The missionaries make it clear that they did not come together only to DO a most necessary ministry merely as a workforce, but that they answer a call from God which demands a response of consecration. It is a call to BE in order to DO.
The undersigned priests: …
-desirous, at the same time, of responding to the call which summons them to consecrate themselves to this demanding ministry…
Request to the Capitular Vicars of Aix, 25 January 1816, O.W. XIII n.2
In the earlier part of their vision statement the Missionaries showed in strong terms the urgency of their ministry and the desperate need to respond to something which would be physically and spiritually demanding. In this statement we have the seed of what was to grow into a constitutive and non-negotiable aspect of the foundation:
- the missionaries were not an agglomeration of men who came together just to do an important work,
- but they came together as a response to what they discerned to be a call from God to each one individually, and to the community as a whole.
- they thus came together and consecrated themselves to BEING in order to DO
All this was to be expressed in the motto of the group: “He has sent me to evangelize the poor.”
The seed was sown on 25 January 1816 and the plant continues to deepen its roots and the fruit in bears today. This sentence of our “Founding Fathers” is clearly recognizable in the first article of our Constitutions today:
The call of Jesus Christ, heard within the Church through people’s need for salvation, draws us together as Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Christ thus invites us to follow him and to share in his mission through word and work. (C 1)