• 1 Oblates of Mary Immaculate

    The Oblates of Mary Immaculate is a Roman Catholic men’s religious order founded in 1816 by Saint Eugene de Mazenod in France. They are primarily a missionary order dedicated to working with the poor. The Oblates’ constitution cites the “evangelization of the most abandoned” as a central focus of their ministry. Oblates are known for their work with immigrants, minorities and First Nations communities. Pope Pius XI called the Oblates “specialists in difficult missions.” The order came to Canada in 1841 at the invitation of Bishop Bourget of Montreal. Seven years later, Oblate Fathers founded Bytown College, which became the University of Ottawa in 1866. Oblates currently operate Saint Paul University within the University of Ottawa federation. Saint Paul University has a pontifical charter to grant ecclesiastical degrees. Oblates have been particularly active in western Canada and were responsible for establishing the Catholic Church in the northwest. From the 1870s to the 1980s, Oblates operated numerous residential schools for First Nations children across the country, including several in northern Ontario. The residential school system – run by many different religious groups and denominations – has since been the subject of much criticism and contention. Oblates are particularly active in Canada’s Polish immigrant communities. The Oblate’s Assumption Province – created in 1956 to serve Polish-Canadian Catholics – has its headquarters in Toronto.

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