La Salette in Louisiana


Fr. Simon Forestier,

M.S. (1875-1950)

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.

Southwest Louisiana

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.

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Bishop Donald and Haiti


Bishop Donald Pelletier, M.S.,

Bishop  Emeritus of Morandava,


At the end of his extended stay in the states was approaching, Bishop Donald Pelletier added another adventure to his already wide repertoire of experiences. When I met him at the airport upon his return, his first description of the situation in Port-au-Prince – remember that it had been more than a year since the earthquake – was very short: “It was like walking into hell! So much destruction, so little cleanup accomplished!” Yet his overall impression was positive. Bishop Donald described it in this way:

“Despite the element of fear, pain, anxiety, risk and uncertainty involved in venturing into an unknown, foreign – and in this case troubled – territory, a new mission is always challenging and exciting. For us La Salettes, this new joint mission venture – Madagascar and USA – is no exception to that rule. I was, therefore, happy to be able to visit our Missionaries who had been sent to bring the light and hope of our La Salette charism and vision to one of the poorest countries on the globe – Haiti.

My first concern in going there was to see and encourage those young men who had enthusiastically departed from their homeland to minister in this mission field newly confided to our pastoral care. Both Frs. Evariste and Hervé, originally from Madagascar, are doing well and able to converse and celebrate the Sacraments in the Haitian Creole language.

Read more: Bishop Donald and Haiti

La Salette in Martinique

View of the ocean as a backdrop behind
tower of St. Ann’s Church, Martinique
Town square in front of Sat. Ann’s Church

Once again it's the people who come to La Salette. Indeed in the Fall the Shrine had the joy of welcoming a warm and enthusiastic group of pilgrims came who came from the Parish of St. Ann’s on the Island of Martinique, accompanied by Fr. Jacek, their parish priest. The Beautiful Lady of La Salette has been present at St. Ann’s since 1867. A statue had been erected on their church grounds.

In 1869, Pius IX wished to celebrate the First Vatican Council (1868-1870) with a jubilee. The parish priest from St. Ann’s wished to mark this jubilee with the erection of a large cross at Gros-Morne (“little mountain”), overlooking the city.

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Cape Parish’s 50th

Bp. George Coleman with Fr. Bernie Baris, M.S.,
Pastor, and Fr. John Dolan, M.S., Pastoral
Assistant after 50th Anniversary Mass

BREWSTER - It was a half-century ago that Bishop James L. Connolly decided to establish a new parish on Cape Cod to serve the towns of Brewster, Dennis and Harwich north of the mid- Cape highway, better known as Route 6. Originally based out of the Immaculate Conception Chapel on Main Street, the new Our Lady of the Cape Parish was established on April 19, 1961 and entrusted to the care of the Missionaries of La Salette.

To commemorate the parish's golden anniversary. Bishop George W. Coleman celebrated a special Mass at 11:30 a.m. on May 15, which was followed by a reception in the parish center.

According to Father Bernard Baris, M.S., who has been pastor at Our Lady of the Cape for the past 13 years, a parish is not a collection of beautiful buildings; as such, the anniversary is more a celebration of the dedicated and devoted people of the parish.

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Stanstead, Quebec: American Novitiate 1902-1916

The old Sacred Heart Rectory,
now a private home

The only remaining building in Stanstead, Quebec, to have witnessed the presence of the La Salette Missionaries is the old Sacred Heart rectory, now a private home. The rest of the town burned down... an event that precipitated our departure.

The La Salette message is indeed a message heard 'round the world. Sometimes the message was made known through the devotion of the laity and often we, as religious, speak the message to her needy children.

Buried in the history of our community is the little-known ministry we had in a small town across the United States border from Derby Line, Vermont in Stanstead, Quebec. While there has not been any official La Salette ministry there in over three-quarters of a century, there is evidence that the devotion to the Beautiful Lady is still alive and well.

Read more: Stanstead, Quebec: American Novitiate 1902-1916

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