Celebrating Mary’s Feast Day Around the World

The yearly celebration of the September 19th Feast of Our Lady La Salette is a wonderful opportunity to give thanks to God for Mary’s visit to the mountaintop near the little hamlet of La Salette in the French Alps. As La Salettes, we honor our community’s feast day in many different ways.


In North America

At the La Salette National Shrine in Attleboro, MA, USA, we celebrated Eucharist at which over twenty La Salette Associates renewed their promises to dedicate themselves for one year to the ministry and message of the Weeping Mother.

Untitled-1(from left) La Salette Associates, Attleboro, MA; In Twin Lakes, WI, Bro. Paul Jussen, M.S. (3rd from right) with (from left) Fr. Jim Stajkowski, M.S., Fr. Ray Cadran, M.S., Fr. Phil Negley, M.S., Provincial, Fr. Gerald Lebanowski, M.S., and Bro. Anthony Sepanik, (oblate).

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The Holy Cross of La Salette

Untitled-1Appropriately the Feast of the Holy Cross on Sept. 14th is closely linked to the Solemnity of the Apparition of Our Lady of La Salette on Sept. 19th each year. It is not just another happy coincidence because, as we shall see, the two feasts are not only closely interrelated but La Salette is truly a manifestation of the Glorious Cross.

The feast of the Holy Cross, seen in the light of the La Salette apparition, has not only a very strong and powerful message but some very practical and vital applications for our daily living and in a special way our devotion to Mary, Mother of Jesus, and the Mother of the Church.

A Globe of Light was Brighter than the Sun

When Maximin and Melanie saw that light shining in the narrow hollow and shady ravine, they were blinded by a globe of light brighter than the sun. Their fear, having been dispelled by the welcoming words of Mary: "Come near, my children, be not afraid", they approached the Beautiful Lady.

She called to them and only then did they realize that all the light came from the crucifix that hung from a chain on Mary's breast. The source of that light was the crucifix; all that light “brighter than the sun” had its origin in the cross.

Read more: The Holy Cross of La Salette

La Salette – Tears, a Famine and a Promise

“Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).
“As Jesus drew near, he saw the city (of Jerusalem) and wept over it” (Luke 19:41)

Untitled-1Jesus Weeps Over JerusalemIts accents, inflections and rhythms vary widely from situation to situation, from person to person, but it remains a universal language, spoken and understood everywhere in the world. A truly international language, the disconcerting, heart-rending language of tears. It conveys what words are powerless to express: anger, betrayal, disappointment, exasperation, frustration, grief, helplessness, loss, misunderstanding, pain, sorrow and unrequited love.

A Flood of Rain, A Flood of Tears

The tears Our Lady shed at La Salette so many years ago, tears indelibly etched upon our spiritual awareness, entice us to the edge of a compelling mystery, the mystery of Christ weeping over the Chosen City (Luke 19:41-44). The tears Jesus shed there have hallowed all the tears all men and women have shed over the ages; they make holy the tears our brothers and sisters—near and far—are shedding now.

Happy those who mourn, blessed those who weep, they shall be comforted (Matthew 5:4). The deepest, truest comfort, the consolation most reflective of God’s own infinite happiness, will follow upon our grieving over the losses sustained by our fellow human beings rather than our own. It is only natural that we should cry over our own disappointments, losses, misfortunes, trials and troubles. But we will truly share, even now, in that peace-filled comfort God alone can give only when we share in God’s own care, compassion, and concern for all.

Read more: La Salette – Tears, a Famine and a Promise

La Salette and the Cry of the Poor

Untitled-1La Salette General Chapter Mass celebrated in the La Salette Shrine Church in Attleboro, MA in May, 2012When we La Salettes gathered in General Chapter in 2012 in Connecticut, we had no idea that within a year we would have a new Pope. So there was no way we could know, when we decided to name 2015 a “Year of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace,” that Pope Francis would subsequently name 2015 the “Year for Consecrated Life.”

At first, this seemed to take us in a different direction. However, further reflection suggests that these two themes are not opposed, especially if we believe, that both a General Chapter and a Papal Consistory are the work of the Holy Spirit!


Three Objectives for the Year of Consecrated Life

There are three “objectives” mentioned in the proclamation introducing the Year for Consecrated Life; the first objective is that of giving thanks for the recent past (50 years since Vatican II) of consecrated life in the Church. The second is “to embrace the future with hope.” The third is “to live the present with passion.”


Give Thanks for These 50 Years


Read more: La Salette and the Cry of the Poor

Happy La Salette Feast Day!

Untitled-1I am truly happy, again this year, to bid a Happy Feast day to all of you who, present throughout the world and always moved by a renewed and unquestionable love for the Church and for our Congregation, are committed to announcing the Good News of the Gospel in light of the message of reconciliation of Mary at La Salette.


“…Make this known to all my people” (Mary at La Salette)

May the weeping Virgin of La Salette protect and bless each of you, as well as our numerous friends and La Salette laity who, with great courage and a commendable spirit of sacrifice and service, share with you the joys, the challenges and the difficulties of the mission.

This annual celebration invites us, once again, to reread and rethink our personal story with the eyes, the mind and the heart of the God of the Bible, who chooses his people, makes a covenant with them and makes them companions on the journey. May we then rediscover in ourselves the beauty of our vocation as religious and missionaries by reawakening, should this be necessary, the spirit of belonging to our great family of La Salette Religious and La Salette Laity.


“Wake up the world!” (Pope Francis)

Pope Francis, in the meeting of November 29, 2013, asked myself and the other Superiors General to have our members dedicate the great part of their human and charismatic energy to reawaken the world in this particularly difficult moment in which the world and the Church exist.

