Spirituality and Charism

Untitled-1In college and university environments, the phrase, “Publish or Perish” is quote familiar. There is a presumption that each teacher will publish article, books, etc. in order to demonstrate their academic talent and attain tenure.

Of course, the reasons for our publishing new La Salette materials on our website (www.lasalette.org), in paper editions, and in eBooks is much more faith-driven. It is to support and strengthen devotion to Our Lady of La Salette and deepen our faith in her loving Son.

 

A La Salette Laity Handbook

 

Our first new publication this year is the “La Salette Laity Handbook: 31 Days of Apparition Reflections, Volume One” by Fr. Jim Henault, M.S., Province Director of La Salette Laity for North America. He offers this handbook, now available in both English and Spanish, to support Catholic laity inspired by the Apparition of Our Lady of La Salette and those who have been drawn to our Weeping Mother and the principles of spirituality contained in her message at La Salette.

Editor: In their meeting in April of 2015, the rectors of all the La Salette Shrines throughout the world met on the Holy Mountain of La Salette for the very first time. At the conclusion of their meeting, they summarized their feelings and hopes, explaining what their ministry asks of La Salettes and what it offers to the countless pilgrims who frequent our many Shrines worldwide.

 

170th Anniversary of the Apparition of Our Lady of La Salette

 Untitled-1(left) Holy Mountain in France;
(right) Switzerland

In the Year of Consecrated Life, we Rectors of the thirteen La Salette Shrines – France, Spain, Poland, Ukraine, Madagascar, Brazil, United States and the Philippines – were gathered at the Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette in France. We share with you, through this letter, our experiences here lived, affirming the importance of the ministry we offer in our Shrines. This letter also demonstrates our wishes in view of the celebration of 170th Anniversary of the Apparition of Our Lady of La Salette.

 

Responding to the call of Mary in La Salette, we reaffirm, as La Salette Missionaries, the ministry held in our Shrines as important and central for our Congregation and for our charism, identity and mission.

 

Holy Grounds

Every age has her own unique way of listening to, interpreting and acting upon the truth she discovers.
Untitled-1Bro. Trey Cespo, M.S., with family and friends at his First Profession
Around us a whole new world is being shaped. Many often speak about the rapid change of life. We are challenged to scrutinize these changes, to reflect on their meaning, to critique them from a Gospel point of view. And then, we must either take part in their dynamics or struggle to curb their negative impact.

We are also part of the major shifts occurring in the Church today. They are signs of challenge – issues that cry out to us for our response. They cannot be silenced. Refusal to be part of their authentic dialogue can never be seen as fidelity to the Gospel but as treason to its values!

The Ongoing Renewal of Religious Life

 

We are part of a religious life slowly but surely being stripped of outdated trappings. As La Salettes, we will be condemned unless we discover ways of living harmoniously in our multi-cultural, multi-racial, multi-social Congregation. How do we shape and transform our La Salette identity, in a human and a gospel fashion, to fit our local and global realities? How can we live a life focused on God, embracing a lifestyle that now questions what we previously accepted as normal, important, possible, and even necessary?

Editor: This article was originally presented at the First International Encounter of La Salette Laity, held on the Holy Mountain of La Salette from Sept. 1-10, 2011. It was translated from Portuguese to English by Fr. Norman Butler, M.S. This is the third of three articles.

A Message Centered on Christ

Untitled-1Fr. Isidro Perin, M.S., La Salette Superior General from 1994-2006The general context of the apparition, which takes into account the attitudes of the Beautiful Lady – her message, her symbols, her call to conversion, the situation of the people of that time, and their response of Christian life, the plain and courageous presence of the first missionaries on the mountain, the devotions that were born there – lead the pilgrims to underscore an important dimension of the faith; that is, reconciliation. The Marian, La Salette Invocation, proclaimed by anonymous pilgrims in those early days, expresses the theological dimension most typical of the apparition: "Our Lady of La Salette, Reconciler of Sinners, pray without ceasing for us who have recourse to you".

Mary, Reconciler of Sinners and our La Salette Rule

The expression, "Reconciler", as attributed to Mary, though restricted in its use, was known to theologians of the Middle Ages. Pope Leo XIII, in 1879, ordered that the statue of the Beautiful Lady be solemnly crowned as "Our Lady Reconciler". This is the same statue looking over the main altar in the Basilica on the Holy Mountain of La Salette. Later on, the Holy See approved the text of the La Salette Mass and the Office for "Our Lady of La Salette, Reconciler of Sinners."

In my many visits to our house in Rome, I often wondered what the chapel looked like in our original Scholasticate (for graduate students in Philosophy and Theology) in Rome used from the early 1930s to 1950. Recently after having gathered and scanned many visuals from our Rome Archives, I now have an idea – in black and white – of what the chapel and its paintings looked like. I hope you enjoy our journey into the past.
Untitled-1
Our new chapel (above, left) was housed in the Scholasticate on Via Cavour (above, right: façade).

The information and descriptions basically come from La Salette Fr. Pietro Rampietti’s article, “Roman Madonna”, published in Our Lady’s Missionary in March of 1947 (pgs. 79-84). Fr. Rampietti describes: “On the wall to the right there are four paintings representing the three phases of the Apparition and the reconciliatory prayer of the Virgin corresponding to which four scenes from the Old Testament are painted on the vault of the chapel, bringing out the similarity in an enlightening and effective way.

