Oblates (Lat. oblatus, offered), two congregations of priests and one of nuns in the Roman Catholic church.

I. Oblates Of St. Charles

Oblates Of St. Charles, founded in Milan by St. Charles Borromeo, archbishop of that city, in 1570, to form a body of missionaries for home work among the neglected classes. They were their founder's idea of the perfection of secular priests, working round the bishop as their head, and differing in this from the religious orders and congregations, which are independent of the bishop. They were called by St. Charles "Ob-lates of St. Ambrose," the name by which they continued to be known during his lifetime. He drew up their constitutions, which were revised by St. Philip Neri and St. Felix Canta-lici, and approved repeatedly by the holy see. They had many establishments in Milan, Verona, and other parts of northern Italy. Diocesan congregations were formed on this model in various parts of Europe, especially the missionaries or Oblates of St. Irenaeus at Lyons. In London, under the direction of Cardinal Wiseman, Dr. (afterward Archbishop) Manning and the Rev. Herbert Vaughan (afterward bishop of Salford), with five other priests, founded an establishment of Oblates of St. Charles, in St. Charles's college at Bays-water. They at present possess five houses in London, and serve four city missions.

They make an "oblation" or vow of obedience to the bishop, the vow of poverty being voluntary. - Attached to the London Oblates, but distinct from them in idea and institution, is "St. Joseph's Society of the Sacred Heart for Foreign Missions," with a central house at Mill Hill, near London, and intrusted by Pius IX. with the spiritual care of the American freedmen. All missionaries educated by St. Joseph's society leave Europe for life, devoting themselves to extra-European races. They make vows of obedience, and bind themselves to practise evangelical poverty, and to go wherever sent. This society counts at present (March, 1875) 12 priests and 30 students in divinity, from men of all nations. They have three missions to blacks exclusively, in Baltimore, Charleston, and Louisville. Bishop Vaughan of Salford is the superior general.

II. Oblates Of Mary Immaculate

Oblates Of Mary Immaculate, a society of regular clerks, founded at Aix, France, in 1815, by Charles J. E. de Mazenod, afterward bishop of Marseilles. At first they were auxiliaries to the diocesan clergy; but as their numbers increased they assumed the direction of ecclesiastical seminaries, penitentiaries, and charitable establishments, and undertook foreign missions. They were approved by Pope Leo XII., Feb. 17, 1826. They spread throughout France, Great Britain, Ireland, the British colonies, the islands of the Pacific, and the United States. Called to Canada in 1841, they immediately occupied in the extreme north and west of British America the old Jesuit missionary posts, and extended their labors to the remotest tribes. In Canada they have several colleges, seminaries, and academies, with a constantly increasing body of priests! They also have numerous establishments in northern New York, Minnesota, Texas, and Washington territory.

III. Oblates Sisters Of Providence

Oblates Sisters Of Providence, a sisterhood of colored women, founded at Baltimore in 1825, by the Rev. II. Joubert, for educating colored girls, taking charge of colored orphans, and attending to the general needs of the colored population.. They were approved by Gregory XVI. in 1831. Their mother house is in Baltimore.