|Eugene began his ministry by rejecting a prestigious diocesan position to reach out to the poor , the workers, the youth, the sick and the imprisoned of Aix Overwhelmed by the demands and possibilities of this ministry, he soon realized that he needed to gather a group of zealous priests to work with him. The goal: to awaken "a faith that had all but died in the hearts of so many".
In September 1815, he experienced another "impulse from without" that set him firmly on the path of apostolic action. He gave himself body and soul to the realization of his plans to establish a society of missionaries. On January 25, 1816, the society of the Missionaries of Provence was born.
Father de Mazenod invited his companions "to live together as brothers" and "to imitate the virtues and examples of our Saviour Jesus Christ, above all through the preaching of the Word of God to the poor". He urged them to commit themselves unreservedly to the work of the missions, binding themselves by religious vows. Because of their small number, they initially limited their zeal to the neighboring countryside. Their fondest wish, however, was "to embrace the vast expanse of the whole earth", as the founder had written in 1818.
Pope Leo XII on February 17, 1826 formally approved the newly founded Congregation of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Its motto: "He has sent me to evangelize the poor" expressed both its charism and way of life.