In many countries and in varied situations, we, the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette continue our efforts to spread the message of the Beautiful Lady and respond to the problems of the day and the evangelization efforts of the Church around the world.
Today our efforts continue, based on the broad vision given by Mary at La Salette as well as in response to the needs of the Church. As our mother, she was concerned for us, “her people,” and in particular for the poor and the young. Assuredly Christ, crucified and risen, takes the central place in our lives because he is the Reconciler. With Mary, we are but his humble, prayerful servants, collaborators in building his kingdom “on earth as it is in heaven.”
We fight the evils of the day which degrade human beings and can easily separate people from God. By our preaching and the various expressions of our ministry of reconciliation, we help people discover and respond to the call to follow Christ. We also assist others in listening to Jesus through their prayer, participation in the Eucharist and use of Lenten traditions to strengthen their faith.
The words of the Beautiful Lady at La Salette concerned the problems and daily concerns of her children. Our responsibility as La Salette Missionaries is to share with others the graces we ourselves have received. We simply walk in the footsteps of Mary, sharing her message of motherly concern for her people.
Official Approval of the Apparition
Bishop Philibert de Bruillard,
Bishop of Grenoble
Five years after the apparition of the Beautiful Lady to Mélanie and Maximin on Sept. 19, 1851, and after numerous consultations and a thorough, disciplined investigation, Bishop Philibert of Bruillard of Grenoble, France, judged that the Apparition at La Salette: “… bears in itself the nature of truth which the faithful may accept as indubitable and sure. We authorize the devotion to Our Lady of La Salette. We permit that it be preached so that practical and moral consequences may be drawn from this great event.”
On May 1, 1852, he had announced the construction of a sanctuary in the same area where the apparition has taken place, some 2,600 feet high, as well as the creation of a group of Diocesan Missionaries whose purposes were to greet pilgrims, preach the Word of God, and celebrate the sacraments, especially Reconciliation and the Eucharist. In the wintertime, they would travel the diocese giving mission and retreats.
Initially we worked only in the diocese of Grenoble and its surroundings. Eventually our ministry extended well beyond because we were called the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette, called to share her message with all her people.
Bp de Bruillard accepts first
La Salette vows on Sept. 19, 1851
The importance of the message of La Salette and its heavy demands to serve the countless pilgrims would soon draw the first La Salette priests to seek to establish themselves as a religious community to better continue to “the work begun by Mary” at La Salette. They made their first vows in 1858. They numbered about a dozen, based in La Salette and Grenoble, then in Vienne (Isère).
In 1876, Bishop Fava, a missionary bishop appointed to Grenoble, established the constitutions, accepted completely by the fledgling community. At the proposal of Pope Leo XIII, these would be presented to the Vatican officials and ratified. An apostolic school was bagun. Our missionary congregation was arriving at maturity. The mission to Norway was entrusted to us for ten years. Our numbers increased.
Before the end of the century we were serving in Switzerland, Poland, Italy, the United States, as well as in western Canada and Madagascar.
Formed of priests and brothers, ours is a religious apostolic community dedicated to the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-20). The Holy See has established us as a Pontifical clerical religious institute.
The La Salette Cross
with hammer and pincers
Our La Salette reminds us: “… we resolve, in the light of the Apparition of Our Lady of La Salette, to be devoted servants of Christ and of the Church for the fulfillment of the mystery of reconciliation. Faithful to our origins we profess a deep love for Mary, Mother of Christ and of the Church. In our apostolate we follow the example of the handmaid of the Lord who was made reconciler particularly at the foot of the cross. We emphasize the profoundly evangelical values of prayer, penance and zeal contained in the message of Our Lady of La Salette which calls us to conversion. We strive to live them ourselves so that, by the witness of our lives as well as by our words, hearts may be opened to the Good News which it is our mission to make known to all. Christ is the rule of our life. (Constitutions, 4-7)
Today, more than 1,000 missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette are working on many continents: in Eastern and Western Europe (France, Italy, Poland, Spain and Switzerland), the Americas (U.S., Haiti, Bolivia, Argentina and Brazil), Africa (Angola, Namibia and Madagascar), Asia (Philippines, India and Myanmar) and Australia. Our ministry situations vary and our response to our people is adjusted according to the needs and situations of the Church in each part of the world.
We are all personally involved in ongoing education concerning our religious life and ministry and we are always open to new approaches to serve God’s people. Also our constant involvement in diocesan-connected ministries benefits ourselves as well as the church at large. We serve the church well and in many different ways bring our charism of reconciliation to all we meet.
(originally published in the La Salette publication from the Holy Mountain in France,
Les Annales, Jan-Feb, 2011, pgs. 18-19)