The Congregation of the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette, an international religious community of priests and brothers, is founded on the Apparition of Our Lady of La Salette which occurred on Sept. 19, 1846. Two poor unsuspecting children, Maximin Giraud and Melanie Calvat, met Our Lady in a mountaintop ravine near the hamlet of La Salette. She asked these two children to “make (her) message known to all (her) people.”
Within a few years, the local Bishop founded the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette. They are
committed to minister in collaboration with laity, other religious, and local clergy to promote the message of Mary at La Salette and the ministry of reconciliation.
They are Catholic laity inspired by the Apparition of Our Lady of La Salette who want to connect themselves more closely to our Weeping Mother and the principles of spirituality contained in her message at La Salette. As Our Lady requested in her merciful apparition, these devoted people pray each day, reflect on the scripture and her message and make her message known whenever the opportunity arises.
La Salette Laity are in over twenty countries around the world and have established programs of ongoing formation, living and ministering as co-missionaries, connected with the La Salette Missionaries.
A new study from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) for the North American Conference of Associates and Religious (NACAR) reports more than 55,000 associates in 378 religious institutes, eight in ten of them in the United States, a significant increase from the 25,500 associates reported fifteen years ago in the United States.
Associates are lay people who live out a religious charism and largely connect with institutes of vowed religious in order to live out the charism together. This study builds on a previous study done in 2000 and 2002 on associates’ relationships with vowed religious and was commissioned by NACAR in recognition of its 20th anniversary.
In addition to the 378 religious institutes that responded to a survey on associate leadership, over 10,000 vowed religious and associates responded to a survey about the associate-religious relationship. Both surveys asked about current realities and future expectations.
My parents were farmers in Britanny. Since I was 14, after receiving my graduation certificate, I stayed at home to help my mother with the housework and my father working in the fields. Soon I joined the Catholic Agricultural Youth Women (JACF) Action Movement which I loved.
At the age of 25 I went off to exercise my chosen profession – rural homemaking. I married a farmer from our town and we were married for 30 years. Together we managed a farm with many different crops and livestock until my retirement in 1998.
My husband was a dynamic person, involved with youth, the Church, and very active in a local Catholic Action group. Frail and often depressed, he suffered all his life from the result of a fall from his horse when he was only seven years of age.
In 1986 his condition worsened and, from there on, I concentrated on supported our family. I did my best to continue to raise our four children – two girls and two boys. Now our daughters are married. Presently I make the time to take my turn caring for my grandchildren – five in all!
It was particularly difficult but I attribute my survival to my faith and my commitment to a group called the “Christians in Rural Areas (CMR)”. I also served as a catechist for ten years and benefited from formation in Bible studies. Our meetings supported my hope in the future.
The Spirit sent by the risen Christ continues to act, now as always, in and through the Church. To better understand today, it is good to remember the past. We recognize the action of the Spirit in the life and diversity of civilizations and their ever-changing view of life. In order to strengthen our faith, it is good for us to obtain a correct view of our history and challenge our false assumptions, especially to awaken us to our present responsibilities! (from “La Croix – L’événement (The Cross – The Event)" April 2, 1987).
Christian laity are curious to know a little of their own history. Of course, articles and books abound. Quite apart from the numerous studies that appear today, it is enough to simply begin reading passages from the Acts of the Apostles or the Pauline letters. Following the example of Christ, who was placed above any institution and any categorization, the early Christians were unaware of the present-day distinction between clergy and laity. It is found nowhere in the new Testament.
Early Christians were described in the familiar passage: "All who believed were together and had everything in common" (Acts 2:14). Whenever they spoke, it was always as a witness to the Lord Jesus. In their homes where they met to break bread in memory of the Risen Lord, all brought their memories: women and men were sharing what they had seen and heard, and which was then shaped by the Evangelists. Believers brought others to Christ. It is often reported that women converted their husbands and household; while the artisans and merchants preached the Good News wherever they went, often in foreign lands.
