St Charles Borromeo lived in 16th century Italy. Born to a noble family he could spend his life just having fun. However God had different plans for the young aristocrat. Because he was the second son so it was decided he was to have a career in the Church as his older brother was to inherit the family property. Slowly Charles was transformed by the grace of God into a committed cleric. When his brother died everybody was trying to convince him to give up the path to the priesthood. He was advised to get married and to take up the family inheritance. The young Charles declined. To ensure that nobody could take him away from the service to God and his Church he asked to be ordained a priest. It was done privately as there were suspicions that the family would stop the ceremony. Soon he became Bishop of Milan. First people thought that he was going to limit his association with diocese to taking money from it. Young Bishop however shocked everybody when he decided to move in to Milan. The city didn’t have a bishop living there for 80 years. As St Charles participated in the Council in Trent before coming to Milan, he started impleading the pastoral and doctrinal renewal introduced by the Council. If the city people were shocked having bishop living now with them, it was even a bigger shock when he started visiting parishes even in the Alps region. The chronicles of the local parishes dating back to 16th Century preserve records of the Cardinal Archbishop of Milan coming to participate in their daily life and worship. He would spend weeks or months climbing up the mountains or descending to the valleys to reach out to even the tiny Catholic Communities. Exhausted by his dedicated ministry he died while serving the city folks during the Black Death plague. He was 46.
When the Missionaries of Provence opened the first house outside the region of Provence they had to change their name. They chose to be called Oblates of St Charles. It was early 1825. A few month later when Eugene went to Rome to ask the Holy Father to approve the Order he decided to change the name to Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. However we still remember that brief period of time in 1825 when we were known as Oblates of St Charles. In fact it was an interesting year: at the beginning of the years we were Missionaries of Provence, then Oblates of st Charles and at the end of the year we were Missionaries Oblates of Mary Immaculate.