CONGREGATION OF THE OBLATES OF THE VIRGIN MARY
Motto: Mariam Cogita, Mariam Invoca
(Think of Mary, Invoke Mary)
Origin and Who we are...
The Congregation of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary (OMV) is a clerical Religious Institute of Pontifical right whose members include clerics (priests) and brothers. Founded in 1816 (in Italy) by Venerable Fr. Pius Bruno Lanteri, together with Fr. Giovanni Baptista Reynaudi, the Congregation was approved by Pope Leo XII on 1st September, 1826. Called by the Holy Spirit to seek God alone, the Oblates give themselves totally to the Father through the public vows, and follow Jesus Christ under the guidance of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They live a fraternal life in community, and dedicate themselves to the service of the Kingdom of God, implementing the spirit and charism of their Founder.
It is common to every Religious and apostolic institute to desire the spread of the Gospel of Christ to all territories of the world. Following its Founder, the Congregation of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary studies society in order to perceive the spiritual and moral conditions of the world and bring the Good News of the Risen Lord to humanity.
The name of our Religious institute is: the Congregation of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary (OMV). The aim of the Congregation is to work for the salvation and sanctification of mankind through the imitation of Christ and the observance of their Constitutions.
Fr Lanteri was born into a Christian family on 12 May 1759. His father, Pietro, was a physician and his mother Margarita died while he was still barely four years old. Fr. Nicolao Joseph Albert Von Diessbach, his Jesuit spiritual director, helped him in his formation. Filled with love for humanity, he dedicated himself to the formation of lay apostles and holy priests and to the preaching of the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises. He had a deep prayer life and a great love for Christ and his church as well as a sincere devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. He emphasised confidence in God's mercy and the urgency to bring our hearts to our good Saviour and Redeemer; hence the sacrament of reconciliation was an integral part of his ministry. The heroic virtue of Fr Lanteri was recognized on November 23, 1965, when he was declared Venerable by Pope Paul VI.
The charism of the Oblates, expressed in the spirituality and ecclesial (or apostolic) mission of the Congregation, involves service of the Church and society attending principally to the Ministries of the Word of God and Reconciliation through the proclamation of Truth and Mercy.
The purpose of man's existence is to have a deep union with God. Thus, the Oblates, keenly aware of this, strive to attain it for themselves and for others. Since they are called by the Holy Spirit to seek God alone, they have a spirituality deeply rooted in Jesus Christ under the guidance of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They have deep love for the Blessed Sacrament, and promote an authentic devotion and entrustment to Mary. They nourish a profound love and fidelity to the Church, particularly to the Pope and the Magisterium of the Church. Their spirituality is animated by the Spiritual Exercises inspired by the spirit of the Founder; moreover, it is attentive to the interior life and the apostolate (“Contemplatives in action”); and it is community-oriented. Lanteri wants his sons to "seek to imitate Christ their companion and model in the most perfect way both outwardly and inwardly".
In the service of the Church with the apostolic zeal of our Founder, the Congregation is currently present, since 1998, in Nigeria, where we have a formation house. We are present also in many other countries of the world, including: Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Canada, France, Italy, the Philippines and USA. So, candidates who join us will be sent to any country where we are or will be present for their apostolic mission.
Meditating on the life of Christ, having an awareness of the great dignity of the human person and knowing the importance of eternal salvation, move the Oblates to be Apostles who dedicate their lives to the salvation of humankind and the glory of God.
In order for their apostolate to achieve its full effect, the Oblates are committed to:
* A deep personal relationship with Christ nourished and purified by the Word of God and the Sacraments;
* A total devotion and entrustment to Mary;
* Community life, which is both prayerful and apostolic;
* Love and fidelity to the Pope and to the Magisterium of the Church.
Our commitments, in all their diversity, are directed at attending to the ministry of the Word, being witnesses of Christ and of the Kingdom of God, and to share with those willing to receive the Good News, proclaiming Truth and Mercy.
In our ecclesial mission, attentive to the signs of the times, the Oblates:
• Attend to the ministry of the Word, particularly through the Spiritual Exercises;
• Promote the ministries of Reconciliation and Mercy and of Spiritual Direction or Accompaniment;
• Contribute to the formation of and fraternal assistance to the Clergy;
• Spread and sustain, with suitable methods, the truths of Faith and Moral values, the patrimony of Revelation and the Magisterium of the Church;
• Distribute good books and the sound doctrine of the Church through the printed word and various instruments of social communications;
• Foster and promote the Missionary Apostolate;
• Promote the formation and animation of the Laity.
The Congregation is committed also to:
Depending on the country (Province or Delegation) where we are present, as specific expressions of or in addition to the above-mentioned apostolates, some Oblates currently undertake other various forms of pastoral ministry, for example: Teaching and/or administration in educational institutions, such as schools; Youth apostolate; Management or administration of Sanctuaries and of Eucharistic Shrine; Centres for Spirituality; Chaplaincy; Campus Ministry in schools and universities.
In all they do, the Oblates infuse their many varied apostolates with the Lanterian spirit, express love and respect for the people they serve, and promote knowledge and advancement of the culture and society in which they live. Omnia Ad Maiorem Dei Gloria (All to the Greater Glory of God).
The Congregation has a complete Formation House in Nigeria, where all the different stages of formation are given, and its duration is, altogether, a minimum of 9 years: the Postulancy/Philosophical studies (04 years), the Novitiate (01 year) and the Temporary Profession/Theological studies (04 years). The Seminary (Formation House) offers a holistic formation, which includes the human or affective, the spiritual, the intellectual, the Community, Apostolic (Pastoral) dimensions, the study of the Founder and the Congregation OMV, and so on. Postulants “will collaborate in providing for their financial support for their room and board and their studies until their entrance into the novitiate” (Constitutions, Art. 56.6).
Our formation is intended to train future religious priests and brothers in the spirit of Fr. Lanteri, and to prepare them for the important apostolates in which the Congregation is engaged. In view of the exigencies of an authentic religious life and priestly ministry in today's world, particularly in Africa, the Oblates are especially solicitous in providing a conducive environment where men are formed spiritually, intellectually and pastorally.