The Catholic Globe continues its series highlighting the Year of Consecrated Life, promoted by Pope Francis, which concludes Feb. 2, 2016.
The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate began 188 years ago when Father Eugene de Mazenod and four companions came together to preach missions in Provencal, in the rural countryside of southern France.
Today there are 3,800 Oblates, covering five continents. Of this total, 525 are in formation. The highest number in formation is in Africa, with 222 young men in training.
Among those Oblates is , a native of Wesley St. Joseph Parish, who is the current vicar provincial and personnel director for the order.
“We do everything,” he said of the order. “We are not specialized. It was enough for bishops to come to our founder and say to him, ‘I do not have anybody,’ for him to act, re-examine his manpower, cut personnel here and there, and release two or three men for these new needs. And that continues today.”
Growing up in Kossuth County, Father Studer recalled an Oblate missionary, stationed at Our Lady of the Ozarks High School Seminary, in Carthage, Mo., visiting Wesley.
“I was in seventh grade when Father John Frischmon visited St. Joseph School,” he said. “He spoke about becoming a religious brother or sister or priest with the Oblates.”
Father Studer confessed the invitation interested him.