La Salette Shrine – Trambileno, Italy

Aerial view of Shrine in Tramileno, Italy
Our Superior General, Fr. Silvano Marisa, M.S., was very impressed as a child by his yearly visit to the nearby La Salette Shrine in Trambileno, nestled in the mountains of the Trentino area of northern Italy. The lasting devotion to Our Lady of La Salette and the celebration of the 100th anniversary in 1956 of the apparition impressed him and led him to enter the La Salette Minor Seminary in Salmata, near Assisi, soon afterward.

Over a century and half ago, the population of the area was composed of many former emigrants who had repeatedly travelled to southeastern France for work during the summers, thus being close to the La Salette Shrine in France.

A nobleman named Rovereto wanted to express his undying gratitude to Our Lady for the care and hospitality that was given his son, who fled the area to escape the cholera epidemic and grew up strong and healthy. Urged by the deep devotion to Our Lady of La Salette in this area, he decided to build a Shrine in her honor on a nearby mountaintop.

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Ten Years in Australia

Untitled-1Remembering is a mental exercise but in the later stages of life, it is can be more challenging. Remembering, however, is not simply recalling past experiences. It can become a movement of the heart, a journey of the soul. For we do not only ask the “what’s, “when’s”, and “how’s” of life but also seek the “why’s”.

The great philosopher Socrates once said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Some agree that all that has happened in the past – no matter how seemingly insignificant, good or bad, happy or sad – has happened for a reason. Everything has a meaning and purpose.

This year we La Salettes gathered in Australia not only because we wanted to commemorate the Philippines’ Independence Day (June 12) but also to celebrate our decade of La Salette presence in Armidale. Our celebrations drew us to reflect and see the hand of God working in all the events of our life and ministry in this vast and beautiful land with its warm and energetic people. We realize that nothing has ever happened on our journey without God’s knowledge of them.

Our coming together became a moving spiritual exercise when we looked at the events of the past ten years within the context of our faith. Those moments when we wept, laughed, learned, grew, smiled, felt frustrated or sad – all were “God moments”. We just have to be able to see them with the eyes of God.

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La Salette Congregations Collaborate

Our Common Heritage, Mission and Charism

Members of the General Administration
of the Sisters of Our Lady of La Salette
There is a definite communal connection among La Salette Missionaries around the world. It is a good but somewhat mysterious bond that crosses language and country boundaries. This bond also extends to the Sisters of Our Lady of La Salette since we are drawn together by our shared charism and spirituality of reconciliation, and our connections with the La Salette event, Shrine and message.

On July 2-3, 2013, a meeting was held between the General Councils (the top organizational groups) of each congregation to explore our connections and discuss where closer collaboration is possible. The discussions produced an array of agreements which express how much we have in common and what steps they see as advantageous to both our congregations.

Untitled-2As Fr. Silvano Marisa, M.S., Superior General of the La Salette Missionaries, stated: “We pray that the collaboration between our two Salettine families will continue to grow in order to become a more apparent sign of reconciliation, which is the common patrimony to both our Congregation. We pray that such a collaboration be not only a desirable objective, but that it becomes a reality in the pursuit of our common mission.”

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Marriage Customs in India

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

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One Sows, Another Reaps

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.

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.

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