La Salette Worldwide
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Their school teacher reviews
lessons with two of her students

While in Morondava, Madagascar several years ago, I often went to spend time at the Handicap Center, known as “The Beautiful Gate.” This name was taken from the quote in the Acts of the Apostles: “And a man crippled from birth was carried and placed at the gate of the temple called ‘the Beautiful Gate’ every day to beg for alms from the people who entered the temple” (Acts 3:2).

This ministerial outreach to those physically challenged began in 1982. At first the children had to go up to the high plateau – some two days travel in the back of a Land Rover. But today there are doctors and orthopedic therapists who work with them near their homes on the coast and are thereby able to reach out to cities, towns and villages in a radius of some 100 miles. A few hundred children have been helped.

In 2000 this outreach was expanded to reach the lives of the mentally challenged. Today these alone now number over 30. Some can still advance in specialized classes geared to their needs. We bought them a television and VHS player long before there was live television in the city. They could watch and study while viewing specialized video programs.

Untitled-1Editor: This is a happy incident in the life of a Burma Missionary, Fr. Edward O’Sullivan, M.S. His story was originally published on February, 1947, in our publication, Our Lady’s Missionary, pages 58-59. Unfortunately four years later, he was seriously injured in an automobile accident and died on Nov. 22, 1951. His absolute dedication to his people is typical of our La Salette Missionaries.

The simple history of Nga Fu is one of the most consoling incidents of my stay in Chaungtha, or Pleasant Creek, a village in the Arakan region of southwestern Burma. One of our standbys, a veritable pillar of the Church in that little Chin village, was U Shway U (Old Golden Egg). He was especially good at caring for the sick and preparing the dying for a happy death. Besides, he was father to all our orphans and to the children from the jungle who were boarded in Pleasant Creek at the expense of the mission in order that they might get their schooling and catechism.

God had blessed him with three brothers, U Shway Tu, U Shway Bu, and Nga Fu; or, to give the English equivalents, Old Golden Shovel, Old Golden Pot, and Mr. Hot. The last mentioned was a Baptist whose conversion had long been prayed for.

 

A Brother in Need

We live in an age which constantly sweeps us up in a sea of change. This has influenced each of us and

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Fr. Adilson Schio, M.S.

has even affected the Church herself as she reinterprets some of her own ways of thinking. However we may still find it difficult to understand the implications of these changes.

My native country of Brazil is one of wide diversity: our mix of cultures, religious expressions, our economic outlook, our ecological and political principles are certainly not univocal. In the midst of this wonderful diversity, this coat of many colors, we find frequent opportunities to respond to these changes by living out the challenge of our La Salette charism of reconciliation. We are convinced that there will be no true fullness of life without accepting the challenge of a mission of reconciliation. Our mission always promotes harmony and justice among people.

 

Becoming at Home with Constant Change

Change is no longer as scary as it was in years past. In fact it is an invitation to greater possibilities. The reality of ongoing change invites us to grow into better, more critical and prophetic missionaries in today’s world.

Reconciliation, understood as prophecy (speaking the truth), and expressed in the pastoral care and various apostolates in our mission in Brazil, is one of the foundations of fundamental importance for our ministry. We try to make of it a new cycle of life for our consecration and mission.

In Brazil we are a missionary group of seventy religious men who explore our charism of reconciliation in all that we do. We seek to make it our pastoral and spiritual strength. Reconciliation is a real need and we will only be able to build it if we make of it an effective, real life experience.

 

An Important Meeting in Aparecida, Brazil

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Fr. Jarek Boruçki, M.S.

My name is Fr. Jarek Borucki, La Salette Missionary and native of Poland. We as La Salettes have been called to serve in the nearby Czech Republic which is recovering slowly from several centuries of turbulent history. Since 1996, we have established four La Salette houses in parishes near the north central border area of the Czech Republic.

Committed to parish pastoral ministry, we operate in this country in small groups of La Salettes. Surprisingly and fortunately the apparition of Our Lady of La Salette is well known in the Czech Republic. We have no doubt that we have an important role to play in promoting the spirituality of reconciliation. Yet, in all honesty, it must be said that in 1968, our home country of Poland assumed a shameful role in the suppression of the Prague Spring! But now, even as Polish religious, we seem to be a little better accepted.

In the Czech Republic, because of the long history of persecution of the Catholic Church, the number of Czech practicing Catholics are few. The communities are therefore in great need of priests to renew their faith and lead them. In fact, many Catholic parishes had remained underground for several decades due to the Communist government.

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Front entrance of La Salette
Shrine Church with Stations
lining the steps on both sides

When we think back to the very humble beginnings of the La Salette Apparition in 1846 and its great expansion over the next century and a half or more, we don’t expect that those who visited the Holy Mountain – and there were thousands of pilgrims each year – would, in turn, bring the La Salette devotion, in accordance with Mary’s wishes, to “all her people.” Yet this is true; many pilgrims spread the message and devotion to the Weeping Mother of La Salette.

 

Many years ago…

An example of this is the early establishment of a small La Salette Shrine in the hill country of Kodaikanal, in the state of Tamil Nadu in southern India, east of Karala. It has been home to the Shrine of Our lady of La Salette (here spelled “La Saleth”) for over 150 years.

The shrine is situated on a mountain which is 7,000 feet above the sea level. It gives an panoramic view of the neighboring mountains. The La Salette Shrine was the first Catholic church in Kodaikanal and was funded by a generous donation of a Belgian woman who wanted to thank Our Lady of La Salette for the cure of her daughter.

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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.”