What does the word “oblate” mean?

The word “oblate” comes from the Latin word, “oblatus sum”, and it translates to mean “to offer one self.” The English word “oblation” comes from this same root and means “an offering.” The missionary Oblates are called to “offer themselves as a living sacrifice of praise.” This biblical expression is found in the New Testament Letter to the Hebrews and the Letters of St. Paul. This is an essential part of the charism of the Founder of the Missionary Oblates, St. Eugene de Mazenod. The Oblates offer themselves in preaching Christ to a world that needs to know God’s love for each and every human person.

Who is Eugene DeMazenod?

St. Eugene DeMazenod is the founder of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

How did the order begin?

At age 26, Eugene’s struggle to “find himself” ended when he entered the seminary of St. Sulpice in Paris. After his ordination in 1811 at age 29, Fr. de Mazenod declined the first assignment offered to him, the prestigious position of Vicar General to the Bishop of Amiens. Instead, he asked to work with the poor, neglected, and abandoned people of Aix.

Fr. de Mazenod visited the sick and those in jail and reached out to the troubled youth of Aix. He also preached church missions to the poor, working-class people of Aix. Instead of the French used by members of the upper class, he spoke to them in their own Provencal dialect.

Realizing that he alone could not meet the needs of Aix’s many poor, Fr. de Mazenod invited other men to join in his work. He purchased a former Carmelite convent and its adjoining church for his future community. Soon, a small band of priests was formed, and they began preaching church missions throughout the French countryside, calling themselves the Missionaries of Provence. When the success of their work led to requests for their services on a wider scale, de Mazenod took steps to form his coworkers into a religious congregation. In 1826, de Mazenod received approval from Pope Leo XII for his new congregation, placed them under the patronage of Mary and so they were known as the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (taken from the web site of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate)

Do you have to be a Catholic to come on a retreat at Immaculata?

No, all are welcome. Immaculata offers a wide variety of retreats for many different needs.

Do I need to bring bed linens, towels or a pillow? And, what should I bring?

Bed linens, towels, and pillows are provided. Items to consider bringing are personal toiletries, comfortable clothes, and walking shoes. Depending on the season you may want to bring something warmer to wear as it can get chilly up on the hill. If you plan on walking our trails, you would want to pack appropriate attire, long sleeved shirts, long pants and bug spray as the summer months can bring ticks.

If I have special dietary needs for medical reasons, can you accomodate me?

Yes. We have a certified chef on staff who can be contacted to answer all of your questions and is prepared to meet your needs. Vegetarians can be accommodated with ample notice. Please fill in the special request area on the registration form that we provide. The chef will need one week’s notice prior to your retreat.