Dictionary of Oblate Values  vol.: 1  let.: L

LAITY

A look at our history

The association of lay people is a new form of belonging to the Congregation. Not only do some of them want to collaborate in the ministry of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate or support their missions, but they also want to share their charism. This desire to participate took shape during the 1980s. It developed simultaneously and often to a greater degree in other religious institutes.

A look at our history

The Founder never established any association, third order or movement to support the Oblate mission or vocations, or even to spread the spirituality which animates the Oblates. [1] Before founding the Oblates however, he had set up the Association for Christian Youth in Aix. [2] Later on, in the course of parish missions, he felt the need to organize associations, clubrooms, confraternities, to ensure the perseverance of the converted and the fruits of the mission itself. [3] In 1825 and 1856, he even petitioned Rome to obtain privileges, favors and indulgences in an effort to attract members, to strengthen their bonds of association and to express the deep communion which united them among themselves and with the Oblates. [4]

Even if the Oblate charism was the product of religious missionaries, organized in the form of the Congregation of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, it enjoyed an astonishing diffusion. It took on various forms such as the founding of congregations and many and varied institutes, [5] and the formation of local associations which, from 1905 on, joined together to form the Association of Mary Immaculate. [6]

The work of the Oblates in developing the laity was much broader in scope. For example, they fostered the organization of Catholic Action [7] and the training of catechists in mission territories. They did not limit themselves to evangelization, but they strove to develop the Church and to establish living Christian communities according to the dictates of circumstances and needs.


[1] PIETSCH, Jean, Quelques notes sure l'histoire de l'Association de Marie Immaculée, in Etudes oblates, 8 (1949), p. 371-384.
[2] See Journal in Ecrits oblats I, vol. 16; Journal de la Congrégration de la Jeunesse chrétienne d'Aix, 1813-1821, p. 125-218; LAMIRANDE, Emilen, "Les règlements de la Congrégation de la Jeunesse chrétienne d'Aix et nos saintes Règles", in Etudes Oblates, 15 (1956), p. 17-33; BEAUDOIN, Yvon, "Le Fondateur et les jeunes" in Vie Oblate Life, 36 (1977), p. 135-149.
[3] LEFLON II, p. 87-102.
[4] See circular letter no. 2 in Oblate Writings I, vol. 12, p. 221-222.
[5] GILBERT, Maurice, "Congrégations et Instituts fondés par les Oblats", in Vie Oblate Life, 47 (1988), p. 177-208, 313-348; 48 (1989), p. 103-137.
[6] Supérieurs généraux et A.M.M.I., circular letter no. 57 in Circ. adm., II (1886-1900), p. 178, § 5; circular letter no. 141 in Circ. adm., IV (1922-1947), p. 149-167; circular letter no. 182 in Circ. adm., V (1947-1952), p. 204-228; JETTE, Fernand, The Missionary Oblate of Mary Immaculate, Rome, 1985, p. 129-137. TOURIGNY, Irénée, "Etude sur la spiritualité oblate et celle de l'A.M.M.I", in Etudes oblates, 10 (1951), p. 49-62. He wrote: "The spirituality of the Missionary Association of Mary Immaculate is the same as that of the Congregation of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate which the M.A.M.I. makes live on among the faithful".
[7] "Oblats et Action Catholique", in Etudes oblates 3 (1944), "Travaux des journées sacerdotales d'Action Catholique", p. 132-164.

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