We have seen how Eugene was inspired to change our name and the importance of this for our understanding of our identity. With this document, the change was officially recognized and the Church gave us the name of Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

This being the situation, Our dear son Charles Joseph Eugene de Mazenod, Vicar General of the Bishop of Marseilles, Provost of the Chapter of the Canons of the Cathedral, and Founder of the said Society, has presented to Us a petition, humbly requesting Us, for the glory of God and the salvation of souls, to approve by Our Apostolic Authority, both this family and its Rules, and to honour it with the title of Missionary Oblates of the Most Holy and Immaculate Virgin Mary, so that it may not be confused with those other Societies which also bear the name of Oblates of St. Charles.
Therefore, having taken into consideration that this Society was enriched with indulgences by Pius VII, Our Predecessor, and by Ourselves, that its great usefulness has been recognised by many Bishops, and that it will prove no inconsiderable aid and ornament to the Church in her afflicted condition, We bestow Our highest praise on the zeal and solicitude of Charles de Mazenod himself, a man conspicuous for his virtues and erudition, who not only founded the Society, but still continues, to Our very great satisfaction, to labour strenuously for its advancement, and We, solely in view of these considerations, now absolve and hold as absolved in the future from all excommunications, interdicts and other ecclesiastical censures, sentences and penalties, in whatever manner or for whatever cause inflicted, both him and all others in whose favour this Letter is issued, if perchance they may have incurred any, and We hereby with a ready and willing mind, establish it, and wish it to be known by the name of the Congregation of the Missionary Oblates of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, conceived without sin.
…Given at Rome, at St. Peter’s, under the Fisherman’s Ring, on the twenty first day of March, 1826, in the third year of Our Pontificate.
Pope Leo XII
Apostolic Letter of Approbation, 21 March 1826, Missions O.M.I., n° 280 (1952), pp. 118, 138.


“To understand a name you must be acquainted with the particular of which it is a name.”
Bertrand Russell

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    ‘were not our hearts burning within us, were not hearts burning with fire…’ As I was reading this I found myself singing this – repeating what had happened on the road to Emmaus. This is often how I feel when I am in this place here or in others where I am reading, learning, speaking of St. Eugene, praying to him. I find myself responding to both what was said by the Pope and to Bertrand Russell’s quote.

    A month or so ago I was at a function where I was asked; what does the word ‘oblate’ mean? and I responded beginning with the word ‘oblatio’ and moving from there. How it came to be, how Eugene lived and what it meant to those first Oblates and how they lived it. Then bringing it into the current day because it was not just a ‘back then’ thing or something that was only in the past but vibrant and living today – how it is lived out in this time and place by so many.

    Sharing in the charism, the spirit of Eugene has come about from an invitation, a call first from God who then led me to Eugene. Here I heard the voice of God, speaking through others and Eugene himself in his writings and the lives of the Oblates. Coming to know Eugene, and myself has been a tremendous gift, one that keeps me alive and allows me to go deeper into myself, life and God.

    Eugene who modeled himself on Jesus and taught and led the Oblates to do the same, to live in such a specific way has passed this on to so many of us, both directly and through others over the ages. Much more than just a nice story of something that happened a couple of hundred years ago, it is alive and lived out today just as it is with what happened and took place two thousand years ago.

    Recognizing our name and our founder, recognizing who we are today. ‘are not our hearts burning within us, are not our hearts burning with fire…’

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