Communities for Women
Oblates of the
Priestly Society of St Pius X
does Oblate mean?
It comes directly
from the Latin verb ‘offere’ which means ‘to offer’. Oblatus, oblata
is a thing which has been offered, it is an oblation.
The word ‘Oblate’
expresses directly the idea of a gift, of an offering, of a sacrifice.
Oblate, in the sense we use it here is a Sister, one who is making
a sacrifice. Strictly speaking, the word ‘Sister’ normally refers
to one who has taken vows. An Oblate is one who has offered herself
without vows. If we look at it literally, an ‘Oblate’ emphasizes
more the aspect of sacrifice while a ‘Sister’ relates more to fraternal
In the Old
Testament, there are many references to the ‘oblates’ or ‘oblations’.
These are the things which were offered to God, they were the sacrifices,
the objects sacrificed, the victims sacrificed. The word ‘sacrifice’
refers more to the action, the ‘oblation’, more to the thing offered.
Thus, the word
‘oblate’ is a very beautiful word, a word which means many things,
a word which is a program for the life of one giving herself to
God. We can say that it is a state of soul, constantly in the action
Postulancy, Noviciate, formation
of St Pius X is a society of common life without vows, in the strict
canonical sense of the word and all its members strive to practice
the three evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience.
The Oblate lives the same common life without vows, and like the
priests of the Society, she makes an engagement to the Society,
although she may, in private and with the consent of her spiritual
director, take private vows.
There is no
age limit for acceptance as there is in many congregations. The
Oblates also accept those Sisters who can no longer tolerate the
reforms of Vatican II which are destroying or have destroyed their
former Societies. These Sisters are admitted after one year of
For those who
have not been in a religious society before, there is one year of
postulancy, at the end of which the taking of the habit takes place
followed by one year of noviciate. After these two years of formation,
the Oblate then asks permission to make her oblation in the Society
of St Pius X.
two years, besides prayer and manual work, the Oblate will attend
classes on various subjects such as spirituality, Church history,
Sacred Scripture, dogma, catechism, liturgy and Latin, as well as
other conferences to enrich her soul.
foundation in 1974 by Archbishop Lefebvre, the Oblate Sisters now
have exceeded the mark of 50 members. There are two Noviciates:
one for French-speaking vocations, in the South of Switzerland,
in Salvan, in the canton of Valais, and another one in the USA,
of the Oblates is to be in union with Our Lady of Compassion at
the foot of the Cross offering all to God. Our Lady under this title
is the Patron of the Oblate. The Fathers of the Church teach that
when Our Lady received her new mission from Our Lord at the words
“Woman, behold thy son”, “Behold thy Mother”, teach
us that St John signified the human race. By the humble life of
Our Lady and her apostolic life, she became the Mother of all, especially
of His priests. By her prayers, her humility, her simplicity and
obedience, the Oblate Sister endeavors to imitate Our Lady of Compassion
as her model and thus she tries to fulfill her vocation.
is how Archbishop Lefebvre explained the spirituality of the Oblate
in their Statutes: “The spiritual life is the reason d’être of
persons dedicated to God; it is as if each soul is christened in
the Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Living the life of Jesus through
Mary, growing in grace by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the
Sacraments, by liturgical and personal prayer, by all thoughts and
works made in union with Jesus and Mary, this is the spiritual life
of a real Oblate Sister.
Oblate Sister, will add as an intention of her spiritual life the
contemplation of the compassion and sorrows of Jesus on the Cross
and the image of Our Lady of Compassion, who is their patroness,
and will offer her prayers for the redemption of souls, for the
sanctification of priests, and for her own sanctification.”
(Statutes, point C, paragraphs 1, 2 and 3)
There are many
flowers in God’s garden, each one having its own beauty and purpose,
its own way of glorifying God. The Contemplative Orders are the
fuel of Holy Mother Church praying for the flock, the Teaching Orders
form young souls, and the Semi-Contemplative Orders have their various
apostolates. The Active Orders care for the sick and the needy.
But what of the Oblates, what do they do?
Sisters help in various ways, just as did Our Lady with St John
and the Apostles. During these difficult times that we are in,
it is the Holy Priesthood and the Holy Mass that are being attacked,
and it is essentially here that the Oblate Sister is needed. Without
the true priesthood, there would not be the true Mass. So it goes
without saying just how important the Oblate vocation is.
The main purpose
of the Oblate Sister is to help our priests in their work “to
restore all things in Christ.”
Thus, the Oblate
Sister helps firstly and most importantly by her prayers, for prayer
is the foundation of the spiritual life. She also helps by works
of charity in caring for the elderly and sick; she helps by teaching
in school, by working in retreat houses, seminaries and priories,
either as a secretary of by looking after the house keeping.
From the kitchen
to the typewriter, or from the sacristy to the sewing room, it is
in offering themselves to do these humble tasks that they assist
the priests in the rescue of souls, relieving the priests from the
mundane tasks to give themselves more to their priestly duties.