In Jerusalem, the Christians of Jewish origin, in order to increase their number, adopted a synagogue structure, so familiar to them, where the "elders" (in this case, presbyters), that is to say, the notables, formed a Board, including James, brother of the Lord, who was not of the twelve, actually became President, Untitled. But there were no "clergy", much less a “priestly” clergy. They saw the entire people of God as “priestly”, treasuring their unity with Christ, the sole High Priest.
Pope St. John Paul II, hailed as the Pope of the Family, created the World Meeting of Families in 1994 in Rome to explore the critical role the family plays in society and to give families opportunities to talk about the challenges and blessings that all families have.
This year’s theme is “Love Is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive”. It was inspired by the early Church Family, St. Irenaeus, who wrote “the Glory of God is (humanity) fully alive.” The glory of men and women is their capacity to love as God loves – and no better means exists to teach the meaning of love than the family. His Holiness, Pope Francis also inspired the theme. He embodies the message of mercy, joy and love at the heart of the Gospel.
We devotees of the message and mission of the Apparition of Our Lady of La Salette number in the tens of thousands across the world. Somehow the message has touched us through her ever-flowing tears, her motherly tenderness and deep compassion, and finally her choice of the two poor children to proclaim her message to all her people.
Her commission to them certainly parallels Jesus’ commission of his own disciples:
The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. When they saw (Jesus), they worshiped, but they doubted. Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Matt 28:16-20).
Since that heavenly event on the Holy Mountain of La Salette, Mary’s message continues to be announced no longer by the two children but also by the many thousands of people around the world who first hear her words and mandate and then respond by sharing it with others. These “many thousands” who share her message certainly include the sisters, brother and priests of the two La Salette Congregations but also include the many laity who have heard he call and answered it.
As people connected in some way to the event of La Salette and our Weeping Mother, we know well from her example at La Salette that we are called as reconcilers to respond compassionately to the needy as she did with the two children, Maximin and Melanie. The following are prayerful reflections titled, La Salette 2015 – Justice, Peace, Reconciliation: Let Us Respond to the Cry of the Poor.
They are offered in seven languages so that all La Salette Missionaries, and those laity connected with us, can celebrate the wisdom and challenge of our Catholic Social Teaching during this year. These materials can be used – as a whole or in part – for personal prayer or in our ministries or communities to begin meetings, prayer groups, or in gatherings for religious education.
Over the past several months since I was appointed Director of La Salette Laity for our Province, I have spent my first months meeting with all of the La Salette Laity and Associate groups and a good percentage of the leadership in our ministries. I am truly grateful for the positive response I have received. From this information our La Salette Laity and Ministry Committee has developed a plan of action for us to discuss and develop.
One of the basics in our approach is that one size does not fit all and so it is necessary to tailor each program to particulars needs and situations. At the same time we have also developed clear criteria for membership in the La Salette Laity Program in our Province. I have also talked to many people about the possible role that they can play in the growth and formation of individuals and groups in the program and have appreciated the willingness of over a dozen peo-le so far who ahve offered to help with training and various presentations.
To become a member of the La Salette Laity, a person is asked to make a commitment to three actions:
1. To reflect daily upon La Salette and our values in life using the new “31 Day Book” that we have developed;
2. Commit to learn more about La Salette through formation “sessions” based on the four La Salette topics: the message, La Salette history, spirituality and charism.
3. Commit to stewardship in your local ministry setting.
We hope to make this as inclusive a group as possible so that hundreds of individuals will choose to participate.
Even small donations help us to continue to Make Mary's message known.
Our Community: The Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette are deeply rooted in the Apparition of Our Lady of La Salette which occurred near the hamlet of La Salette in southeastern France on Sept. 19, 1846. The Missionaries were founded in 1852 by Bp. Philbert de Bruillard, Bishop of Grenoble, France, and presently serve in some 25 countries.
Our Province: The Province of Mary, Mother of the Americas, was founded in 2000AD and is one of several provinces in the congregation. The members of this Province serve mainly in the countries of Canada, the United States and the Region of Argentina/Bolivia.
Our Mission: Our La Salette ministry of reconciliation responds to the broad vision given by Mary at La Salette as well as in response to the needs of the Church. As reconcilers, we together with the laity take seriously Mary’s mandate: “You will make (Mary’s) message known to all (her) people.”