Oblates of St. Francis de Sales
It had been one of St. Francis de Sales deepest desires to found an order of priests and brothers who would dedicate their lives to the active ministry according to his spirit. However, due to his untimely death, he was unable to accomplish his desire himself.
In the designs of God, St. Francis’ dream became a reality in the year 1872 when Fr. Louis Brisson and Mother Chappuis, a Visitation nun, founded the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales congregation in France. Their congregation flourished and spread to Austria, Germany, Holland, Italy, South Africa, South America, Switzerland, India and the United States.
Although the Oblates are involved in all of the Church’s apostolates (adult education, campus ministry, colleges, foreign missions, high schools, hospice chaplaincies, military chaplaincies, parish ministry, seminaries, youth ministry), their chief purpose and reason for existence is to keep alive in the Church the spirit and doctrine of St. Francis de Sales. Answering the call of the American Bishops, the Oblates in this nation have devoted their energy to education. In 1903, the first Oblate school in America opened in Wilmington, Delaware. At the present time, the Oblates are located in California, Canada, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia and Washington, DC. There are two American Provinces of Oblates, viz., the Toledo-Detroit Province and the Wilmington-Philadelphia Province. Bishop Ireton High School is staffed by Oblates of the Wilmington-Philadelphia Province.