This Catholic order was founded in 1816 in France by Bishop Eugene De Mazonod. They came to Brownsville at the request of local citizens and held their first mass on December 8, 1849 on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception hence the name of the future church.
The Oblates were entrusted with a territory that stretched from Brownsville to San Ignacio, a distance of some two hundred miles.
This harsh country, that could only be traversed by horse, led to the Oblates being known as the "Calvary of Christ."
Despite the loss of eight members to yellow fever, the burning of Brownsville by Confederates, and devastating hurricanes, the Oblates' devotion to their mission could not be broken.
The hardships they endured caused the order's founder to exclaim "those cruel missions of Texas!"
The Oblates have gone far beyond their responsibilities as priests. They have been builders of churches, founders of schools, and have always remained pillars of community spirit and strength.
Their never ending concern for the people they serve is expressed in their motto "To preach the gospel to the poor, he hath sent me." Bishop Mazonod was canonized in 1995.