This enthusiastic group became the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate in 1826. Despite being a small number, Eugene sent his missionaries to the furthest reaches of the world: To the poor in Canada and on the Texas / Mexican border; to Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) and South Africa. Oblates first came to the UK in 1841 and to Ireland in 1856. At Eugene de Mazenod’s canonisation in December 1995, Pope John Paul II said of him: “he had a heart as big as the world”.
Oblates exercise very diverse ministries but above all seek to dedicate themselves to the poor and abandoned. One can thus find Oblates in Britain and Ireland working in parishes, in missionary formation, preaching, social justice and pastoral ministries, or prisons. “No ministry is alien to us as long as we never lose sight of the main purpose of the Congregation: the evangelization of the most abandoned.” ~ Oblate Constitutions and Rules.