Cooperatrici Oblate Missionarie dell’Immacolata
Secular Institutes represent a special form of consecrated life. Without communities and external uniform, their members share the life of the ordinary people, mixed to them, witnessing the Gospel by living on the model of Christ, virgin, poor and obedient, in order to be ferment and testimony of God’s love in the world.
The members of the Secular Institute of the Cooperators Oblates Missionaries of the Immaculate (COMI) are women consecrated to God with vows (poverty, chastity, obedience).
Through their presence and their professional work, they contribute to transform the world from inside, as leaven in the dough, by putting into practice the teachings of the Gospel in daily events and gestures.
They live their mission inspired by the spirituality of St. Eugene de Mazenod, sharing his audacity and his passionate love for the Christ, for the mankind and for the Church.
The members of the Institute share the Oblate charism, deriving from St. Eugene de Mazenod, founder of OMI. They share a mutual fraternal love and a missionary ideal. Walking in the footsteps of Christ, the COMI live their own vocation in the ordinary life, with a special attention to evangelization, missionary animation and cooperation, in the service of the mission, in their professional work and in various forms of apostolate.
The spirituality of the COMI is focused on four key aspects, deriving from St. Eugene; it is:
The COMI makes Christ the center of her life, by being completely devoted to the construction of His Kingdom, and by making her life a constant and joyful response to God.
Mary Immaculate is the patroness of the Institute: each COMI lives the apostolic and professional work as “New Mary of Nazareth”, learning from Her the style of her relationships.
“To evangelize the poor’ is COMI’s mission (shared with OMI), wherever they meet poorness around them: in their families, in their neighbors, in their professional work, in the Church, etc. They announce the love of God to every man and woman, firstly with a truly evangelic coherence of their life with Gospel.
The members of the Institute are strongly united by mutual fraternal love; they usually live as single or in their family of origin, but they can also live in small groups or communities. This choice depends from the personal call and mission that each COMI receives from God.
Most of the COMI live in Italy, but they are present also, since 1986 in Uruguay, since 1996 in RDCongo and, since 2016, in Argentina: they are engaged in missionary cooperation and service, in the professional work and in different forms of apostolate to face the demands of the evangelization. They animate missionary and youth pastoral, popular missions, human promotion and development and service to the local Church. In RDCongo, they are also responsible for the administration of the “Siloe Centre”, a clinic serving the poorest.
The Institute of the COMI has its origins in the spirituality of St. Eugene de Mazenod, as conveyed by father Gaetano Liuzzo OMI, who considered himself just as a “canal” to pass the Oblate charism to lay women called by God to share and participate in it. Established on August 22nd, 1951, in Florence (Italy), The COMi Institute received the Pontifical Approval on November 21st, 2001. The COMIs live the Oblate charism according to their specific secular vocation and female condition. They collaborate with the OMI in fields and modalities compatible with the spirit and the activities of a Secular Institute.
Laymen who, without vows, share the spirituality and the charism are part also of the Institute of COMI as Auxiliaries.
In 1973, issued from COMI Institute, a non-governmental agency (“COMI” – cooperation for the developing world) has been established, operating in several countries of the world with development projects and sending of international volunteers.
The formation path is usually carried out in the context where the COMI candidates live, in the respect of the culture of their country. In Europe and in Latin America, it is done by meeting periodically the candidates, while in Africa early formation is done by living in a small COMI community.
The steps of early formation are:
- Orientation (about one year): it is aimed at a first knowledge of the Institute
- First Aspirantate (one year): it is aimed at a first introduction of the spirituality and charism
- Second Aspirantate (two years): it is aimed at the acquisition of the elements of the COMI vocation (first year) and at the preparation to the first oblation with vows (second year)
- First oblation: the COMI is engaged for one year by the three vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.
- Renewal of the vows (annually, usually until the sixth renewal): the COMI continues her formation towards the perpetual vows.
- Perpetual oblation (not earlier than the sixth renewal): the COMI is engaged forever with perpetual vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.
Afterwards, the COMI is engaged in permanent formation: she improves her spiritual and apostolic life by participating to meetings, experiences, etc. as well as by self-formation with readings of Church teachings and other appropriate contributions.
As a consecrated woman, the COMI lives the three vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.
Poverty: the style of her life is simple, she avoids the accumulation of goods and uses them for the help to the poor and the development of the social context where she lives: her only good is God. According to the rules of secular consecration, she keeps the possess of her goods, but submits their management to the approval of her superiors. The vow implies that she contributes to the sharing of the goods by donating at least the 5% of her salary to the Institute.
Chastity: the style of her relationships is transparent and unambiguous. She avoids to tie the people to herself and to create or live in dependence relationships: her only love is God. She cultivates friendly and respectful links with men and women for developing a healthy and equilibrated affectivity in and around herself. The vow implies that she renounces to marriage and abstains from every form of homo-and hetero-sexual love.
Obedience: the style of her behavior is humble and receptive. She avoids individualistic and egocentric attitudes and is open to discernment, to dialogue and to confront: her only will is God’s one. She does not impose her thought or her choice, but looks for shared decisions. She has a spiritual guide and obeys the religious authorities. The vow implies that she shares and confront with her superiors all main decisions regarding her life and accept their indications, in dialogue with them.
The COMI Institute is ruled by a General Direction, consisting of a President with her General Council, namely 5 COMI councilors (including vice-president, secretary and treasurer). They are elected by a General Assembly of delegated COMI and have a 4-years mandate.
COMI are grouped in “Oasis” on the base of their geographic distribution: they meet regularly and have a monthly retreat, possibly together. Each Oasis is a sort of spread community, under the responsibility of a COMI (the Delegate) who acts as a Superior.
All Delegates are under the authority of the COMI President, who appoints them after consulting the members of the Oasis and the General Council.
The candidates COMI submit their request directly to the President, who informs the Council and, after approval, appoints the COMIs who will be in charge of the formation and accompany the candidate in each step of her consecration path, helping her in the discernment of her vocation.
COMI General House
Via G. Tarra, 20 A/1
00151 ROMA (ITALY)
President: Rosalba Rossi (E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Secretary: Ileana Chinnici (E-mail: email@example.com)