Editor: On the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of the La Salette Apparition, a La Salette priest visited the Holy Mountain and wrote his reflections upon which we can reflect.

Untitled-1(left) Fr. Alfred Hischer, M.S. (1923-2008); (right) Fr. Josef lmhof, M.S. (1894-1986)The members of our La Salette Province of Switzerland have traveled to the Holy Mountain of La Salette for 50 years. Over the years our lives certainly have changed but our gratitude for the time spent on the Holy Mountain and with the pilgrims encountered remains.

My first visit to this place of pilgrimage was on Sept. 20th, 1946. It was the day after the 100th anniversary of the Appearance of our Holy Mother. This was the first year after the end of World War II, the effects of which we saw during our journey from Geneva to La Salette.

We arrived on a wonderful evening in late fall together with two hundred La Salettes from all over the world to pay homage to our Merciful Mother. Immediately after our arrival, our Provincial Superior, Father Josef lmhof, M.S., led us to the site of the apparition. He showed us where, 100 years previous, Mother Mary had appeared. I was so impressed by this fact, that for some time this place was for me the center of La Salette.

Until 1987 I spent not less than thirty summers as a guide for pilgrims to La Salette. During this time I become enamored with this place and its pristine beauty. The more often I visited, the more I learned about La Salette – the appearance and the message. And so this lovely spot became my home.

Untitled-1(left) old church before hurricane in 1979;
(right) new walls and roof being replaced

Each year hundreds of Catholic pilgrims converge on the Southern community of Pointe Michel on September 19th to celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of La Salette, dubbed “the village feast.” The celebration is the culmination of a nine-day Novena which began with Mass presided over by our bishop and many concelebrating clergy, along with people from all over the island.


St. Luke’s Parish Church in Pointe Michel, Dominica, in the Caribbean Islands, was declared the National Shrine, and dedicated to Our Lady of La Salette by Bp. Arnold Boghaert in 1983. Having recently completed extensive renovations, it is a beautiful place of worship and a center of devotion and prayer to Our Lady of La Salette.

Small Beginnings – 1870s and 1880s

La Salette devotion in Dominica goes back to early February of 1872 when Fr. Desiré Clément Ardois returned from France with a beautiful statue of Our Lady as she appeared to the two little shepherd children, Maximin and Mélanie on September 19, 1846 in La Salette in France. As he was the parish priest of Pointe Michel, he had a small side chapel added to the parish church where he displayed the statue for veneration by the faithful.

Editor: This article was originally presented at the First International Encounter of La Salette Laity, held on the Holy Mountain of La Salette from Sept. 1-10, 2011. It was translated from Portuguese to English by Fr. Norman Butler, M.S. This is the second of three articles.

La Salette and its Symbols

Untitled-1Fr. Isidro Perin, M.S., La Salette Superior General from 1994-2006La Salette is an event and a message full of symbols.

The globe of light that surrounds Mary and the children;

The tears that constantly flow from the eyes of the Beautiful Lady and vanish as they fall into the intense light radiating from the crucifix she wears;

The chains that form a border to her shawl, symbols of oppression and of rejection of the fraternity and solidarity offered by her Son Jesus.

There are roses that accompany the chains of her shawl, and surround her head and her shoes, symbols of love, of new life so that creation no longer needs to suffer birth pangs but can become a paradise of brothers and sisters.

Untitled-1The first session for the Juniors of Bahia took place at Mombitaba House, provided by the La Salette Missionaries and the Taizé Community of Alagoinhas in Bahia, Brazil. The meeting included seventy-two juniors and eight trainers.

The theme of the meeting was Consecrated Religious Life: Space for Dialogue and Discernment. Sr. Annette Havenne, SM, from the Conference of Religious of Brazil, gave a brief reflection on what identifies us as Consecrated Religious: that is, Community, Mysticism and Mission. She then asked: Where is dialogue and discernment in our life?

Untitled-1Pope St. John Paul II
(1920-2005)
As people connected to the reconciling message of the La Salette apparition, we are witnessing widening gaps between peoples of the world. It is no longer a question of armed conflict, ethnic prejudice or the wealth and poverty of nations. There is no doubt that these play crucial roles in the alienation of peoples. But other factors have entered the scene and are exacerbating the crisis of injustice on every continent and in every country throughout the world.

Way back in 1987, Pope St. John Paul II followed up his encyclical, Laborem Exercens (On Human Work), with another encyclical, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (Concern [of the Church] for the Social Order). It has been described as “a progressive application of the central concept of justice” from the Church for society at large.

 

Pervasive Injustice – Deprivation vs. Superabundance

 

Injustice is at the root of every single evil separating peoples everywhere. This may seem to be a blanket condemnation but the fact of injustice becomes apparent as one notes the areas of poverty and deprivation across the entire spectrum of humanity.

If the whole planet were poor and deprived of many necessities of human life then those needs could not be said to be unjustly caused by some nations against others, some nations withholding or depriving others of needed essentials for acceptable levels for the dignity of human existence. For every single type of poverty or deprivation there exists in our civilization an opposite glut and abundance sufficient at least to alleviate the distress and sometimes to provide the self help resources that would allow that nation or region to lift itself out of want.

Prayer e-Book

Our La Salette Prayer Book is available for your e-readers at Amazon.

La salette prayerbook

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Do you pray well my children?

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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.”