Religious Communities for Women
Chapter 19:

The Oblates of the
Priestly Society of St Pius X

What does Oblate mean?

It comes directly from the Latin verb ‘offere’ which means ‘to offer’.  Oblatus, oblata is a thing which has been offered, it is an oblation.

The word ‘Oblate’ expresses directly the idea of a gift, of an offering, of a sacrifice.  Oblate, in the sense we use it here is a Sister, one who is making a sacrifice.  Strictly speaking, the word ‘Sister’ normally refers to one who has taken vows.  An Oblate is one who has offered herself without vows. If we look at it literally, an ‘Oblate’ emphasizes more the aspect of sacrifice while a ‘Sister’ relates more to fraternal charity.

In the Old Testament, there are many references to the ‘oblates’ or ‘oblations’.  These are the things which were offered to God, they were the sacrifices, the objects sacrificed, the victims sacrificed.  The word ‘sacrifice’ refers more to the action, the ‘oblation’, more to the thing offered.

Thus, the word ‘oblate’ is a very beautiful word, a word which means many things, a word which is a program for the life of one giving herself to God.  We can say that it is a state of soul, constantly in the action of giving.

Acceptance, Postulancy, Noviciate, formation

The Society of St Pius X is a society of common life without vows, in the strict canonical sense of the word and all its members strive to practice the three evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience.  The Oblate lives the same common life without vows, and like the priests of the Society, she makes an engagement to the Society, although she may, in private and with the consent of her spiritual director, take private vows.

There is no age limit for acceptance as there is in many congregations.  The Oblates also accept those Sisters who can no longer tolerate the reforms of Vatican II which are destroying or have destroyed their former Societies.  These Sisters are admitted after one year of probation.

For those who have not been in a religious society before, there is one year of postulancy, at the end of which the taking of the habit takes place followed by one year of noviciate.  After these two years of formation, the Oblate then asks permission to make her oblation in the Society of St Pius X.

During these two years, besides prayer and manual work, the Oblate will attend classes on various subjects such as spirituality, Church history, Sacred Scripture, dogma, catechism, liturgy and Latin, as well as other conferences to enrich her soul.

History, Growth

Since their foundation in 1974 by Archbishop Lefebvre, the Oblate Sisters now have exceeded the mark of 50 members.  There are two Noviciates: one for French-speaking vocations, in the South of Switzerland, in Salvan, in the canton of Valais, and another one in the USA, in Connecticut.

Spirit of the Oblates

The spirit of the Oblates is to be in union with Our Lady of Compassion at the foot of the Cross offering all to God. Our Lady under this title is the Patron of the Oblate. The Fathers of the Church teach that when Our Lady received her new mission from Our Lord at the words “Woman, behold thy son”, “Behold thy Mother”, teach us that St John signified the human race.  By the humble life of Our Lady and her apostolic life, she became the Mother of all, especially of His priests. By her prayers, her humility, her simplicity and obedience, the Oblate Sister endeavors to imitate Our Lady of Compassion as her model and thus she tries to fulfill her vocation.

The following is how Archbishop Lefebvre explained the spirituality of the Oblate in their Statutes: “The spiritual life is the reason d’être of persons dedicated to God; it is as if each soul is christened in the Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ.  Living the life of Jesus through Mary, growing in grace by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacraments, by liturgical and personal prayer, by all thoughts and works made in union with Jesus and Mary, this is the spiritual life of a real Oblate Sister.

“She, the Oblate Sister, will add as an intention of her spiritual life the contemplation of the compassion and sorrows of Jesus on the Cross and the image of Our Lady of Compassion, who is their patroness, and will offer her prayers for the redemption of souls, for the sanctification of  priests, and for her own sanctification.” (Statutes, point C, paragraphs 1, 2 and 3)


There are many flowers in God’s garden, each one having its own beauty and purpose, its own way of glorifying God. The Contemplative Orders are the fuel of Holy Mother Church praying for the flock, the Teaching Orders form young souls, and the Semi-Contemplative Orders have their various apostolates. The Active Orders care for the sick and the needy. But what of the Oblates, what do they do?

The Oblate Sisters help in various ways, just as did Our Lady with St John and the Apostles.  During these difficult times that we are in, it is the Holy Priesthood and the Holy Mass that are being attacked, and it is essentially here that the Oblate Sister is needed. Without the true priesthood, there would not be the true Mass.  So it goes without saying just how important the Oblate vocation is.

The main purpose of the Oblate Sister is to help our priests in their work “to restore all things in Christ.”

Thus, the Oblate Sister helps firstly and most importantly by her prayers, for prayer is the foundation of the spiritual life. She also helps by works of charity in caring for the elderly and sick; she helps by teaching in school, by working in retreat houses, seminaries and priories, either as a secretary of by looking after the house keeping.

From the kitchen to the typewriter, or from the sacristy to the sewing room, it is in offering themselves to do these humble tasks that they assist the priests in the rescue of souls, relieving the priests from the mundane tasks to give themselves more to their priestly duties.

Novice Mistress
Noviciat Ste Thérèse
1922 Salvan (VS)

Oblates No. 41 27 761 2128

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