La Salette Worldwide

Untitled-1Marriages in India are culturally and regionally diverse. A South Indian marriage is a simple and sober day-long event. In contrast, a North Indian marriage can be a rambunctious and lively event, lasting anywhere from two to seven days.

I am a native of Southern India – a State called Kerala, which means “the land of coconuts.” Because of its tropical beauty and 100% literacy rate, it is also called “God’s own country.”

In South India the wedding date is fixed almost at the drop of a hat. No dating and no courting! No telephone calls or no online chats before marriage! Surprise! Surprise! Surprise! One of my cousins, who is planning to get married, is a registered nurse and has obtained a green card for United States. She plans to leave for Florida in as few months and so she wanted to get married before her departure for the U.S. This opened the door for proposals from young men who are seeking a wife.

Marriage is truly a Family Affair

Each year we invite missionaries from various countries where we serve to be part of our preaching team in North America to ask support for our many La Salette Missions around the world. They share with many parishes here in North America their own missionary experiences – the way the Gospel is preached, understood and lived in a variety of cultures.

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Fr. Eugene Flores, M.S.

Several years ago we were pleased to have with us Fr. Eugene Flores, M.S., from the Philippines. Ordained in 2004, this was his first foray into another culture. He fared very well and was able to see a good portion of the U.S. while driving to his assignments. He is very likable and had no difficulty staying in a parish near Buffalo, NY, for a week to replace the vacationing pastor. The people loved him.

I believe one of the things that helped him feel at home very quickly was the fact that he was staying with Fr. Richard Lavoie, M.S., who was a missioner in the Philippines as a young priest. So they were able to share stories of places and adventures, also taking time to cook and enjoy eating some Filipino dishes. Fr. Gene has returned home now. Before leaving he wrote these words of appreciation:

“I am one of the fruits of your missionary labor in the Philippines.” That is what I said to Fr. Dick Lavoie, M.S., after realizing that he worked in the northern part of the Philippines in the early years of the La Salette Missionary presence in my homeland.

“For the last three years I have been working as Coordinator of the Vocation Promotion and Recruitment Program for the Filipino Province. Most of our seminarians are alumni of our La Salette School system in Isabela that was put in place by the first La Salette Missionaries who came here. I am confident that our continued presence in those elementary and high schools – as well as the University of La Salette – will be a source of grace for our Congregation and the Church.

Untitled-1Editor: This is a republication of an article originally written in 1991, but which explains well the continuing efforts and challenges of our La Salettes ministering in Angola. In May, 2013, the La Salettes in Angola finally became a Province, a separate but connected part of the La Salette Mission worldwide. Their country has survived the long war and is working toward true peace.

The La Salette mission in Angola was begun by two La Salette Missionaries from Switzerland in 1946. Today, half the La Salettes there are Swiss and half native Angolans.

A Portuguese Colony

Angola was already a region of Africa occupied by the Portuguese at the time these same discovered Brazil. From Angola, they sent many slaves to Brazil. After World War II, the majority of the African Countries gained there independence, but the Portuguese resisted this trend, keeping their colonies until 1975.

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Pilgrims in Paraguay
make their way to
a local Marian Shrine
At the end of April, 2013, for the community of Brazilian immigrants living in Paraguay, it is time to pray and receive the blessings of Our Lady of La Salette. After a record harvest was experienced in the region, the people felt that the best thing to do was to thank Our Lady of La Salette, seen by Brazilians as the Patroness of Farmers.

This year the preparation of the Pilgrimage featured presentations by two La Salette Missionaries, Frs. Claudino Lise and Daniel Aguirre. They visited three parishes and over ten communities to celebrate the Eucharist, pray for the coordinators as well as the subscribers to the La Salette Magazine, Revista Salette.

The theme for this year's pilgrimage in connection with the Year of Faith and the parish theme was “Mary: Strength for the Faith of Family and Youth.”

Yangon (Rangoon)

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Shwedagon Pagoda

Having celebrated with my fellow La Salettes for their our 75th anniversary of ministry in Myanmar, we also took some time to experience and learn more about this marvelous country.

Yangon, a former capital of Burma, is in the southern region of this vast country and, with a population of over four million, is the country’s largest city and an important commercial center. Remarkably it is an incredibly safe city but the entire city closes down by 9pm.

On the edge of Yangon we visited the Shwedagon Pagoda by night – spectacular. There is no more stunning monument to religion in Southeast Asia. The sheer size (326 feet high) and the mystical aura of this gilded masterpiece stands out among thousands of pagodas throughout the country. What a great introduction to the famous pagodas!

Myanmar – A World Apart

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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.”