The Oblate Sisters celebrated the anniversary of the beginning of their Congregation with great joy on February 2. It has been many years and there is a lot of life! 150 years of dedicated life as religious that makes us an Oblate Family. From the beginning, a family that built, together with the sisters, laity and women, a charismatic community as an expression of fraternity and a sign of communion in the Church and in the world.
The first formal steps were institutionalized for the congregation when Mother Antonia took the habit on February 2, 1870. The chronicles of “Asilo de Consuelo”, as the work was then called, recalling: “On February 2, 1870, Antonia de Oviedo and Schönthal finally decided to embrace the sweet but at the same time heavy cross for her as the founder. When our Divine Redeemer offered himself in the temple for the salvation of the world, full of heavenly joy, Mrs Antonia María de Oviedo, with the name of Antonia María de la Misericordia, brought, together with one companion, the poor and simple ash-coloured religious habit of the Oblates of the Most Holy Redeemer.
The third sister wore the dress on the day of the Immaculate Conception; the fourth on the day of the Holy Spirit of 1871, and remained so until the end of 1873 when two other young women wore it and began to form a novitiate. The work was difficult, the great poverty, the disastrous times; but the small kindergarten continued to bear fruit of salvation.”
In the process, there were no setbacks. However, Antonia felt happy and thus confessed “now I no longer belong to myself. I am the slave of the poor. I find so much peace, so much placidity in my facial features or expression. But this is not really mine, it is that of the Opera, of the holy idea of the Foundation.”
An invitation that makes us become an Oblate Family
150 years have passed since that moment when the social work became an institute of consecrated life and today, as indicated in a letter to the congregation Lourdes Perramon, Superior General, “we know that this incipient oblate family has expanded all over the world, welcoming always the new invitation of God who, through so many sisters, has taken on a concrete face in countries and cultures.”
This invitation has been “felt by many other people who have been touched by the reality of women in contexts of prostitution, growing together and creating brotherhood, promoting hospitality and care homes, learning and enhancement opportunities and, ultimately, spaces of shared life and Redemption.”
Celebrating the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Congregation, in the context of the post-capitular phase, “brings content, hope and density to what the horizon of the Congregation formulates: it is vital to be, feel and act as a CONGREGATION, in this invitation that makes us an Oblate Family.”
Each anniversary has many encounters and shares. We celebrate it in time of prayer, thanking the faithfulness and fruitfulness of God, manifested by the first steps of Mother Antonia and Father Serra, to the paths and turns that we are invited to travel in this sexennium. We live in communion with one another, as a community of sisters and with the Oblate family, from its concrete reality feeling connected by the charism that calls us together to share.