Read more: Happy La Salette Feast Day!

Fr. Bob Vachon, M.S. – A Man of Reconciliation

Untitled-1Fr. Robert Vachon,
M.S. in 1995
It was more than twenty years ago that I met Fr. Robert Vachon, a La Salette Missionary. I soon discovered an extraordinary colleague; at once a scholar, a humanist and a humble man. Here is someone committed to universal reconciliation and harmony on our planet. The reconciliation he articulates, amazingly, results not in spite of differences, but in and because of them. Over time, I have come to know him as someone in awe of human diversity, open and incredibly accepting of others.

He is courageous, allowing the threads of integrity and honesty to weave the tapestry of his life. His prodigious writing, enduring organizational achievements and always gracious personal manner exemplify an intercultural expression of reconciliation for twenty-first century humankind. This spirit of reconciliation has developed throughout a long and fruitful life. Here is a glimpse of this journey, taken from personal conversations, interviews and his writings.

A Challenging and Promising Beginning

An only child born to a French-Canadian mother and Franco-American father, his early childhood was marked by hard work and perseverance in the midst of economic hardship. Responding to a youthful desire to become a priest, upon the recommendation of a local plumber, Mr. Petrin, he entered the La Salette Seminary in Enfield, New Hampshire.

Read more: Fr. Bob Vachon, M.S. – A Man of Reconciliation

Early Friends of La Salette

In the very first years after the apparition of Our Lady of La Salette, many people came forward to share their belief in and devotion to Mary’s appearance and message. These are a few notable devotees in those early years.

Untitled-1St. Jean Vianney, the Curé of Ars, Patron Saint of Secular Priests (1786-1859)

"Ah! La Salette has already done much good, but it will do even more, and later, it will always and everywhere increasingly do even more. The Blessed Virgin will give you a beautiful work to do. Continue your work with courage. She will expand your ministry and one day your successors will have members in all parts of the world." (Words addressed to Fr. Pierre Archier, M.S., shortly after becoming Superior General of the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette.)


St. Peter-Julian Eymard, founder of 
the Blessed Sacrament Fathers (1811-1868)

"La Salette is the universal message: ‘You will make this known to all my people,’ said the Virgin. Everywhere we speak it, whether near or far, like waves that are always swelling... This is the Holy Virgin who does everything. What a good preacher she is! She didn’t allow us to see her but we can feel it… La Salette is the great pulpit of atonement: the Stations of the Cross as well, leading us to heaven..." (Words from his sermon)

Read more: Early Friends of La Salette

Our Weeping Mother – a Meditation in Wood

Untitled-1Our La Salette Retreat Center Chapel in Attleboro, MA, has a unique La Salette work of art. The sculptor has cleverly indicated the hands of the Weeping Mother without hiding her face. Her eyes are lowered, her mouth rests quietly, seemingly unable to speak. Her face blends serenity with sadness. This is an inner sorrow; there is no grimace, no contortions of pain.

Our Lady’s face looks downward in concern and compassion. Her attention is directed to earth, toward her people, and so is her prayer and all that sorrow.

Her head is set in a strongly ribbed nimbus — the symbol of divinity: she is the Mother of God, Mother of the Son of God. The artist has carved the entire figure of the Virgin, not merely a bust.

She may be the Mother of God, she may be in heaven, but her feet, shown clearly here, are set firmly together on the ground. In a single frame we see intercession flowing from her heavenly nimbus to her earthly feet, joining heaven and earth.

Read more: Our Weeping Mother – a Meditation in Wood

My Personal Rule of Life

Untitled-1Fr. Fernand Cassista, M.S.; Born: March 25, 1938; Professed: July 2, 1959; Ordination: February 13, 1965; Entered Eternal Life: July 31, 2014Editor: Recently Fr. Fernand Cassista, M.S., went back to the Father of us all. During his ministry as a La Salette Missionary, he spent much of his life giving Retreats, Days of Recollection and doing Spiritual Direction with many people who came to the La Salette National Shrine in Attleboro, MA.

In his personal file, he stated that, in place of a homily at his funeral, his Personal Rule of Life be read. He wanted to share with his family and friends, directees and fellow La Salettes the central focus for his life and ministry expressed in his Personal Rule of Life. We offer this for your personal reflection. See also his own article on his treasured ministry as a Spiritual Director.

A reading from the letter of St. Paul to the Christians at Philippi (3:7-17)

Because of Christ, I have come to consider all these advantages that I had as disadvantages. Not only that, but I believe nothing can happen that will outweigh the supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For him I have accepted the loss of everything, and I look on everything as so much rubbish if only I can have Christ and be given a place in him.

I am no longer trying for perfection by my own efforts, the perfection that comes from the Law, but I want only the perfection that comes through faith in Christ, and is from God and based on faith.


Read more: My Personal Rule of Life

The Spirit of God in Our Lives

Editor: This is Part One (of three parts) of a presentation from “Journeying Together in the Spirit”, a La Salette Associate Gathering held on Oct. 1, 2011. It is summarized by Fr. Ron Gagne, M.S.

Untitled-1God speaks to us not only instantly but also gradually. We need to trust God. For example, there is such a thing as “the rule of three”; that is, sometimes things happen once — something catches my attention; twice – we say “that’s extraordinary!; three times – we respond: “Well, God, maybe this is the Spirit speaking to me.” What I can say is that the Holy Spirit is alive and well, in our lives, in this room.


God knows us very well

Charisms are all from the same source; when one resonates with our own heart-song and calls to us, we open our hearts and say “yes”. Here’s an example:

Read more: The Spirit of God in Our Lives

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