Congregation of Oblates of

Mater Orphanorum

Brief History of Mother of Orphans

Mater Orphanorum was founded on September 8, 1945, and it emerged from the heart of Father Giovanni Antonio Rocco from the Order of the Somascan Fathers. He founded it in the same spirit of his  Founder Saint Jerome Emiliani, the universal Father of the orphans and the abandoned youth.

With the approval of the Father General of the Somasca Order, Father Giovanni Ceriani of s.m. and of Cardinal Schuster, he began a Religious Family with a great spirit of charity, and with a great desire to care for the body and the salvation of the abandoned youth. Mater Orphanorum is a name attributed to the Blessed Mary and a title that contains a true program of life and love.

The "MIHI FECISTIS," which means, “YOU DID IT FOR ME” (Mt 25: 40). It is the evangelical passage of the broad charity with particular attention to the orphans and the abandoned youth, and towards all those in need. The figure of Father Rocco, gentle and decisive person, burning by a tender devotion to the Most Blessed Mary, derived from the teachings of Saint Luigi Grignon de Montfort, achieved with his Oblates, the Christian purpose of mitigating the difficulties of so many children and unfortunate people. Father Rocco and his Oblates also comfort the sick, assist the elderly and help the weak.


With confidence in the Blessed Mary, Mother of the Orphans, the institution has spread to Guatemala, El Salvador, Colombia, Cameroon, and many other places. Mother of Orphans has created shelters for children to show those in need that there is hope, even in the saddest conditions.

Mother of Orphans has always looked with a vivid intelligence of mind and a passionate heart the priorities of its territory, which are: the abandoned and needy children of Central America and Colombia, the lepers, the sick, and the dignity of women in Africa (Cameroun). Orphans and people in difficulty, especially foreigners, and the elderly in Italy. The Oblates continue to work according to the spirit of their Founder who died in Legnano on July 16 of 2003, and with the same faith in God, in the Blessed Mary, and devotion to Saint Jerome Emiliani.


“Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these, my brothers, you did it to me”

(Matthew 25:40).