Fr. Simon Forestier,
First of all, I would like to advise all those who may read this not to look for a very detailed account; so brief and summarized is the story that many items of interest just have to remain unmentioned.
In The Beginning
After the Chapter of 1920, Fr. Pierre Pajot, M.S., the new Superior General, with very good reason, took an interest in the expansion of the Congregation in North America. He himself had been one of the founders of this missionary undertaking some thirty years earlier. At that time the Missionaries of La Salette were predominantly French-speaking and Fr. Simon Forestier, M.S., Regional Delegate of the United States and Canada, had tried and failed to obtain satisfactory admittance to any of the dioceses of the Province of Quebec. Understandably, he looked south to Louisiana.
Confirmation at Vinton, LA in 1936; (l to r):
Fr. Rosset, M.S., Bp. Jeanmard, Fr. Veillard, M.S.,
Fr. J. Shahrigian, M.S.
In 1918 all of southwest Louisiana was made a diocese with the young and energetic Bp. Jules B. Jeanmard as the first Bishop of Lafayette. He was a real Cajun, native of Breaux Bridge, and knew and loved that vast area of marsh, farm and forest. When he came to his new assignment, he brought with him only one native priest; all the others were either from Europe or Canada. Distances were great and the roads were few and far between, so he graciously accepted the offer of Fr. Forestier to establish the Congregation in the Lafayette Diocese.
At the turn of the century, Sulphur, LA was a cow town of mostly cheap wooden houses and a population of 1,500— 2,000 soul located about twelve miles west of the Calcasieu River. Sulphur was linked to the outside world by a few dusty roads and the mainline of the Southern Pacific Railroad. Its very existence was due to a few rice farmers and the Union Sulphur Company.