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Making a difference in the lives of many

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The dedicated priests and brothers of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate serve the poor and needy people in the United States and more than 60 countries worldwide. They provide food for the homeless in New Orleans, shelter for victims of natural disasters in Haiti and bring the Word of God to isolated parts of Zambia. Their ministries are a testament to the profound effect God's love has on the communities they serve.

Founded in 1816 by St. Eugene De Mazenod, the Missionary Oblates go where people's needs are greatest. Today nearly 4,000 Missionary Oblates are ministering in some of the world's most difficult missions, reaching out to serve those most in need.

-- They are comfort to the sick, food to the hungry and hope for the orphaned.

-- They bring peace to war-torn nations and spiritual healing to people in need.

-- They are the priests and brothers of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate are a Roman Catholic congregation of priests and brothers founded after the French Revolution by St. Eugene De Mazenod to work among the poor. Today there are nearly 4,000 missionaries working in more than 60 countries around the world. Some of our international ministries:

-- Anna's House -- providing shelter to the homeless in South Korea.

-- Radio Pio XII -- advocates for human rights in Bolivia, especially for miners in the Andes Mountains.

-- Association Maria Helen Drexel -- helping to improve the lives of street children in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

-- Slavutich, Ukraine -- working with survivors of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

-- Our Lady's Hospice -- caring for the dying in Zambia, mostly victims of AIDS.

In the United States more than 300 Oblate priests and brothers bring healing and hope to people in need every day. They care for the spiritual needs of people at shrines and retreat houses. They care for the material needs of the poor at hospitals, soup kitchens and other social service programs.

-- The National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, Belleville, Ill. -- more than one million pilgrims visit the largest Marian Shrine in the United States every year.

-- Our Lady of Lourdes of the Southwest, San Antonio, Texas -- a replica of the original Shrine in Lourdes, France, the Grotto is visited by pilgrims from around the world and serves as an eternal sign of hope.

-- St. Jude Shrine, New Orleans, La. -- provides programs to help poor people living in and around the French Quarter.

-- Tekakwitha Indian Missions, Minnesota and South Dakota -- Oblates work with Native Americans to preserve their cultural and spiritual heritage.

-- Oblate School of Theology, San Antonio, Texas -- a leader in the formation of religious and lay collaborators for the Church.

-- La Vista Ecological Learning Center, Godfrey, Ill. -- provides programs and retreats related to the integrity of creation, and a community-supported organic garden.

[The Year for Consecrated Life concludes on Feb. 2, 2016; and it will also bring to a conclusion the columns in this space which have, over the past several months, provided a snapshot of the thousands of women and men religious who have graced the life of our archdiocese and the Church universal and our own individual lives. We thank God for each and all of them. -- Ed.]

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