Oblates of St. Francis de Sales
|Oblates of St. Francis de Sales|
|Motto||Tenui Nec Dimittam|
|Formation||21 December 1875|
|Type||Roman Catholic religious order|
|Key people||Father Louis Brisson—founder
Mother Marie de Sales Chappuis—founder
|Website||Oblates of St Francis de Sales|
The Oblates of St. Francis de Sales (Latin: Oblati Sancti Francisci Salesii, O.S.F.S.) are a congregation of Roman Catholic priests and brothers who base their spirituality on the teachings of St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane de Chantal. (The Oblate priests and brothers of St. Francis de Sales are affiliated with the Oblate Sisters of St. Francis de Sales.)
The spirituality of St Francis de Sales flowed out of his experiences as a missionary priest, bishop, spiritual director, author and Religious Founder. Basic tenets of his teachings include:
+ The recognizable call to holiness for all people in all walks of life + The necessity of living in the "present moment" as the privileged opportunity to know and live God's will + The goodness of creation + The centrality of love and freedom in one's relationship with God and the world + The sanctity of the "ordinary" done "passionately well" + The gentleness, humility, optimism and joy that come from living in truthfulness
St Francis de Sales collaborated with St Jane de Chantal in founding the Sisters of the Visitation of Holy Mary in 1610, a religious order known for the simplicity of its rule and traditions. After Francis' death in 1622 (at the age of 55), Jane was determined to establish an order of men who, above all, would be formed by the teachings of Francis de Sales. Her dream finally was realized in the work of Father Louis Brisson and Mother Marie de Sales Chappuis some 250 years later.
In 1869 Father Brisson began Saint Bernard's College, near Troyes. In September, 1871, Father Gilbert (died 10 November, 1909) joined him, and Mgr Ravinet, Bishop of Troyes, received them and four companions into the novitiate. The Holy See approved temporarily their constitutions, 21 Dec., 1875. The first vows were made 27 August, 1876. The definitive approbation of their constitution was given on 8 December, 1897. Since 1875, thousands of men in Europe, Africa, Asia and North and South America have joined the community.
The members of the institute are of two ranks, clerics and lay-brothers. The postulate lasts from six to nine months; the novitiate from one year to eighteen months. For the first three years the vows are annual, after that perpetual. The institute is governed by a superior general elected for life, and five counsellors general elected at each general chapter, which takes place every ten years.
The congregation gradually developed in France. It numbered seven colleges and five other educational houses when the Government closed them all, 31 July, 1903. The founder retired to Plancy where he died 2 February, 1908.
The mother-house was transferred to Rome, and the congregation divided into three provinces, Latin, German, and English. The first comprises France, Belgium, Italy, Greece, and South America; the second Austria, the German Empire and the southern half of its South-west African colony; the third, England, United States, and the north-western part of Cape Colony.
Each province is administered by a provincial, appointed by the superior general and his council for ten years. He is assisted by three counsellors elected at each provincial chapter, which meets every ten years, at an interval of five years between the regular general chapters.
The Latin province has a scholasticate at Albano. In 1909 the church of Sts. Celsus and Julian in Rome was given to the Oblates. The novitiate for the Latin and German provinces is in Giove (Umbria). The Ecole Commerciale Ste Croix, in Naxos (Greece), has about fifty pupils, and the College St. Paul at Piræus (Athens) about two hundred. Four Fathers, stationed in Montevideo (Uruguay) are occupied with mission work. They have a flourishing Young Men's Association. In Brazil, three Fathers have the district of Don Pedrito do Sul (11,000 square miles with a Catholic population of 20,000). The headquarters of the Uruguay-Brazil mission is at Montevideo, Uruguay. One Oblate is stationed in Ecuador, where before the Revolution of 1897 the congregation had charge of the diocesan seminary of Riobamba, several colleges, and parishes. In 1909 a school for the congregation was opened at Dampicourt, Belgium. The German province has a preparatory school of about forty students in Schmieding (Upper Austria). They have charge of St. Anne's (French) church in Vienna, also the church of Our Lady of Dolours in Kaasgrahen, Vienna, which is served by six Oblates. At Artstetten, the Archduke Francis Ferdinand gave them charge of the parish (1907) and assisted them to build a school. With the consent of the German Government, Cardinal Fischer gave them the church of Marienburg in 1910.
Several Fathers are engaged in mission work. The English province founded its novitiate in Wilmington, Delaware, 23 September, 1903, and transferred it to Childs, Md. (1907). A scholasticate is attached. The Fathers in Wilmington conduct a high school for boys, and are chaplains of several religious communities, the county alms-house, the state insane hospital, the Ferris Industrial School for boys, and the county and state prison. In 1910 the parish of St. Francis de Sales, Salisbury, Md. (1209 square miles with a population of 70,000), was confided to the Oblates.
In Walmer (Kent, England) they have a boarding school for boys, the chaplaincy of the Visitation Convent and Academy of Roselands, and a small parish in Faversham. To this province belongs the Vicariate Apostolic of the Orange River. (For the Vicariate Apostolic of the Orange River and the Apostolic Prefecture of Great Namaqualand, see VICARIATE APOSTOLIC OF THE ORANGE RIVER.)
Oblates in Africa
When the Vicar Apostolic of Cape of Good Hope, Bishop John Leonard, heard that the Society of African Missions of Lyons had decided to recall its subjects from Namaqualand and the North Western Cape, he made a trip to Europe in 1880 in hopes of finding a Congregation willing to assume the responsibility of evangelizing these districts. Fr. Brisson sent five missionary priests in 1882, to fulfill Bishop Leonard’s request.South Africa Missions were founded in Matjieskloof in 1885, Nababeep in 1900, O’kiep in 1904, and Port Nolloth in 1904. Namibia Missions were founded in Heirachabies in 1896, Warmbad in 1907, and Gabis in 1907.
Oblates in the North America
In 1893, the first Oblates priests came to the United States, serving chaplaincies in the New York City area. In 1906, the first English speaking province was established in Wilmington, Delaware. After early years of modest expansion, the American Province flourished during the 1940s and 1950s with many vocations from schools it conducted in the Wilmington, Philadelphia, Toledo, Detroit, and Niagara Falls areas.
In 1966, the American Province was split into the Wilmington-Philadelphia Province, which encompassed the eastern and southern states, and the Toledo-Detroit Province, which encompassed the central and western states.
- Bishop Ireton High School - Alexandria VA (formerly staffed by the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales)
- DeSales University - Center Valley PA
- Father Judge High School - Philadelphia PA
- Nativity Preparatory School - Wilmington DE
- Salesianum School - Wilmington DE
- Judge Memorial Catholic High School - Salt Lake City UT (formerly staffed by the Oblates)
- Lumen Christi Catholic High School - Jackson MI
- St. Francis de Sales High School - Toledo OH
- St. Mary's High School - Stockton CA
- "Oblates of St. Francis de Sales". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
- The Oblate Wilmington-Philadelphia Province
- The Oblate Toledo-Detroit Province
- The Oblate German Province
- The Oblate Austrian-South German Province
- The Oblate Switzerland Community
- The Oblate Netherland Province
- The Oblate South American Region
- The Oblate Monaco Community
- Oblate Mission Asia
- The Oblate Namibia / South Africa Region