Fr. Fabio CIARDI
The first Oblate martyr was Brother Alexius REYNARD, killed in 1875. Ten years later, on April 2, 1885, it was the turn of Léon FAFARD and Felix MARCHAND. Since then, almost a hundred Oblates have died violently in mission. Many of them have given an extraordinary testimony of life. Some thirty were proclaimed blessed and recognized as martyrs of faith. The only catalogue is the book by Arthur Smith, Mártires Oblatos (1831-1997), published in 2006.
The oblation culminates in martyrdom and martyrdom allows us to understand the oblation in all its depth and its demands. It is a recurrent theme in the writings of the Founder and the first generation of Oblates. It was particularly studied by a 1994 research by Fr. Maurizio GIORGIANNI, “The martyrdom, ‘charism’ of the mission”, summarized in three articles that appeared in “Vie Oblate Life” in 1994 (1–2–3). Since then, no further studies have been carried out on the subject. In the meantime, our Oblate martyrs have been beatified: Joseph Cebula (1999), the Oblates of Spain (2011), the missionaries of Laos (2016). The time has therefore come for a deeper reflection on this theme: Oblation and martyrdom.
To this end, the General Service for Oblate Studies, together with the General Postulation and the Mediterranean Province, has organized a Conference to be held in Pozuelo (Madrid, Spain) from May 4 to 5, this year.
The members of the Oblate Family are invited: Oblates, MAMI, OMMI, MGC, COMI, Las Oblatas, family members of the Martyrs, Lay Friends.
The martyrdom of the Oblates will be studied in the broader context of the twentieth century and involves two moments.
On the first day (4 May), the focus will be on the Oblate martyrs of Spain. The social, political and military situation in the period of the Spanish civil war will be analyzed, to then give space to the narration and the testimonies of the martyrdom of the Oblates.
The second day (5 May) will be dedicated to a broad vision of the martyrdom of the Oblates in different continents, with some examples for each Region. This second moment will be made possible thanks to direct links via webex with the places from which the interventions are foreseen.
The entire conference can be followed by live streaming. Attached is a detailed programme.
Call for papers
In addition to the Reports included in the programme, the Conference welcomes Communications, which, on the opinion of the scientific committee, will be presented during the Conference and/or published in the Acts of the Conference.
The length of the text can vary from 5 to 15 pages (each page 2200 characters, including spaces). The eventual presentation during the Congress, made in person or pre-recorded or live webex, will last 10 minutes.
By March 31, 2019, the title and an abstract of up to 4000 characters with the description of the presentation must be sent to the address firstname.lastname@example.org The proposals will be evaluated by the scientific committee that will contact the author.
The themes can be of two types:
- Theological-spiritual: oblation, martyrdom and their relevance in oblate life in doctrinal reflection or in the testimony of oblate authors;
- Historical: documented testimonies of Oblates who, in different contexts and Regions, killed because of the mission.
The Acts of the Conference will be published in the magazine “Oblatio” and in the series “Oblatio Studia”.