La Salette Worldwide
Editor: This is a letter from several young La Salette Missionaries explaining their special program given to them in September of 2015 on the Holy Mountain.

Greetings from the Holy Mountain of La Salette!

Untitled-1The La Salette Junior Religious
Group of September, 2015
The special program for the JRMS (Junior/Young La Salette Religious) 2015 began on September 5, 2015. We were sixteen young La Salette priests (14) and brothers (2) coming from the different parts of the globe participating in this program.

Within these two weeks, we have reflected, shared and deepened our La Salette spirituality, charism and ministry. We were very excited and inspired to explore our roots and to reflect on how our Weeping Mother has truly inspired us here and continues to do so daily.

The sharing, witnessing and reflections of the other La Salette members surely have helped us all to be more encouraged to live out and be witnesses to the La Salette message. All our learning sessions, group reflections and group sharing have inspired us to be instruments of this Reconciliation in our own Provinces, Regions and Districts.

We are all hopeful that this will continue to unite us as brothers and as members of one international religious family. The topics we discussed included: our Religious Congregation, our Ministry and Charism, our Community Life, the La Salette Rule as well as the qualities mercy and conversion as seen in the La Salette Event.

Untitled-1Present-day Church in La Banda: façade (left) and
La Salette Shrine in their Church sanctuary (right)
Editor: In the Winter 1975-76 Mission Newsletter, Fr. Jack Toner, M.S., Procurator for our La Salette Missions, reported on the beginning of our ministry in La Banda, Argentina – now celebrating its 40th anniversary as a La Salette Mission. We share with you the excitement and challenge of his report, including the comments of Fr. Roland Nadeau. M.S., ministering in Argentina at that time.


Providentially, increasing numbers of missionaries to Argentina in recent years have enabled us to meet the responsibilities already accepted, and so it was decided at a meeting of the missionary personnel in Argentina, earlier in the current year, that our efforts be expanded, and specifically in an area that would be very poor, disorganized, and largely or completely lacking in priests.

I am a La Salette Associate, connected with the large group of Associates at the La Salette National Shrine in Attleboro, MA. I am a native of Costa Rica, with many family members still living there.

 

La Salette in a Small Chapel

 

Untitled-1The statue of the Weeping MotherThree years ago in a return visit, I decided to bring the image of Our Lady of La Salette, a large statue of the Weeping Mother, to place in a local chapel near my sister’s house in Costa Rica. It was my gift to the local Catholics. On the day of the blessing, I was invited to speak at the conclusion of Mass and provide some information about La Salette in Spanish for the congregation. Three years later I received the inspiration to provide even more details about the history and message of La Salette to that Costa Rican community.

One of the first steps in my recent journey back home came from a discussion with my sister. She works in a High School in Costa Rica. She had spoken with a School Religious Educator who heard that I was going to give a presentation during my upcoming visit in May to a small prayer group. She asked if she could also have an image of Our Lady of La Salette to use in their school. For the entire month of May, the students reflected on the Apparition of Mary at La Salette and they placed a La Salette poster in the school as part of a display.

 

Making La Salette Known to Several Groups

 

On May 18, I was invited to a small church where local Catholics gather every Monday to pray. They invite different speakers almost every week. After they had joined in singing, praising God and praying the rosary, I was given the opportunity to speak to them about the La Salette Apparition.

Summertime for many people is vacation time but here on the Mountain of La Salette in France this is our high season. It is an absolutely beautiful, peaceful place unless you minister to our pilgrims and many vacationing visitors. Most of the time I feel like I’m leading the life of a busy Martha in the gospel of Luke:

 

Untitled-1The stunningly beautiful Mountain panorama surrounding the La Salette Shrine on the Holy Mountain in FranceAs (Jesus and his disciples) continued their journey he entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary [who] sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.”

The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)

 

In this gospel lesson I hear that there are some who are called to be “Marthas” and some who are called to be “Marys”. Of course, I am busy being Martha most of my day.

 

Busy About Many Things

 

For example, each day, there is an average of 350 pilgrims sleeping here plus 150 staff and volunteers. That’s a lot of people to feed! The responsibility of the religious programs for the pilgrims is the Rector’s, Fr. Manuel dos Reis Bonfim, M.S. He is from Brazil and has been at the Shrine for three years now.

Untitled-1Fr. Philip Aung, M.S., presently Regional Superior of the Myanmar Mission.Fr. Philip Aung, MS, was born in the northern part of Burma (now Myanmar) in 1973. La Salette was well known in the country because of the work of the La Salette Missionaries which began in 1937. After finishing high school in 1991, Philip wanted to become a priest and learned about La Salette from a lay catechist. A nearby parish priest helped him discern his La Salette vocation.

 

Once in contact with Fr. Bernie U Mya Thein, MS – the only Myanmar La Salette at that time – he left home. Accompanied by the parish priest who had helped him in his vocational discernment, he traveled about half way across the country to Prome where there was still a very strong La Salette atmosphere. Here he waited two years to get his passport and visa.

 

In 1993 he journeyed to the Philippines for studies. Years of academic study followed. In May, 2004, Fr. Philip was ordained a priest. He tells us of how the present-day La Salettes came to be established at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in Chantagone, Mandalay.

 

Efforts to Reestablish La Salette in Myanmar

 

Fr. Philip writes:


In the summer of 2004, I was traveling to the north of Burma to say my First Mass of Thanksgiving in my hometown. I passed through Mandalay City and a friend of mine unexpectedly brought me to visit a Marian Shrine which is about 15 miles outside the city. I never thought it would become a place where we would begin our mission.

 

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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.”