With the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary on December 8, it’s timely to discuss the statue called the “Oblate Madonna”. 

On August 15, 1822, Father de Mazenod blessed a statue of the Immaculate Conception in the Aix en Provence mission church. On page 279 of the Missions OMI publication of 1908, we find the following description of the statue: 

“Her head, crowned with twelve stars, is lifted toward heaven in an attitude of prayer. She wears a golden veil, the same colour as her long robe and her mantle. She is portrayed as the Immaculate Conception with one foot standing on the crescent moon and the other upon a serpent she is crushing. Her right hand is resting on her heart while her other hand is open, spreading graces on her children who are praying to her.”

This marvellous gold statue, standing at 180 cm tall, that St. Eugene venerated in Aix was transported to Rome in 1903 along with the altar of the vows and the heart of the Founder. It was in the Oblate scholasticate chapel until February 2, 1933, when it was moved to the General House chapel. It’s been in its current place in the General House since 1950, when the Oblate General House moved to its current home on via Aurelia. 

May we always remember that in times of trouble, we can always turn to the Oblate Madonna, just like St. Eugene did. May we look to her as an example, our eyes fixed on heaven.

Did you know? Many of Oblate parishes and ministries around the world have reproductions or portraits of the Oblate Madonna statue. Have you ever seen it before? What stands out to you about this representation of our Mother Mary’s likeness?