"The Oblates exist because my eyes have seen the Lord"
Father Brisson, a zealous apostle, had opened in 1858, a centre where he would welcome young girls working in the mills. He decided, under Gods inspiration to establish a religious congregation to direct this important work. In Leonie Aviat he founded an incomparable co-worker and a zealous apostle, like himself. This young lady who had earlier felt an attraction towards the contemplative life of the Visitation Order, was affected by the plight of young factory workers and felt herself called to the attractive apostolate. Thus the new congregation of the Oblate Sisters came to be found. Placed under the congregation of St. Francis de Sale the Congregation completely identified with the Spirituality and identity of the Bishop of Geneva
For many years Mother Mary de Sales Chappuis, of the Visitation Sisters in Troyes, had been encouraging their Chaplin to start a Congregation of priest following the spirit and teaching of St. Francis de Sales. After some years, in 1876 he founded the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales (priest and brothers. Years later he testified that the Oblate exist because my eyes have seen the Lord.
Making the desert Bloom
When the Vicar Apostolic of the Cape of Good hope, Bishop John Leonard, heard that the Society of African Missions of Loyons had deciced to recall its subject from the Namaqualand and the North-Western Cape, he made a trip to Europe in 1880 in hope of finding a Congregation willing to assume the responsibility of evangelizing these areas. In 1882 Fr. Brisson sent the first missionaries to South Africa: Fr Jean Marie Simon, Fr. Jouaux and Br Giraud. They arrived in Pella on the 2 September 1882. Other missions were established afterwards: Matjieskloof 1885, Nababeep 1900 and Port Nolloth in 1904. In Namibie missions were founded: Heirachabis in 1896, Warbad in 1907 and Gabis in 1907.
The future with Optimism
Today the Oblates are located throughout the world, in Holland, Germany, Austria, France, Switzerland, Italy, India, South Africa, Namibia, Benin, Ivery Coast, Uruguay, Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico, Haiti and the United States. They continue their mission of spreading the spiritual tradition of St. Francis de Sales a diverse congregation. Oblates live in a common life, supporting one another to live authentic lives of faith. They profess the vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience. They are men and women of prayer, centered on Jesus and the imitation of his love of God and all humanity. Oblates of St. Francis de Sales live and spread Salesian Spirituality: humility, gentleness, optimism and above all the practice of little virtues.