Saturday 22 February 2014

From Mark Avila, of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary

Yesterday we had a visit from Fr Mark Avila, who is a member of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary - the congregation founded by Pio Brunone Lanteri, and that ran the Convitto Ecclesiastico.

In the course of our conversation I learnt from Mark that the Oblates of the Virgin Mary were quite distinct from the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, founded more or less at the same time. In fact, the 'Oblates of the Virgin Mary' were originally simply 'Oblates of Mary', but they added 'Virgin' to distinguish themselves from the OMI.

This morning, in the course of my teaching 'Don Bosco Founder,' I realized that the English Biographical Memoirs of Saint John Bosco vol. 1 ch. 55 speaks of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, where the Italian Memorie Biografiche vol. 1 speaks correctly of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, or even simply of the Oblates of Mary.

Don Bosco picked up many of his central ideas from the Convitto and the Oblates: spreading good literature; the apostolate of the Spiritual Exercises not only for priests and religious but also for laypeople; even 'extern Salesians'! And Mark kept talking about his Rector Major: perhaps even that terminology is from them. Mark was quite excited to see Buccellato's discussion of the influence of the Convitto on Don Bosco (Appunti per una 'storia spirituale' del sacerdote Gio' Bosco).

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