La Salette America
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Fr. Pat singing in concert

Over my many years as a La Salette, I have been sharing my gift of song with many people all over the world. I recently had the opportunity to visit our La Salettes in India for three and a half weeks. My original purpose was to bring my songs and my ministry to India, primarily to places where our La Salettes minister but also in other places as well.

It’s interesting to note that “…Christianity was introduced to India by St. Thomas the Apostle , who visited Muziris in Kerala in 52 CE to spread the gospel among Kerala's Jewish settlements. Although the exact origins of Christianity in India remain unclear, it is generally agreed that Christianity in India is almost as old as Christianity itself and it spread in India even before it spread to many of the predominantly Christian nations of Europe.”

I began my visit in Parakadavu, Kerala in southern India, the most Catholic of states in India. Remarkably, Kerala is 60% Catholic versus the rest of the states in India which are just 3% Catholic. I offered an evening of song and prayer at

Untitled-1.jpgOur Provincial Superior, Fr. Joe Bachand, M.S. began his recent letter with: “‘This is a historic moment.’ …We were able to feel our interdependence as members of the same Congregation.” Fr. Joe realizes full well the import of the recent meeting of the three La Salette Councils of Brazil, North America and Argentina as they met in Curitiba, Brazil, on March 21-25, 2011.

As with any worldwide religious order, leaders of the order meet every year or so to catch up the “goings on” in various parts of the congregation. However, it was the first time for the three councils of the Americas (North and South) to meet and share what is happening in their Provinces and Region, to dream of new possibilities, and to assume some common commitments – that was an important step and a truly reconciliation moment!

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Frs. Evariste, Baris, Sr. Christine, a

Sister of  Charity of Ottawa ,

Frs. Hervé and Gosselin

I went to Haiti accompanied by some of my parishioners for a week in February 2011. During our time there, we went to visit the new La Salette parish and mission in Bayonnais. This is a village about an hour north of Dessalines and east of Gonaïves. We took a shortcut around the mountains to get there. I have never seen such a terrible road. It's impossible to use this road during the rainy season because we have to cross two rivers that don't have bridges. At this time of year, the water is only about 12 inches deep so we are able to cross it.
 
Once there at St. Augustine & St. Monica's (that's the name of the new parish), we were welcomed warmly.
 
On Sunday, February 13th, the Bishop of Gonaïves celebrated Mass there, officially establishing the new parish, entrusting the pastoral care of the parish to the Missionaries of La Salette and installing Father Evariste Ralohotsy, M.S., as the first La Salette pastor. The new parish will be staffed with two La Salettes from Madagascar. The other La Salette priest is Father Hervé Rafalimanantsoa. The mission will be financially supported by the La Salettes of North America.
 
There is a large church in Bayonnais which was well built several years ago. There also existed a rectory building which unfortunately needed to be torn down because termites had eaten all the wood structural beams. We visited the new rectory which was under construction.

Untitled-1.jpgIn the midst of this violent world, the Missionaries of La Salette of Brazil on Monday, Feb. 14, 2011, took over responsibility of Taizé Center, comprising a Retreat House and a Center of Christian Formation in Alagoinhas, Bahia, Brazil.

The famous ecumenical community of Taizé in France has had a branch in Bahia, Brazil for forty years, but the four monks that work here have no strength to continue their work. When they looked for help, the Missionaries of La Salette from the Brazil Province responded. 

Various aspects of this new mission are interesting. It’s a ministry not a parish. It’s an ecumenical collaborative work since of the four monks there, only one is Catholic. Besides, the work is a collaboration between two communities of faith. And what a service in the midst of a violent world!

With the retreat house and educational programs, La Salette is creating an oasis of hope, together with the monks who will continue their style of prayer, alternating silence with simple musical refrains (which we know from their popular music CDs). Facing violence, this Taizé Center will offer a setting to find oneself with God so that many – among them many youth – can find peace and return to the upside-down world, carrying the Good News of Reconciliation.

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Fr. Thomas Leclerc, M.S.,

PhD,  Associate Professor

of Religious Studies and

Department Chair

Emmanuel President Sister Janet Eisner, SND, invited members of the college community to reflect upon the history and current state of Catholic higher education in America during the 19th annual Founders' Day celebration on Feb. 3rd. The event also included a panel discussion on the college's programs in Theology & Religious Studies and Philosophy.

Each year on Founders' Day, the Emmanuel community reflects upon the founding of the Sisters of Notre Dame by St. Julie Billiart and the founding of the college in 1919. Sponsored by the Center for Mission and Spirituality, Founders' Day is part of a weeklong celebration that includes prayer services, discussions and local community service opportunities for students, faculty and staff.

In her address titled “The Vibrant Mission of Catholic Colleges Today,” Sister Janet credited the philosophical basis for founding a Catholic college to 19th century Roman Catholic cardinal and author, John Henry Newman, beatified by Pope Benedict XVI in September 2010. Newman viewed the study of theology as essential to a liberal arts education and defined a Catholic college as “a place in which the intellect may safely range and speculate; sure to find its equal in some antagonist activity, and its judge in the tribunal of truth.”

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La Salette Missionaries, Province of Mary, Mother of the Americas

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.”