Notre Dame du Laus was the first establishment of the Missionaries outside of Aix and it was a Marian sanctuary: a place of pilgrimage and a place where people came for some days of retreat. Because it was our first, it remains the prototype for this ministry in the five continents of the Oblate world today and sets the direction.

It was first of all a place of “PERMANENT MISSION”. In other words, all that the Missionaries worked to achieve when they went to a town for a prolonged mission, they hoped to achieve during the short time spent by the pilgrims to the sanctuary. Sometimes in the space of a few hours!

The pilgrims came to honor Mary and to express their devotion to her. Building on this, the Missionaries, made the experience of being with Mary an opportunity to focus with her on Jesus the Savior. All our Marian shrines were to be Christocentric.

Basically the ministry of the Missionaries was to welcome the pilgrims, preach to them so as to focus them on Jesus the Savior, and then lead them to a sacramental encounter with Him.

Writing, from ND du Laus, to one of the members of his Youth Congregation, Eugene gives an idea of a typical day at the shrine, with the arrival of groups of pilgrims.

I am really caught, dear Adolphe; I had reserved today to write to you and to chat a little longer after having taken care of all the things I had to do, and it so happens that I haven’t a single minute.
Since early morning an immense crowd has gathered in this isolated place and told us that two processions were near.
That means two entire populations were coming here to pay their homage to the Blessed Virgin, according to their custom.
We had to go immediately and hear the confessions of these fervent pilgrims and then to preach in order to satisfy their ardor.

Letter to Adolphe Tavernier,2 July 1820, O.W. XIII n. 30

Our Rule of Life describes the Oblate mission: together with Mary all our activity consists of sharing Christ with the world.

Mary Immaculate…. received Christ in order to share him with all the world, whose hope he is. In her, we recognize the model of the Church’s faith and of our own.

CC&RR Constitution 10


“From Mary we learn to surrender to God’s Will in all things. From Mary we learn to trust even when all hope seems gone. From Mary we learn to love Christ her Son and the Son of God!”           Blessed Pope John Paul II


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  1. John Mouck says:

    Living in this far off colony called Canada and not being very worldly, I wondered if Notre Dame du Laus was still functional or even still there, so I fired them off an email explaining who I was and that I was in need of some prayer. To my great surprise, a week or two later I received from them, in the mail, a package containing a letter assuring me of their prayers along with 2 vials of their sacred Huile de la Lampe du Sanctuaire.
    Apparently they are still very active and a popular destination for pilgrims…

    • Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

      Hi John – after yesterdays posting I actually googled Oblate, Notre Dame du Laus and one of the responses was OMIWorld with an Oblate history of the shrine. It sounded so beautiful and I just wondered if Oblates were still there but it looks like not.

      Interesting what these writings are bringing us to and what they open up for us! Thanks Frank

  2. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Wow! “Our Rule of Life describes the Oblate mission: together with Mary all our activity consists of sharing Christ with the world.” In that one statement alone there is so much to reflect on. “Together with Mary….” when I think of all that went on with Mary I think of her complete and utter “all” for God, her oblation. I think of her joys in life and her pain and sorrow. I think of her at the foot of the cross and after the Ressurection. I think of her as consolation and strength. Years ago (before looking at Oblate Association) I took a small vacation from the church, not God, just the church. When I came back I did it by deliberately asking Mary to guide me, to help me, knowing and trusting she would do just that. She does.

    “… all our activity consists of sharing Christ with the world.” Talk about lofty ideals and yet that is what I think/believe we are all aiming for. From the moment I wake up until I fall asleep. My thinking, my doing, my eating, working, being with others, all those everyday little normal things. When I give a talk or lead a prayer group, when I go out with the girls for a special lunch. I would love to say that is me, but it’s not. I sometimes get in the way of myself. But it is something that I strive for and that I start out each day with the desire and prayer to be. Does it truly permeate my day?

    I am thinking that the mission then is the ‘how’ of it?

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