- Oblates of St. Francis de Sales
The Oblates of St. Francis de Sales (Latin: Oblati Sancti Francisci Salesii, O.S.F.S.) are a congregation of Roman Catholic priests and brothers who base their spirituality on the teachings of St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane de Chantal. (The Oblate priests and brothers of St. Francis de Sales are affiliated with the Oblate sisters of St. Francis de Sales.)
It was a congregation of sisters founded originally by Saint Francis de Sales at the request of Saint Jane de Chantal. The establishment of an Oratory at Thonon, where Saint Francis served as the first Provost, was a preparatory step toward carrying out his design, the accomplishment of which was prevented by his death. With Saint Jane Frances de Chantal's encouragement and assistance, Raymond Bonal of Adge, in France, carried out his plan but this congregation died out at the beginning of the eighteenth century. Two hundred years later it was revived by Ven. Mother Marie de Sales Chappuis (died 7 October 1875) and Abbé Louis Alexander Alphonse Brisson, a professor in the Seminary of Troyes. In 1869 Father Brisson began Saint Bernard's College, near Troyes. In September, 1871, Father Gilbert (died 10 November 1909) joined him and Emmanuel-Jules Ravinet, Bishop of Troyes, received them and four companions into the novitiate.
The Holy See approved temporarily their constitutions, 21 December 1875. The first vows were made 27 August 1876. The definitive approbation of their constitution was given on 8 December 1897.
Known officially as the DeSales-Oblates, the members of the institute are of two ranks, clerics and lay-brothers. They serve the Catholic Church around the world as teachers, parish priests, chaplains, missionaries, and more. The postulate lasts from six to nine months; the novitiate from one year to eighteen months. For the first three years following first vows, the DeSales Oblates renew their vows annually for three years, and then, after that, they take their perpetual vows. The institute is governed by a superior general elected every six years; and five counsellors general elected by general chapter.
Among the 10 provinces of the DeSales-Oblates worldwide, there are two provinces in the United States. The DeSales Oblates first came to the United States in 1893.
The congregation gradually developed in France. It numbered seven colleges and five other educational houses when the Government closed them all, 31 July 1903. The founder retired to Plancy where he died 2 February 1908. The Generalate was transferred to Rome, and the congregation divided into three provinces, by language family: Latin (France, Belgium, Italy, Greece, and South America), German(ic) (Austria, the German Empire and the southern half of its South-west African colony), and English (England, United States and the north-western part of Cape Colony). Each province is administered by a provincial superior, appointed by the superior general and his council for four years. He is assisted by three counsellors elected at each provincial chapter, which meets every four years, at an interval of six years between the regular general chapters.
In the early 20th century they had the following membership. The Latin province has a scholasticate at Albano Laziale. In 1909 the church of Sts. Celsus and Julian in Rome was given to the Oblates. The novitiate for the Latin and German provinces is in Giove (Umbria). The Ecole Commerciale Ste Croix in Naxos (Greece) had about fifty pupils and the College St. Paul at Piræus (Athens) about two hundred. Four Fathers, stationed in Montevideo (Uruguay) did mission work, running a flourishing Young Men's Association; in Brazil, three Fathers had the district of Don Pedrito do Sul, with a surface of 28,000 m² and a Catholic population of 20,000; the headquarters of the Uruguay-Brazil mission being at Montevideo, Uruguay. One Oblate was stationed in Ecuador, where before the Revolution of 1897 the congregation had charge of the diocesan seminary of Riobamba, several colleges and parishes. In 1909 a school for the congregation was opened at Dampicourt, Belgium.
The German(ic) province had a preparatory school of about forty students in Schmiding (Upper Austria) and charge of St. Anne's (French) church in Vienna, also the church of Our Lady of Dolours in Kaasgraben, Vienna, which is served by six Oblates. At Artstetten, the Archduke Francis Ferdinand gave them charge of the parish in 1907 and assisted them to build a school. With the consent of the German Government, Cardinal Fischer gave them the church of Marienburg in 1910. Several Fathers were engaged in mission work. The English province founded its novitiate in Wilmington, Delaware, 23 September 1903 and transferred it to Childs, Maryland (1907) with a scholasticate attached. The Fathers in Wilmington conducted a high school for boys now known as Salesianum School and were chaplains of several religious communities, the county alms-house, the state psychiatric hospital, the Ferris Industrial School for boys and the county and state prison. In 1910 the parish of St. Francis de Sales at Salisbury, Maryland, 1,209 square miles (3,130 km2) with a population of 70,000, was confided to the Oblates.
In Walmer (Kent, England) they had a boarding school for boys, the chaplaincy of the Visitation Convent and Academy of Roselands and a small parish in Faversham. To this province belonged the Vicariate Apostolic of the Orange River.
Middle Schools – Wilmington/Philadelphia Province
- Nativity Preparatory School of Wilmington
Secondary Schools – Wilmington/Philadelphia Province
Secondary Schools – Toledo/Detroit Province
- Judge Memorial High School
Colleges and Universities – Wilmington/Philadelphia Province
- "Oblates of St. Francis de Sales". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11187a.htm.
- The Oblate Wilmington-Philadelphia Province
- The Oblate Toledo-Detroit Province
- The Oblate German Province
- The Oblate Austrian-South German Province
- The Oblate Switzerland Community
- The Oblate Netherland Province
- The Oblate South American Region
- The Oblate Monaco Community
- Oblate Mission Asia
- The Oblate Namibia Region
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