On August 17, 2016, six young men stood before a group of local Oblates and requested admittance to the Immaculate Heart of Mary Novitiate in Godfrey, Illinois. By participating in the Rite of Reception, the men pledged to spend the next year in study, prayer and discernment at the Oblate Novitiate overlooking the Mississippi River.
As usual, the group is international and diverse in its make up. For the international novices, there will be some culture shock, and some getting used to very different food from that which is familiar. Having seen international headlines about crime and gun violence in the U.S., there is a bit of concern about that along with some excitement and trepidation regarding an exotic climate which includes ice, snow and cold weather. So, they have all that to contend with along with the study and relative isolation of the Novitiate which is located in a large, rural area atop a cliff overlooking the river.
Fortunately, the experienced team of formators walk with them during their journey. Novice Master Tom Horan, OMI maintains a welcoming atmosphere at the Novitiate, with the help of Canadian Oblate, Fr. Rudy Nowakowski, Fr. Jack Lau, OMI (an expert chef who provides some comfort to the Novices with some authentic dishes from home), and the newest member of the formation team, Fr. Bob Morin, OMI.
Story by Will Shaw, from Missionary Association on Mary Immaculate and pictures by Fr. Jim Chambers, OMI.
To read more about the novices and their backgrounds, please check out this post: