Oblates of Jesus the Priest
The Oblates of Jesus the Priest is a Roman Catholic religious order of consecrated women. Founded in Mexico in 1924, this congregation is now represented in Mexico, the United States, Italy, and Ecuador. Their charism is “to love the priesthood and to make it loved,” so the apostolates of the sisters predominantly center on assisting priests and promoting the priesthood. These include, but are not limited to, ministering in seminaries, aiding retired priests, sewing vestments, assisting in rectories, working as secretaries for bishops, and conducting religious education in some parishes. The Oblate sisters are also very musical, emphasizing singing and playing instruments during their liturgies and sometimes even writing their own music.
The prayer life of the order is especially Eucharistic with at least a half an hour of Eucharistic adoration every day for each sister, as well as daily Mass, Liturgy of the Hours, and Rosary. As this congregation is part of the Family of the Cross, their spirituality is centered on the Spirituality of the Cross. Essentially, this spirituality emphasizes that Jesus was both priest and victim when he died on the cross, and so by uniting oneself with him, even in the mundane events of daily life, it is possible to also be mediators and offerings to God. The motto of the order is “In Oblation to the Lord.” Currently, the number of sisters worldwide is close to 120, with thirteen of their twenty convents located in Mexico. In the United States, the sisters, numbering around 22, can be found in the archdioceses of Chicago, New York, and San Francisco.
The Oblates of Jesus the Priest were founded in Mexico City on February 9, 1924 by Venerable Fr. Félix de Jesús Rougier, MSpS, a French priest who first came to Mexico as a missionary in 1902. Fr. Félix founded four congregations during his lifetime, all of which live under the same Spirituality of the Cross. These congregations are the men’s community known as the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit (1914) and three women’s congregations: the Daughters of the Holy Spirit (1924), the Guadalupan Missionaries of the Holy Spirit (1930) and the Oblates of Jesus the Priest. The Oblates were founded in Tlalpan, Mexico City on February 9, 1924. They first became an association of the faithful on January 31, 1935, and on December 12, 1937 the order was approved as a congregation of diocesan right. Finally, on February 12, 1975 the Holy See elevated the order to the highest status by approving the Oblates of Jesus the Priest as an institute of pontifical right.
Originally a priest of the Society of Mary, Fr. Félix’s superiors eventually gave him permission to join the community that he founded for men. Throughout his many trials in founding these orders during the turmoil of the revolution, he was aided by a widow and mystic named Concepcion Cabrera de Armida, or "Conchita". Her many spiritual writings, numbering around 200 volumes, still encourage people today in every vocation to pursue holiness. Very shortly after the official founding the Oblates of Jesus the Priest, Fr. Félix died on January 10, 1938. Fr. Félix and Conchita were both made venerable by Pope John Paul II- Conchita on December 20, 1999 and Fr. Félix on February 15, 2000. Today the Oblates of Jesus the Priest continue to grow as they accept multiple new members annually, and the Family of the Cross has expanded to contain seventeen other unique religious and lay institutes besides the Oblates of Jesus the Priest.
Fidelity to the Teachings of the Catholic Church
These sisters express an unwavering fidelity to all teachings of the Catholic Church, to the magisterium, and to the Pope. Their annual participation in various events such as the March for Life and Walk for Life gives public testimony to this.
In an age when many Catholic religious communities have begun to diverge from traditional Church teaching, the United States has become home to two opposing associations known as LCWR and CMSWR. Increasing importance is being placed on which group each community has aligned itself with. However, according to the regional superior of the order, the Oblates of Jesus the Priest will not become a member of either association.