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Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate  United States Province

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Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Denis Hurley, OMI December 12th, 2013

This story is written by Father Harry Winter, OMI and comes to us courtesy of the OMI US Province website.


The passing of Nelson Mandela on Dec. 5 reminds Oblates that it took three great leaders to accomplish the abolition of apartheid in South Africa: Mandela, Hurley, and the Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Now is a good time to recall what Paddy Kearney wrote in 2009 in his well received biography of Hurley: Guardian of the Light, about Hurley and Mandela working together.

When Hurley was hauled before a court in February, 1985 and threatened with jail for publishing “untrue facts” in relation to action by police (p. 211), Mandela wrote from his prison: “Archbishop Hurley is often in my thoughts, especially now. I would like him to know that” (p. 223).

In 1994, Mandela was inaugurated as the first democratically elected president of South Africa. Hurley was a special guest. Kearney writes “He regarded it as the second great highlight of his life, after Vatican II. In a letter to his friend Petal O’Hara, he described the occasion:

The function of the Inauguration was magnificently performed, every person doing his or her part perfectly . . . The mood of the crowd rose to a joyous fever pitch. The final act was the firing of a twenty-one-gun salute and a flyover in tight formation of several SAAF squadrons, the last one consisting of six planes that left trails in the many colours of the South African flag. The crowd was ecstatic. ‘Our air force’, shouted the African citizens . . . Lunch followed, very well organized—plenty of food and drink, easy access to supplies and to tables. And by 3:00 p.m. we were climbing onto buses and heading for the airport full of the joy of having participated in perhaps the greatest day in the history of South Africa.

When Brother Jude Pieterse saw Hurley after the inauguration, he noticed ‘an excitement I had never really associated with him before . . . He was almost . . .bubbling over, you know. Normally he kept his emotions pretty well under control, but [that day] there was a real joy in his whole approach’. “(p. 306).

In 1999, President Mandela conferred on Hurley the Order of Meritorious Service (Class 1) (p. 309). When Hurley died on Feb. 13, 2005, Dominican Sister Marie-Henry Keane, who as a young nun had benefited from his special attention in explaining Vatican II to women religious, called him “the Nelson Mandela of the Church” (p. 325).

Now they are together, rejoicing at the continued growth of justice, truth and opportunity in South Africa.


Southern Africa Trip Report December 11th, 2012

Mary O’Herron, a long-time staff member of the JPIC Office, recently traveled to South Africa with her family. She wrote up some reflections on her time visiting Oblates in Durban. Read her trip report (Download PDF)

Peace & Life Connections: November 20, 2012 December 1st, 2012

We are now reproducing the Consistent Life “Peace & Life Connections” weekly newsletter on our website. If you are interested in more information, or in subscribing to the e-newsletter, please visit

2009: U.S. Abortion Rate Drops 5%

In the largest single-year drop since legalization, the Centers for Disease Control report the U.S. abortion rate dropped 5% in 2009, the latest year for which it has figures.

The number of abortion clinics plummeted more in the 8 years when Bill Clinton was president than during any other 8-year period. Now the first year of Barack Obama’s term has offered another steep decline of another kind. But unlike that in the Clinton years, this decline can’t be attributed to relative economic prosperity; 2009 was the worst year of the Great Recession.

There are many ideas on why the abortion rate fell. One is that grassroots pro-life people take more action when not relying on presidential lip service.

Click here to read more »

A Visit to Mongu, Zambia November 29th, 2011

Early November, JPIC Office colleague Kate Walsh, who works with the TRI-State Coalition for Responsible Investment (CRI) in New Jersey, visited Oblates working in Zambia. She writes about her reflection on the trip and experience in Zambia:

Two weeks ago, I traveled to Zambia to speak at conference co-sponsored by Catholic Relief Services and CAFOD on Extractives in Southern African. My task was to speak about ICCR’s work and run a session on Shareholder Advocacy. However, I had a few days to explore the region, visit, before the conference began.

That first weekend, I went to Mongu in the Western Region. This is the poorest region of the country. After a 7-hour bus ride from the capital, I arrived and went to visit the Diocese of Mongu Development Centre (DMDC).

Click here to read more »

CHA Videos Record Benefits of the Affordable Care Act July 15th, 2011

Watch these powerful short videos produced by the Catholic Health Association featuring people whose lives have been improved by the Affordable Care Act. Statistics and studies can tell one story but nothing is quite as powerful as the true, touching accounts given by real families working to stay healthy and contribute to our country.

The series of video stories is available at

They represent part of CHA’s effort to correct misinformation on health reform and show how the law is already assisting individuals and families all over the country. Please take a few moments to view these videos and share the information with others.



Oblate Organic Community Supported Garden Lauded in Local Press February 14th, 2011

The Oblate-supported organic garden in Godfrey, Illinois has received a nice write-up in The Telegraph, Alton, Illinois’ local paper. Now in its 9th year, the CSA at Godfrey continues to provide its share owners and a local food bank with bountiful supplies of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables. The CSA shareholders and core team are committed to preserving the land, educating people about the health benefits of eating produce grown in a sustainable manner and the ecological benefits of eating locally.

The garden regularly over-produces, ensuring leftover produce to take to local food pantries, which fulfills its other mission – to help feed the poor. La Vista also offers 10 to 12 community outreach shares at a discounted price to low-income members of the community.

Read the article (Download PDF)

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