(Monday, December 8, we celebrated the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. In honor of a day so special to the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Fr. William Clark, OMI offers this brief reflection on how the founder, St. Eugene de Mazernod, came to name his congregation)
It seems the founder’s original intention was to name the congregation in honor of St. Charles. Upon learning there was already a congregation honoring St. Charles, the founder followed the suggestion to name the congregation in honor of the Blessed Virgin under the title of Mary Immaculate. Reportedly he was pleased with that idea and considered it providential rather than fortuitous and inserted in the rule that Oblates should always look upon Mary as their mother.
Many years later in 1854 the Founder as Bishop of Marseilles participated in the declaration of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.
Currently, the Oblates relate to the Immaculate Conception in a special way. An international community of Oblates is stationed at Lourdes where Mary appeared to Bernadette and identified herself as the Immaculate Conception. Thus Oblates minister to pilgrims and participate in fostering devotion to the Immaculate Conception.
The Immaculate Conception, like the Assumption, is not an isolated privilege but a mystery filled with meaning for the whole Church. It has a special meaning for Oblates since they are dedicated to the Blessed Mother under that title. The Immaculate Conception is a powerful symbol. A symbol is a sign but not just any sign. A symbol is a sign that “works mysteriously on our consciousness so as to suggest more than it can clearly describe or define.” Or as someone else put it a symbol is “pregnant with meaning which is evoked rather than explicitly stated. The Immaculate Conception functions as an especially powerful symbol for the Oblates.
To view the 16 minute Video: “The Immaculate Conception: Exploring the Mystery” – CLICK HERE
To View “The Immaculate Conception: Exploring the Mystery” Part 1 in Spanish – CLICK HERE
To View “The Immaculate Conception: Exploring the Mystery” Part 2 in Spanish – CLICK HERE