La Salette Worldwide


Fr. Louis-Ernest
Razakarisoa, M.S.

My name is Fr. Louis-Ernest Razakarisoa, MS. I am from the central high plateau region of Madagascar, just a few miles from where the first La Salette Missionaries came to minister in 1899. I lived in the small village of Sarobaratra (“where there is much lighting”). We were 10 children – two girls and eight boys – and all are still living. I was the sixth, born in 1957. My father had been the teacher in the elementary school of our village. The salary was insufficient to feed all of his children so he stopped teaching and became a farmer – cultivating mostly rice, corn, cassava and various vegetables – so we all could be nourished.

At five I began my studies in the village school where my father had taught. There were only six grades. If I stayed there my schooling would soon have been over. In the family we prayed together almost every night, and through those prayers I learned about Our Lady of La Salette. So at age 13 I left the village and entered the La Salette seminary to continue my studies. Not all my time was spent with my nose in the books. I loved to play football – called soccer here in America. Although not an excellent player, I was pretty good.


This former restaurant will
become the home of future
La Salette students in Myanmar.

Probably because it is so near to their heart, the first decision the district of Myanmar made concerned the establishment of a formation house where prospective vocations could be shelved. Here, under the direction of Fr. Lucas Suan Za Lian, MS, named to head the animation of the La Salette Volunteers and the formation of Aspirants, the young men who have expressed a desire to become Missionaries of La Salette would have a chance to learn first-hand about the life and vocation of La Salettes. Here they would pray and study, live in community and form a bond that would fashion them into La Salette Religious bringing a reconciling message to a country so in need of it. This was the beginning of a new adventure for our Myanmar La Salettes. Although few in number, they have already accepted a variety of ministries, both in the diocese of Mandalay and on a national scale.

indian1.jpgThe discipline of patience and hard work reveals itself not only in the way we live our community life as La Salettes but also in the way we act toward one another. Our actions, like our common life, must always be a manifestation of God's compassionate presence in the midst of our world. Patient, wise and prudent decisions are actions through which the healing, consoling, comforting, reconciling and unifying love of God can touch the heart of the community at large.

La Salette Vidhya Nikethan is one such wise decision of La Salette Matha Province. This is an elementary school in Mardur Village in the State of Karnataka (South India). You may ask what is so special about an elementary school? Is it extraordinary in any way? The answer is “yes, indeed”.

Fr. Valentine receives the
chalice during the Ordination Rite

In his manuscript entitled A Short History of the La Salette Missionaries in Myanmar (Burma) and the Diocese of Pyay (Prome), Fr. William (“Doc”) Doherty, M.S., notes that it was on November 9, 1937 that the first five American La Salette Missionaries—34 year-old Fr. Thomas Newman, later to become the first Bishop of the diocese of Prome, known today as Pyay; 27 year old Fr. Edward O'Sullivan; 28 year old Fr. Wienczyslaw Weselak; 32 year old Fr. Joseph (“Phil”) Gardner; and 31 year old Fr. Joseph LaBonte—set foot in the newly assigned mission in Burma.

The isolated, crescent-shaped Arakan district of Burma, measuring 300 miles by 60 miles, seemed to have very little potential for growth. Scattered among a population of one million staunch Buddhist were a scant 750 Catholics in four principal villages. Their work was cut out for them.


Happy Memories of World Youth Day 2008 in Australia
From my vantage point, the most important and invigorating event that took place in the Australian Catholic Church in 2008 was the world youth day event which was held in Sydney from July 15-21.
World Youth Day was established by Pope John Paul II in 1986 as a regular event to reach out to the youth of the world. He was inspired by the massive gathering of young people in Rome celebrating the Youth Jubilee in 1984 and the United Nations International Year of Youth in 1985. He wanted to bring together young Catholics from around the globe to celebrate and learn about their faith on a more regular basis.
The first World Youth Day was held in Rome in 1986 on Palm Sunday. Every two to three years World Youth Day is taken to an international host city. In 2008 the World Youth Day celebration was an eye-opener for secular cultured Australia.

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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.”