La Salette Laity Movement in Brazil

Three Leaders of Brazilian La Salette Laity,
attending the 2011 La Salette International
Lay Encounter in France

Several years ago, in November of 2008, the participants in the International Encounter of La Salette Missionaries in Brazil met at the La Salette Institute in Curitiba, Brazil. These included Brazilian La Salette Laity who explained and discussed their desired involvement in La Salette ministry in the spirit of Our Lady of La Salette.


Who are the La Salette Laity in Brazil?

Since 2003, according to their agreement with the members of the La Salette Province in Brazil, laity have developed their group of La Salette Laity, including their charter with the Province, and have published a booklet of principles of La Salette spirituality and a common La Salette hymn. A member of the La Salette Laity said: "We want to be a missionary movement involved in concrete action for solidarity, reconciliation and peace. And we desire to be an arm of (or connected to) the La Salette Province in Brazil.

"Our present ministry is most often related to the La Salette MIssionaries by sharing in giving Shrine or Parish Missions (retreats). The La Salette Laity have felt the need to organize themselves together and be, as Catholic laity, a vibrant part of the La Salette Family and their common mission of reconciliation.


Fr. Adilson Schio, M.S., then the Brazilian Provincial, said: "This movement is born from a long journey as a province. It will certainly give an important witness and visibility to us as religious. We see this as a big step in our common efforts at collaboration between priests and laity in expanding our shared ministry of reconciliation."


How have the laity evolved their movement?

Originally, the La Salette Missionaries desired to offer training in La Salette Spirituality to all the laity who work with them. "The members of the province wanted to infuse the spirit of reconciliation into all our ministries and activities," said Fr. Adilson Schio, M.S. We actively welcome our laity to participate in the training, which includes five weekends of training for one, two or five years.

Gathering of La Salette Laity from
Brazil for educational session

Our friends – the La Salette Laity – have become gradually, not just helpers, but our true partners in ministry. A layperson added: "In this education process, we have deepened our faith. Our theological studies have allowed us to understand the important principles of the Second Vatican Council and the proper role of the laity in the life of the Church. We have gained confidence in ourselves, and have felt a strong desire to build our movement of La Salette Laity. Although all our members are not involved in actual La Salette ministry, we all maintain a connection with various La Salette ministries. The leaders of our lay movement visit our many groups and all our members participate in our education sessions and meetings.

He added: “This is a very personal commitment, sometimes necessarily negotiated with our own personal family members so they can share in our own enthusiasm for service to the Church and our involvement in the charism of reconciliation. A basic principle from our own booklet is so important for us to keep in mind: "Remember that you are part of a large La Salette family" (Principles Booklet, No. 14).


How many groups of La Salette Laity do you presently have?

In the south of Brazil, we have 43 members, divided into 7 groups; in the Southeast we have 41 members, divided into 7 groups. Further north we have 15 more members.


What have you asked of the members of the La Salette Province in Brazil?

La Salette statue in La Salette Church in Brazil

During the La Salette Provincial Chapter of 2008, the La Salette Laity proposed four postulata (or statements) for decision by the La Salette Missionaries of Brazil, which were warmly accepted:

1) We do not want to walk alone, but we want to accompany you in your La Salette Province ministry.

2) We want to have a celebration for the fifth anniversary of our movement in March of 2009.

3) We want to continue our close relationship with the La Salette Provincial and his two Councilors.

4) We want to participate in La Salette meetings as a lay presence.