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Home WHAT’S NEW Oblates of the Assumption – Sesquicentennial Celebration of the Foundation

Oblates of the Assumption – Sesquicentennial Celebration of the Foundation PDF Print E-mail

Sr. Felicia GHIORGHIES, O.A., Superior generalThe Congregation of the Oblates of the Assumption was founded on May 24, 1865 at Rochebelle (Nîmes-France) by Venerable Emmanuel d’ALZON, with the assistance of Mother Emmanuel-Marie CORRENSON, with a view to working for Church unity, particularly the union of the Eastern Churches, and doing so in close collaboration with the Augustinians of the Assumption.

In 1868, the first Sisters left for Bulgaria. By means of education and medical assistance, these Oblates placed themselves at the service of the neediest and the most disadvantaged, whether they were Catholic, Orthodox, Greek, Armenian, or Jewish --- in Bulgaria, Turkey, and ex-Yugoslavia. Later, with communities in Jerusalem, Romania, and Russia ---- all of these countries where the Oblates and the Assumptionists work for Church unity and inter-religious dialogue came to be known as the « La Mission d’Orient » (“The Near Eastern Mission”). To this day we have communities who live and work within both rites, Eastern and Latin.

Emmanuel_d_AlzonFrom the early days in France and Bulgaria, the mission developed and expanded in a spirit of creativity and availability, so that today we are found in 25 countries on four continents: Europe, Africa, South America, and Asia. The most recent foundations have been in China, Gabon and Kenya.

Our mission has taken root in certain concrete ways: evangelization, ecumenism, ministry with the most disadvantaged whether through educational, social, or charitable work. In dialogue with Orthodox, Anglicans, and Protestants or with Islam, Buddhism, or Confucianism, we are making our way along the paths of the Kingdom. In doing so, we wish to respond with creative fidelity to the spiritual heritage of our founder, Fr. d’Alzon : « The love of Our Lord. That’s where you need to begin and to end. Who would an Oblate be whose life was not Jesus Christ? »

The love of Christ, found at the heart of every Oblate, is a constant call to make room for him in our lives and in the world, to desire that all may know Him. In order to hasten the Kingdom in us and around us in this way, we commit ourselves especially to the service of unity, truth, and charity according the spirit of Saint Augustine. The love of Jesus Christ (particularly in the Eucharist), of the Virgin Mary, and of the Church goes to the heart of our spirituality. Action and the contemplation that flows from it are united in a unique goal: serving the extension of the Kingdom of God.

Some of the first Assumptionist and Oblate missionaries in BulgariaSome of the first Assumptionist and Oblate missionaries in Bulgaria

Oblate school in the Near Eastern Mission, 19th century  Oblate school in the Near Eastern Mission, 19th century

Missionaries, we seek to announce Jesus Christ wherever we may be and beyond our frontiers, whether they be geographical or social. We desire to be « workers of unity » by means of our ecumenical involvement and wish more broadly to foster dialogue and communion. Paying attention both to the Church and to the world, we strive to make man grow in the spirit of the Gospel, according to the needs of our time.

Oblate Sisters working at a school in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo and at one of their hospitals in North Kivu DRC

Afrique - RDC enseignement

Afrique - RDC médical

Am Latine -internationalité

Asie - Corée Social

Our charism is ever relevant because it responds to the needs of the men and women of our day in search of the meaning of life. Often this witness gets translated into our simple presence but also into our commitment to the least and most marginalized in the different social and ecclesial contexts in which we find ourselves. We share their lives with all their worries, joys and sufferings.


In this year of 2015, we celebrate the sesquicentennial of our foundation. It has been an unexpected joy that this anniversary coincide with the Year of the Consecrated Life and the Jubilee of Mercy. During this important milestone in the life of the Congregation, we wish to re-read the history of our beginnings so as to deepen our appreciation of our identity and the spiritual legacy entrusted to us by our founders. This historical dimension leads us to examine the different ways our Oblate predecessors incarnated the charism in various cultures with creative fidelity so as to broaden and enrich our missionary horizons. This history calls us today to think of the present and the future: How can we be prophets today and tomorrow?

Bulgarie - Mission d'OrientAssumptionists and Oblates in Plovdiv, Bulgaria with Bishop Christo Proykov, Apostolic Exarch of Sofia, 2014

As we enter this jubilee year, it is a time for us to celebrate, to give thanks, and to acknowledge God’s work made present in our founders and in the first Oblate missionaries who gave flesh to the founding intuition. We are happy to mark this milestone which captures the aims of the Year of the Consecrated Life launched by Pope Francis.

Bulgarie - Mission d'Orient

During our celebrations we are giving paramount place to the witnesses who marked our religious family by the way they personally gave flesh to our charism. They push us to ask ourselves, Oblates today, how we are doing the same in our world. We accompany the men and women of our times in joy, simplicity, and the desire to respect difference. Living this jubilee also gives us fresh impetus, renewed apostolic dynamism, in serving the Kingdom: “Here I am; send me!” so that “your Kingdom may come!”.

Vitrail Mission d'Orient - Maison généralice Paris

I am grateful, happy and honored to write these few words for the Assumptionist website in the United. What a wonderful opportunity for me to address those who frequent this site in order to speak to them about our life and our mission!

Sr. Felicia GHIORGHIES, O.A.
Superior general

Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 April 2015 12:31
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