Meet Some Oblate Associates – Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate

Meet Some Oblate Associates



British Columbia

Mike and Jo Creedon, Nanaimo

Being Associates has given us the privilege of journeying and deepening our faith with a group of bishops, priests, brothers, women and men committed to a continual conversion, taking our direction from the charism of the founder St. Eugene de Mazenod and our mother Mary Immaculate. Making an intentional commitment to live this charism of St. Eugene has joyfully enriched our spiritual lives.

Marie Luttrell, Vancouver

For the last ten years, I have learned to love St. Eugene with his great zeal, his deep faith, his love for the poor, and his quirks! Being an associate has been my chance to connect with a network of people who model his charism, and who love and challenge me to dig deeper in my faith and love for God and for Mary.



Alberta

Gerry Dupont, Edmonton

My long association with the Oblates has been for me a great highlight in my spiritual life. I am so grateful to have been partof that journey. The friends I have made mean a lot to me and are a great influence in my religious life.

Laurel Lutes, St. Albert

Becoming an Associate has meant continuing along a faith journey that has provided many enriching friendships and experiences with both Oblates and Associates. In learning and studying about St. Eugene and the Oblate charism to the poor and abandoned, I have discovered and embraced a more intentional focus in my personal relationships, activities and ministries. I haven’t so much had “to do more” but rather I am learning day by day to deepen more prayerfully with an Oblate heart what I already do. This spirit-led awareness has been opening up more gratitude, patience, freedom and joy in my life and ministries.

Francis Lopez, St. Albert.

” Being an Oblate Associate give me the chance to be surrounded by people who see the poor as glorious and unique as anyone else and do not hesitate to hold they hands to walk them through the darkness of their lives .”

Bernadette Lemay, St. Albert

Being an associate means, ‘belonging to a family of Faith as Companions on the Journey’. Leading up to St. Eugene de Mazenod’s Canonization on 1995, I attended the meetings held to form Oblate associates. During this time I read the life and letters of St. Eugene; his Conversion, Zeal or the Glory of God, bringing the ‘Good News’ of the Gospel especially to the poor, of which I am one, and his devotion to Mary, touched my heart, nourished my mind and inspired my soul.

By way of meetings, newsletters, encounters and striving to live the Oblate Charism, I find my identity as Oblate Associate in mutual support and spiritual growth. In humble gratitude, I Give Thanks to God for this day-to-day Blessing and strive to respond in prayer and witness to the Worldwide Missionary Ministry of the Oblates at home and across the Boarders.

Sandra Prather, Sherwood Park.

I have been involved with Oblate Associates for many years, having been one of the delegates to the foundational ‘Aix Congress’ in 1996. I work nationally and internationally in leading retreats on the Oblate charism and in promoting Association. St Eugene and the Oblate charism shape the way I live my faith. The connection to the Oblate and the Associates is life-giving; it keeps me grounded and inspired. Since February 2014, I’ve been the Provincial Animator for Oblate Associates for OMI Lacombe Canada, a job I love since it puts me into contact with so many great people.



Saskatchewan

Sister Margaret Dick, SNJM, Qu’Appelle Valley

Although it was only recently that Margaret formally became an Oblate Associate, she has long been associated with the Oblate community, its charism and works. Margaret has been a member of her Manitoba-based community since her first vows on August 22, 1957. Over the years she has served in a variety of ministries, including teaching and administration in several elementary schools, and parish pastoral ministry including with the Oblates in several places. Gradually she began to do more spiritual direction ministry, as well as enneagram workshops and team retreats. With that wealth of experience in 1987 she came to Queen’s House Retreat and Renewal Centre in Saskatoon, where she worked on the programming team, with a focus on spiritual direction formation. She helped co-found the Qu’Appelle House of Prayer, Fort Qu’Appelle, in 1995, where she has been since that time. She has been a participant in the Saskatchewan District of OMI Lacombe Canada since 2003.

Mark and Darcie Lich and family, Saskatoon

As we strive to live our lives in a manner faithful to our baptismal call, we have found companionship and love among those who have dedicated their own lives to doing the same according to the charism of Eugene de Mazenod. We truly believe that, with God’s help, we can create a society in which justice, peace, love, and forgiveness are commonplace.

Our children, like us, have a special love for the Oblates, having been attracted by their love, warmth, and hospitality. We often find ourselves overwhelmed with gratitude as we watch them visit with their Oblate friends, for they truly have found themselves at home among the members of the community.

We consider ourselves abundantly blessed by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Our hope, as a family, is to instil in others the hope and love inspired in us by the charism of St. Eugene; and we pray that, with God’s grace, we are able to do so in the company of others who are driven by that same charism.

Jim and Adele Longstaff, Saskatoon

We are Jim & Adele Longstaff. We live in Saskatoon where we have resided our entire married life. We were married in 1967. We raised two sons- Brent and Sean. Our youngest son, Sean, passed away in 1998. We are now the proud parents of a son, daughter-in-law and three lovely granddaughters.

