Monasteries of Great Britain and Ireland – Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate

Monasteries of Great Britain and IrelandArticle

Active. Under Simple Vows. Founded 1816. Motto: Evangelize pauperibus misit me.

This Congregation of priests was founded at Aix-en-Provence by Charles Joseph Eugene de Mazenod in 1816, about twenty years before he became Bishop of Marseilles, where he died in 1861.

He was then a zealous young priest, greatly distressed by the spiritual needs of the French peasantry, who, by the Revolution, had been deprived of the Religious Orders, and in many places of the priests also. It occurred to him to found a society of apostolic missionaries, whose main object should be to preach the Gospel to the poor, as the motto he chose for them shows.

In 1816 the holy founder and his first subjects took possession of a dilapidated Carmelite convent at Aix, and here began their work under the title of “Oblates of Saint Charles, or Missionaries of Provence.” The rule which de Mazenod drew up for them was approved by Pope Leo XII in 1826; their Constitutions bound them primarily to preach to the poor, and after that to undertake the direction of clerical seminaries and the education of the young.

The Society soon spread to Ireland, England, and the United States, where it flourished, and continues to flourish. It now has six provinces – viz., in the United Kingdom, the North of France, the South of France, Germany, Canada, and the United States. Its missions in Ceylon, South Africa, the Canadian Dominion, and Western Australia are most prosperous. In Jersey, Belgium, Holland, Italy, Spain, and Mexico the Oblates have several houses.

A new Prefecture Apostolic under their care is that of Southern Cimbebasia in German South West Africa.

Already the Congregation has given one Cardinal (the celebrated Cardinal-Archbishop Guibert of Paris, called by Pius IX, of pious memory, the “light and glory” of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate), five Archbishops, and sixteen Bishops to the Church. It has under its direction two priests* seminaries in France, two in Ceylon, the Catholic University at Ottawa (Canada), two reformatories in Ireland, and a large number of colleges and schools in the above-named provinces. The church of the Sacred Heart, at Montmartre, Paris, has been served from the beginning by Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

The Congregation is governed by a General, who is elected for life, and is assisted by four counsellors and a General-Procurator. A General Chapter is held every six years. The seat of the General is at Paris (26 Rue de Saint Petersbourg).

The novitiate lasts two years. After the first year the novices take simple vows for one year, and at the close of the second year perpetual simple vows, called in this Congregation the “Oblation.”

There are scholasticates, or houses of studies, in Rome, Liege, Hunfeld (Fulda), Ottawa, and Dublin. There is no special habit, but the missionary cross is always worn and ordinary clerical dress.

The Oblates of Mary Immaculate also have a good many “juniorates,” or schools for boys who show a desire to become members of the Congregation later on, in which establishments they receive an education and training suitable to their future calling; one of the largest of these institutions is in Germany.

MLA Citation

  • Francesca M Steele. “”. Monasteries of Great Britain and Ireland, 1903. CatholicSaints.Info. 1 December 2018. Web. 16 May 2021. <>