The Beautiful Lady in Siador, Spain
Devotion to Our Lady of La Salette spread throughout Spain soon after the La Salette Apparition was La Salette Shrine in Siador, Spain (Photo Copyright © BGZ)approved by the Church. This was primarily due to the faith and efforts of two people. The first person was Count Narciso Peñalver from Northeastern Spain who became Maximin’s very good friend, paid for the nine bronze statues depicting the Apparition on the Holy Mountain in France and had people translate and print thousands of copies of materials that had been published in France.
The second person was Don Florencio Sanz from Pamplona, who published a translation of a book by Canon Pièrre Rousselot, “The Truth of Apparition” in 1863. He was also in contact with Fr. Sylvan-Marie Giraud, M.S. and thereupon regularly received the newly-begun French publication, “Les Annales”, from the Holy Mountain.
The First La Salette Shrine in Spain
The Siador Shrine owes its existence to Mr. Francisco Taboada Maria Rivas, a native of nearby Santiago de Compostela. He lived in Siador and knew about the Apparition from articles by Florencio Sanz Pamplona. In 1862, Francisco Taboada María Rivas was also invited to pray a Novena to Our Lady of La Salette. Several people from Siador and a neighboring parish met despite the frigid temperature. The two men then corresponded by mail.
Read more: The Beautiful Lady in Siador, Spain
Indian La Salettes Down Under
Frs. Mathew Manjaly, Jolly C. Ayyamkolil, Joy Porathur and Sunny Poovathumkudy were the first La Salettes who came to the Diocese of Parramatta. The Parramatta Diocese is one of the fastest-growing in the western Sydney area.
Map of Penrith NSW Australia, in the Diocese of Parammatta
Our First Ministries
We began ministering in different parishes and returned home to a community house provided by the diocese in 2012. We were given a parish, St. Nicolas of Myra, in Pernith, southeastern Australia. Fr. Mathew M. Antony is parish priest and Fr. Jose Manjaly is assistant. Fr. Jolly C. Ayyamkolil is the administrator in St. Finbar’s Parish in Glenbrook which is not far from our Pernith Parish.
When Frs. Jolly and Sunny went back to India, three others arrived, Jose Manjaly, Joy Chukkananikal and Joby Kadambattuparabil. Later Fr. Jolly came back to Australia and Fr. Joy went back to India.
At present we are considering accepting the Parish in Pernith our community center for gatherings, both formal and informal. We have two La Salettes ministering in the Archdiocese of Canberra, Frs. Sijo Thekkekunnel and Jiss Kunnumpurath.
Read more: Indian La Salettes Down Under
I am one of some 850 La Salette Missionaries currently ministering in 27 countries, including the missions Fr. “Mémé” Rakotondraibe, M.S., Provincial Superior of Madagascar Provinceof Madagascar, Angola, Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil, Philippines, Myanmar, India and Haiti, bringing the message of reconciliation to the hearts and homes of people to whom we minister.
As Director of the La Salette MIssion Center in St. Louis, MO, USA, I was fortunate to visit the La Salette mission on the Island of Madagascar a few years ago. I left St. Louis, Missouri and twenty-two hours later arrived in Antananarive, the island’s capital city.
Fr. Mémé Rakotondraibe, M.S., the Provincial Superior of the La Salette Province of Madagascar, was my guide and translator throughout my trip. Among the stops on my trip was Antsirabe, located about one hundred miles from Antananarivo, which was where the La Salette Missionaries began their work in Madagascar almost a century ago.
It was an eye-opener for me. It lies in the Indian Ocean off the southwest coast of Africa. Twice the size of Arizona, it is the world's fourth-largest island and has a population of more than 22 million people. Half the country's population is Christian, and the other half practices traditional Malagasy religion. Around 92 percent live on less than $2 per day, only 6.8 percent have access to clean water, and 9.5 percent have access to consistent electricity.
Good Servants for Almost a Century
Read more: Marvellous Madagascar
A Blessed Advent and Christmas Season
The yearly Blessing of the Horses on the Holy Mountain in FranceSome people have been writing to ask me what’s happening here on the Holy Mountain of La Salette. Well, the Shrine officially closed the 2015 Pilgrimage Season on November 11th and we had a very busy year.
Various Feasts and Groups of Pilgrims
In August and September, we had some very important religious events at the Shrine: the Feast of Mary’s Assumption, August 15. It is our biggest pilgrimage. Why August 15th and not September 19th, which is the Feast of Our Lady of La Salette?
Everyone in Europe is on vacation in August and children are out of school. August 15th is much like our July 4th in the U.S. Although France is a very secularized country – much more than in the U.S. – they still keep all the religious feasts plus national holidays, the best of both worlds. André Armand Vingt-Trois, Cardinal of Paris, was here on August 15th to lead our celebration.
Read more: A Blessed Advent and Christmas Season