Philippine Beginnings

Symbol for the La Salette
Missionaries in the Philippines
Fr. Conrad Blanchet, M.S., Superior General,
kneels before Pope Paul VI

There was a La Salette presence – although an unwilling one – in the Philippines before the Congregation decided to accept a mission there. Three Missionaries en route to Burma in 1940 were forced info Japanese concentration camps outside Manila. One of them, Fr. Fred Julien, M.S., had made a promise that if he got out alive he would return to dedicate a shrine to Our Blessed Mother. Future events facilitated his keeping that promise.

In 1948 the American La Salette Province of Immaculate Heart of Mary, based in Attleboro, M.A., accepted the invitation to open a Filipino mission in the war-torn area of lsabela – war-torn not only as the after effect of World War II, but also because Communist rebels roamed the mountains. Most people still carried guns when they left home.

Four La Salettes – three priests and one brother, under the leadership of Fr. Conrad Blanchet, M.S., who was later to become the 10th Superior General of the Congregation, sailed to Manila and later traveled north to Santiago, Isabela.

Read more: Philippine Beginnings

Are Dogs Man’s Best Friend?

Romulus and Remus nursed by the
she-wolf is a symbol of Roman culture

Anyone with intercultural experience will recognize how any single event will most likely be understood differently from one culture to another. Anyone who has ever been to Rome is familiar with the famous old legend of how a she-wolf nursed and saved the lives of two boys, Remus and Romulus, who would eventually be the founders of the city of Rome and its extensive culture.

To this very day Romans honor this tradition and everywhere in Rome you nursed by the she-wolf is a find statues of the she-wolf feeding those boys. It is a symbol for the city.

That was centuries before the Christian era. Bishop Donald Pelletier, M.S., now retired Bishop of Morondava, Madagascar, writes about how a similar event was viewed in Madagascar:

“Today, twenty centuries into the Christian era, there are still ethnic groups on the eastern coast of Madagascar who have a cultural hatred and aversion, not to wolves because there are none on the island, but to other canines — dogs. Dating back centuries this hatred continues to enslave

Read more: Are Dogs Man’s Best Friend?

A Sad 60th Anniversary

Unforgettable Moments After 60 Years

A piece of aircraft debris was placed
in front of the altar for Mass.

It was November 13, 1950, a day of turbulent weather in the Alps of southeastern France. A DC4 airplane was flying from Rome on its final destination to Montreal, Canada, bringing home pilgrims who had travelled to attend the Beatification Ceremony of Marguerite Bourgeoys by Pope Pius XII. However the plane, flying near the mountain of La Salette, crashed on a nearby peak, Mount Obiou. All persons on the plane were lost.

Sixty years later, a special memorial project was organized by Eric Boef and depicts the Virgin of La Salette and the two children. However, the statues were fashioned from the actual debris of the aircraft that had remained on Mount Obiou. The artist, Kamel Hattab, who designed the monument, had used only the remnants of the aircraft, retrieved from that Alpine peak. Students from the grammar school at Bains (Vosges) made the mounting.

Read more: A Sad 60th Anniversary

A Visit to Myanmar

Untitled-1.jpgI’ve known Fr. Bernard Taylor, a Burmese and Missionary of Our Lady of La Salette. Fr. Bernie invited me to get to know his country of Myanmar. That is exactly what I did several years ago.

My Travel Journal

On January 25th I landed at the airport in Yangon (previously Rangoon). Our colleague, Fr. Jerome Eiphan, M.S., was expecting me. But, to my surprise and joy, Carolus, a Burmese priest, who had made several visits to La Salette to assist in serving the pilgrims, was also there! Carolus was filled with the message of the Beautiful Lady to whom he knew his people of Myanmar were drawn. In an Asia marked by the major non-Christian religions, it was important, he told me, that Mary showed herself at La Salette as the Virgin of spoiled crops, and a true conversion which would offer an answer to great famine and the death of small children. And, lo, I behold I had found once again my brother priest welcoming me to his far-away "field of Coin.”

A Marvelous Change of Scenery

Read more: A Visit to Myanmar

Madagascar’s New Mission

Bishop Donald inside the Church teaching
children to make the Sign of the Cross

John F. Kennedy said in his January 1961 inaugural address these rousing words: “We choose to go... not because [it is] easy, but because [it is] hard, because that goal will serve to measure and organize the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.”

Why do we climb mountains? Because they are there. Why do we take up our cross and follow Jesus? Because he has asked this of us. Why have two members of the La Salettes from Madagascar gone very much out of their way to serve the people of Haiti? Because Our Lady said to make her message known to all her people – including the struggling people of Haiti.

Read more: Madagascar’s New Mission

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