While we have been associated with the Oblates from across Canada and around the world in many ways over the past 35 years in our work with Worldwide Marriage Encounter, we have journeyed as Associates for the last 5 or 6 years. The Oblates were instrumental in working with couples to get the ministry of Worldwide Marriage Encounter started in Saskatchewan and beyond. We were impressed with their willingness to not just work with couples and families, but to be in relationship with them; from writing talks and becoming a presenting priest on weekends, to babysitting children while their parents attended a weekend, to grabbing a tea towel and drying dishes.

We were initially attracted to the Oblates because of: their hospitality, their service and their option for the poor. Through our work with and relationship with the Oblates, we have become much more aware of and sensitive to our call to serve the poor. We have gained the courage to step out of our “comfort zone” to serve others.

As we have learned more about the charism of St. Eugene we come to recognize the importance of living in community and serving the poor and marginalized that is so integral to the Oblate way of life. We have often witnessed individual Oblates putting aside their personal preferences to serve their community and those who are on the fringes of society.

As Oblates we are called to live that charism in our marriage and beyond. It means that we live out the Oblate charism in our day to day lives- for us this is in serving and loving one another as spouses and being open to responding to the needs of others.

Corrine Pambraun, Saskatoon

I truly believe my Oblate Association began in Baptism with Fr. Valentine Fix. The Charism of Fr. Eugene De Mazenod has played a special role in my life that I wasn’t even aware of. I am a better and stronger person because of my Oblate family and I am lucky to live my faith journey in my everyday work, my Ministry! I love the Oblate Community life and the many beautiful stories and relationships that we share. Each day I realize how blessed and grateful I am to be an Oblate Associate and most of all I am grateful to be a part of our Oblate family.

Christine Taylor, Prince Albert

I have been an Associate of the Oblates for 19 years. I am the Director of Catechetics for a small, missionary Diocese. As I work for and in the Church, I realize how much the Oblates and the charism of St. Eugene de Mazenod have shaped my approach to ministry and my call to spread the good news of the Kingdom of God.

When I come to an Oblate gathering it is like coming home to my mother where I am known and I know those I gather with as we have the same outlook and view of the world and the Church.



Manitoba

Armelle & Louis Molin, Ile-des-Chenes

Notre association avec les Oblats remonte à 1973 lorsque nous avons commencé à participer aux activités de l’Association missionnaire de Marie-Immaculée. En 1987, suite à une session en Personnalité et relations humaines avec le P. Lomer Laplante O.M.I. nous avons eu le désir de nous rendre en Bolivie pour un séjour de trois mois. Puisque Louis était journaliste à Radio-Canada, le P. Laplante lui demandait de faire des entrevues avec les cinq Oblats manitobains sur place à ce moment-là, de prendre des photos et aussi de se renseigner sur la Théologie de la libération. En peu de temps, nous avons été touchés par les boliviens, leur spontanéité, leur tranquille acceptation d’une vie toute simple mais aussi par la triste situation d’un si grand nombre d’enfants orphelins ou abandonnés. Nous retournions en Bolivie en septembre 1988 et y avons passé un total de 10 années sur une période de 15 ans puisque nous voulions aussi être auprès de notre propre famille au Canada.

En Bolivie, nous étions bénévoles dans l’institution ‘Amanecer’ (lever du jour). Armelle s’occupait des vêtements des garçons, les aidait avec leurs tâches scolaires et était responsable de la préparation aux sacrements. Louis était l’homme à tout faire dans les 10 maisons de l’institution. Il travaillait souvent avec les garçons, leur enseignant les trucs du métier mais surtout la valeur du travail bien fait.

En 1989, nous recevions une invitation du P. Alain Pïché, alors provincial au Manitoba, de devenir Associés. Après un temps de préparation avec le P. Louis Jolicœur, nous faisions notre premier engagement en Bolivie le 9 octobre 1989, engagement renouvelé chaque année depuis. En Bolivie, nous étions invités à la retraite annuelle et aux journées de réflexion tenues par les Oblats. Notre association avec eux fut un soutien et souvent, une inspiration. Revenus au Canada, notre groupe d’associés se rencontre régulièrement sous la guidance du Frère Thomas Novak. Ensemble, nous nous penchons sur les documents Lacombe, nous tâchons de suivre les évènements mondiaux et réfléchissons sur la façon de grandir comme chrétiens et comme disciples de Saint Eugène-de-Mazenod.

Our association with the Oblates goes back to 1973 when we started participating in activities sponsored by the MAMI. In 1987, following a session in Human Relations with F. Lomer Laplante O.M.I. we felt an urgent desire to go to Bolivia for a 3-month discovery journey. Since Louis was a journalist at CBC Radio Canada, F. Laplante asked us to interview the five Manitoba Oblates who were in Bolivia at that time, to take photos and also to interview religious and laity on the Theology of Liberation. We very soon were touched by the people of Bolivia, their spontaneity, their quiet acceptance of a simple life but also the painful situation of many abandoned and orphaned children. We returned to Bolivia in September 1988 and spent there a total of 10 years within a period of 15 years as it was also important for us to be present to our own family in Canada.

