Wednesday, October 5, 2016
The 36th General Chapter of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate has reelected Father Louis Lougen, OMI, as their Superior General on 30 September 2016. Gathered in Rome during the 200th jubilee of their founding, the 82 Oblates in General Chapter represent around 3,700 of their fellow priests and Brothers in almost 70 countries of the world. Founded in 1816 in Aix-en-Provence, France, by St. Eugene de Mazenod, their motto and the theme of this General Chapter is “He has sent me to evangelize the poor. The poor are being evangelized.”
Fr. Lougen, the 12th successor of St. Eugene de Mazenod, was elected to a first term as Superior General on 28 September 2010.
Born in Buffalo, New York, USA, in 1952, he met the Oblates as a student at Bishop Neumann High School in Buffalo and entered the juniorate in Newburgh, New York, in 1970. He made his first profession of vows at the novitiate in Godfrey, Illinois, in 1973 and continued his first formation at Oblate College in Washington, D.C., obtaining a Baccalaureate in Philosophy and a Master's in Theology. He made perpetual vows in Newburgh in 1976.
Following his ordination to the diaconate in 1978, he ministered for 6 months in Brazil. After his ordination to the priesthood in Washington in 1979, he returned to Brazil where he worked in parish and formation ministry, serving successively as pastor of several parishes, pre-novitiate director, and novice master. Upon returning to the United States in 1996, he served as assistant director of the pre-novitiate and pastor of Holy Angels Parish in Buffalo.
He became novice master in Godfrey, Illinois, in 2002 and was named provincial of the United States Province in 2005-2010.
During the first six years of his tenure as Superior General, he has visited almost every province, delegation, and mission of the Missionary Oblates. He came into his position able to speak English, Portuguese, and Spanish. In the past six years, he has also acquired the ability to converse in Italian and French.
In January of 2016, there were 3,776 Missionary Oblates worldwide, including 46 archbishops and bishops (of whom one is a Cardinal), 1 Prefect Apostolic, 2,843 priests, 316 Brothers, and 570 scholastics or vowed seminarians.