Memories and Hopes

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Signs and La Salette Provincial
House in Curitiba, Brazil

I am honored to offer a few thoughts and reflections on the April, 2013 visit of our Provincial Administration to Curitiba, Brazil at the invitation of our La Salette confreres serving in South America. Their ministry and dedication deserve a chapter all its own. Here are some fond memories filled with enthusiasm and hope.

The hospitality was inherently Saletine. The fraternity was exceptional. The dialogue was creative. The prayer was memorable. The proposals were promising. The collaboration was bonding. These statements collectively capture the spirit and the optimism of the Second Council of the Americas, the joint sessions of the La Salette Provinces of Brazil and North America, joining with the Region of Argentina/Bolivia. The sessions took place in the beautiful cosmopolitan city of Curitiba, Brazil in April.

 

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La Salette Councils of North and
South American with La Salette Laity

We gathered at the La Salette Retreat Center and Provincial Residence of our confreres of the Province of Immaculate Conception along with invited representatives of the La Salette Laity of Brazil and the La Salette Family of Argentina/Bolivia. These collective dialogues originated at the invitation of our South American confreres at the first Council of the Americas which took place in 2011. A second conference came to fruition in response to the worldwide La Salette General Chapter’s “Decision 7, La Salette Laity” last April 2012:

The General Chapter asks the General Council (worldwide Missionaries of La Salette) to motivate the Provinces and Regions to accompany and promote activities with the goal of working together with the La Salette Laity in light of the recommendations of the First Encounter of La Salette Laity in France in 2011.

Our sessions and dialogue lasted only three full days but we became close friends and collaborative partners from the outset. We began with the beautiful process of “faith sharing” followed by the “telling of our stories” and listening to one another’s life commitments, ministries, hopes, and visions. The common bond was our love for the event of La Salette and Our Lady’s merciful apparition and commission to “make this message known to all my people.”

Cidade de Curitiba - Brazil by Augusto Janiski Junior - Flickr - AUGUSTO JANISKI JUNIOR 5
View of Curitiba, Brazil, from Barigui Park
which offers outdoor exercise equipment,
cycling paths, barbecue grills, sports fields,
and an Exhibit Park and Convention Center

We learned of the depth and dynamism of the La Salette Laity (also referred to as the La Salette Family and the La Salette Associates), of their history and structure, their formation and witness, their friendship and commitment within each province (Brazil and North America) and region (Argentina/Bolivia). We pledged to commit ourselves to continue the communications, dialogue, prayer, and especially the encounters with one another in our respective apostolates and annual assemblies. These will take place in North America in October (2013), Argentina in mid-January (2014), and Brazil in late January (2014). Together with our La Salette Laity of the Americas we also committed ourselves to a future Council of the Americas (our third international gathering) to take place in Houston, Texas in 2015.

Four separate sets of working proposals defined our common presence and strengthened our future promise to continue our collaboration together, to learn from one another, and to pray for all our La Salette communities of religious, and laity. During the week of Oct. 21-26, 2013 in Orlando, Florida the witness of our unity and commitment to work together will take place at the North American Province’s Assembly and the Second La Salette Lay Summit in Orlando, Florida.

In addition, the Province of Mary, Mother of the Americas will welcome five international guests from the worldwide La Salette Missionaries and Laity, along with five observers from our province apostolates and our Associates. We see this as another step in our continuing journey, led by the Holy Spirit, and guided by our common mission given by the Beautiful Lady at La Salette to proclaim the Gospel and to make her message well known to all God’s people.

 

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Blessed Trinity Church, Orlando, FL, one of the parishes
involved in hosting the Second La Salette Lay Summit in October, 2013