During our time in Bolivia, we were volunteers in an institution called ‘Amanecer’ (daybreak). Armelle took care of the boy’s clothing, helped them with their school upgrading and was responsible for the preparation of different groups for the sacraments. Louis took care of general upkeep and repairs in the ten different houses of the institution, often working with the boys and teaching them to be proud of a job well done.

In 1989, we received an invitation from F. Alain Piché, then provincial in Manitoba, to become Associates. After a one-month preparation we made our first commitment in Bolivia on October 9, 1989 and have renewed it every year since then. In Bolivia we were invited to the annual retreat and reflexion days held by the Oblates. Our association with them has been life-giving and often inspiring. Back in Canada, our associate group meets regularly with the guidance and input of Brother Thomas Novak. Together we share on documents received from Lacombe, we try to keep in touch with world events and reflect on how we can grow as Christians and followers of Saint Eugene de Mazenod.



Ontario

Brian and Colleen Kerr, Ottawa

Our call to the Oblate mission as Associates both personally and communally is to listen compassionately to elders and youth (in particular) with an openness and willingness to serve and share our faith journeys. For us this is Eucharist; meeting one another in our diversity and our brokenness letting it shape us into the body of Christ; taking us beyond our own agendas. We look forward to renewing our commitment as Oblate Associates within the Ontario District on February 17, 2015.

Suzanne Massie-Manchevsky, Ottawa

“Being an Oblate Associate means being in fellowship with a worldwide apostolic faith family of vowed and lay persons who share the charism of our founder, St Eugene de Mazenod: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor” (Lk 4:18). We are cooperators in the work of Jesus. Each of us are involved in different forms of mission, and we are all strengthened and enriched by our membership in the Oblate community. We all share a desire to live our faith more deeply, to reach out to those most in need, to work for social justice and for responsible stewardship of the earth and we pray together and for each other. What a life-giving blessing!”

Ken Mansfield, Arnprior

Since my arrival five years ago I have been heavily involved with the Oblate community in one way or another. During my time here I have felt drawn to the Oblate charism way of life. Up to my retirement in March of this year I have worked on the leadership team at Galilee Centre which is an Oblate owned retreat facility which reflects on and fleshes out the Oblate mission and ministry.

From my beginning at Galilee Centre, Fr. Jack Lau, OMI was the Centre’s Spiritual Animator and I attended his monthly meetings and Eucharist he held for anyone interested in discerning becoming an Oblate Associate. In this process I learned about the life and charism of St Eugene, and the mission and spirituality of OMI, especially as lived out in OMI Lacombe Canada.

Fr. Jack left Arnprior for Godfrey, Illinois and I continued my journey as an Oblate associate with Fr. Roy Boucher, OMI, meeting at his home every second Wednesday of the month. Also, I had the privilege to attend and share the faith of the Oblates by attending prayer services, annual retreats, community days, feast days and more recently monthly Ottawa BOC sessions.

I feel a special connection with the Oblates and their mission working with the ‘poor and abandoned’ in society and in particular the spiritual poverty that I encounter on a regular basis as a Spiritual Director. I feel called and honoured to continue my life of prayer, meditation and regular Eucharist with the Oblate community.

Dave Morgan, Arnprior

I first came to the Oblate spirituality about 5 years ago. My wife Marie invited me to attend a contemplative mass led by Fr. Jack Lau, OMI at the Galilee Centre in Arnprior, ON. Having just completed the Camino de Santiago de Compostella pilgrimage in Spain, I felt a real calling at Galilee. We retired and decided to move to Arnprior and get involved. We started attending Oblate spiritual formation sessions with Fr. Jack and then continuing with Fr. Roy Boucher, OMI. Our little faith sharing group met monthly and filled a personal need that was not being met through my other faith related activities. Since becoming an Associate in 2014, I have continued to feel the presence of God more than ever before in my life. God has given me many blessings and gifts. Awareness of the charism of St. Eugene de Mazenod, journeying with the Oblates and being continuously formed as an Oblate Associate is deepening my faith and leading me to act on it in new ways.

Eleanor Rabnett, Ottawa

Making my commitment and becoming and Oblate Associate of OMI Lacombe Province has been a very concrete step on my journey. Walking in relationship with the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and sharing in the charism of St. Eugene de Mazenod and a deliberate way of living is how I am able to respond to Gods call to me. It is a base from which I try to live in support of the Oblate Mission. It is in sharing with others the Good News that I find life. It is with the community that I come to know myself and how I live in support of the Oblate Mission. This is what gives me life. Bishop Wilhelm Steckling, OMI spoke in 2008 of a need to belong that runs along-side of our need for freedom. In belonging as an Oblate Associate, the need to be a member of something larger than myself is also nurturing the freedom that he mentioned. For me it runs hand in hand.



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