fr. Zergio Zirattu, Rector Major of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, guides and animates our ministries around the world.
The Oblates were founded in the northern Italian diocese of Torino (Turin), famous for the Shroud and St. John Bosco. The Oblates still have houses there, and in Pinerolo, where Ven. Pio Bruno Lanteri was born and is buried. The Italian Province has foundations throughout Italy, including the island of Sardinia.
The Oblates own and staff a university residence outside the city of Paris where they provide for the spiritual needs and challenges of the students. In Nice, on the French Riviera, the Oblates publish the largest religious magazine in France, and staff the famous Church of St. Rita. Since 1844, the Oblates in France have served as spiritual directors and confessors, offering retreats for diocesan priests, religious, and lay men and women.
The Oblates serve in a small parish in historic Vienna, and in a retreat center and Basilika Maria Loretto located an hour outside of Vienna. The Oblates give the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius and welcome pilgrims from all over Austria and Eastern Europe.
In 1921, the Oblates went to Argentina. The Oblates there serve in and around the city of Buenos Aires. They operate parishes and schools with a particular ministry to the poor. They have an active ministry of evangelization through retreats, parish missions, promotion of good books, and the running of the largest religious-goods store in Argentina.
The Oblates have an active apostolate of evangelization to the poor and most marginalized of Brazil. They minister in over 30 mission stations along the Amazon River. In 1973, the Congregation began a new chapter in its history, accepting a parish near Manaus in the Amazon region of Brazil. This parish serves as a base to serve the poor in the interior. They collaborate with lay people to catechize the people of God, and through the many trade schools they operate, help the people learn a skill that will help them out of their poverty. The Oblates also serve in the city of Sao Paolo and Jundiai where they minister in a variety of chapels that help to serve the needs of the poor.
The Oblates of the Virgin Mary are present in the East of Montreal at Pointe-aux-Trembles, a french-speaking area of the Island, where they have the care of three combined parishes. The Oblates also celebrate Masses at other Portuguese and Italian-language parishes and have served as chaplains at McGill University’s Newman Center.
As the U.S. Province moved into Asia in 1997, the Italian Province of the Oblates opened a new foundation in Africa. The Oblates there have an active media apostolate with two regular publications and a website. They also teach in the local seminary, and offer spiritual direction. Their formation house in Ibadan, Oyo State currently has over twenty men studying for the priesthood.