We are working toward a rebirth of spirituality in today’s world.
Nunc Cœpi – Now I begin…
“Even if I should fall a thousand times a day, a thousand times I will get up again and say Nunc Cœpi–Now I begin.” These words of the founder, Venerable Pio Bruno Lanteri (1759-1830), capture the spirit and mission of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary. Father Lanteri lived in northern Italy in a time of great moral confusion and spiritual discouragement. He formed the Oblates to be both contemplatives and apostles, men of study, prayer, and compassionate pastors. Today, serving in nine countries around the world, the Oblates bring hope for a new beginning. This hope springs from five key attributes essential to Oblate Spirituality: Mercy, Mary, Fidelity, Discernment, and Zeal for souls in today’s world.
“Always treat everyone, especially the most needy, with the utmost gentleness and kindness.” Ven. Lanteri
The Oblates of the Virgin Mary “encourage those who are in any affliction with the encouragement with which we ourselves are encouraged by God” (2 Cor. 1:4). Their hope springs from a keen sense of the goodness and mercy of God made manifest in Jesus Christ. Especially through the Sacrament of Penance and the proclamation of truth, they devote themselves to dispensing the Lord’s healing love. As Father Lanteri put it, “Jesus forms the only treasure of their hearts; Jesus thus abides in their hearts and they abide in the heart of Jesus.” Emulating Christ’s meekness and humility, they desire charity and mutual friendship to be among their chief characteristics.
“I have known almost no other mother than Mary most holy, and throughout my life I have received nothing but caresses from such a good Mother.” Ven. Lanteri
Father Lanteri always insisted “the Congregation of the Oblates is not my work, but the work of Mary Most Holy… She is its foundress, its mother, and its teacher.” Through the hands of Mary, the Oblates offer themselves totally to the Lord. Imitating Mary’s virtues, they pay special attention to the quality of all their actions, even the simplest tasks of daily life. Their devotion finds expression in the Oblate motto, Mariam cogita; Mariam invoca–“Think of Mary; call out to Mary.”
“The Oblates are …to obey every decision and precept of the universal head of the Church and profess and defend the doctrine of the Roman Church.” Ven. Lanteri
The Oblates profess a loving and sincere obedience to the Pope and the Magisterium of the Church. In Father Lanteri’s time, the Pope’s authority was challenged, not only by false teachings but also by political regimes. The founder wanted the Oblates “to combat forcefully any error proscribed by the Church, and to defend, even at the cost of their lives, every truth of the Catholic faith and any decision and decree of the Holy See.” The Oblates continue to serve the Church faithfully, striving for an ever more perfect fidelity to their own religious vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. As true men of the Church, they collaborate joyfully with local bishops and pastors.
“The Exercises of St. Ignatius are, in general, a very powerful instrument of divine grace for worldwide reform, and in particular, a sure method for everyone to become a saint, a great saint, and quickly.” Ven. Lanteri
The spirituality of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary flows from the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. They approach life with a contemplative spirit, finding God in all things by careful discernment of the movements of the heart. In guiding others to friendship with Christ, the Oblates know how to address the whole person, forming free men and women able to discern the will of God in concrete situations. As experts in spiritual direction, they cherish opportunities to offer retreats and parish missions, and to vitalize the lay apostolate.
For Today’s World
“Without the inward spirit we will never do anything. There must be Fire! Fire! Fire! An intense love for God!” Ven. Lanteri
Working toward a rebirth of spirituality in today’s world, the Oblates of the Virgin Mary pay close attention to the signs of the times (Luke 12:56). With an ardent and intelligent apostolic consciousness, they dedicate themselves to the evangelization of the culture, especially through the media, and to the evangelization that happens deep within each person. They make every effort to contribute to the formation and support of priests, parish work, and missionary efforts in Brazil, Argentina, Nigeria, and the Philippines.