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COMI: 60 years living a charism in the Church
05/12/2011 Italy

On August 22, 1951, the Basilica of the Annunciation in Florence, Italy, was the scene of an historical gift to the Church. Eighteen young women, enthusiastic members of the Missionary Association of Mary Immaculate, consecrated themselves to Mary: the first “Oblate Sisters.” Later, they would profess vows. And their name would change as well: Cooperatrici Oblate Missionarie dell Immacolata – COMI [Oblate Missionary Cooperators of the Immaculate].

They consider Fr. Gaetano LIUZZO (1911-2003) their “founding father.” It was his idea to give to young women who were working with the Oblates the possibility of living to the full the same spirituality and of sharing, as lay women, the Oblate charism.

Fr. Nicola PARRETTA, Provincial of Italy, and Andreina Gambardella, President of the Institute

There are some important dates in the COMI history: 1963 – the approval of their statutes as a Pious Union; 1987 – approval of their Constitutions by the diocese of Roma and their becoming a Secular Institute with a missionary goal; 2001 – the Decree of Pontifical Approbation.

There was recently celebration of the founding of the COMI. It included various presentations, a prayer vigil, and a morning of giving witness. Fr. Fabio CIARDI presented his book on Fr. Liuzzo. The celebration culminated with a festive Eucharist presided by the Oblate Vicar General, Fr. Paolo ARCHIATI, and concelebrated by about twenty Oblates.

The COMI have worked with the Oblates in Italy and other countries. Today, they have missions in Uruguay and Congo.