La Salette Feast on La Reunion

Map of Island of La Reunion, in the Indian Ocean

Ever Since Mary first told the two children – and all the followers of her Son – to make her message known, the message and devotion to Our Lady of La Salette and her message has spread to the four corners of the earth.

Fr. Fabien Raharilamboniaina (before he
became a bishop) with Bp.
Gilbert Aubry of La Reunion
In the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar, lies the French island of La Reunion, the outermost region of the European Union, just 970 sq. mi. (30 miles wide) and has risen in population from 90 people in 1671 to presently over 800,000 people. Natives (“Creoles”) make up the majority of the population. 
This unique island in the middle of the Indian Ocean has an active volcano on its south coast, 17 miles of beaches in the west, and lots of mountains and forests in between. It offers hiking its unique “cirques” or canyoning the island's many waterfalls to scuba diving or surfing in its crystal-clear waters.
The La Salette Missionaries from Madagascar now minister in five small parishes. With the ministry of the La Salettes, devotion has taken root on the island. On Sept. 19, 2010, the Feast of Our Lady of La Salette, over 5,000 pilgrims from all over the island converged on our Shrine and Parish at St. Leu for eight full hours. 
Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette
in Sainte-Marie, La Reunion
Bishop Gilbert Aubry, main celebrant of the Mass, said: “This year we have gathered more people than ever before. I see this as a sign of God’s providence and power. Each year we salute Mary, our mother, by making this prayerful effort. I am especially grateful to those who made the La Salette Novena, and those pilgrims from the city of Saint-Louis who have walked throughout the night to get here. I think of these people who came on foot from Piton, from Piton, Colimaçons, Chaloupe, Trois-Bassins, Saint-Gilles. It is good to walk like this – all the while remembering and praying.”
People throw flower petals to honor Our Lady
In his homily, Bishop Gilbert Aubry spoke at length on the Virgin Mary, inviting the faithful to take Mary home: “Today take Mary in your heart, in your relationships, to your home, where she helps us do all that that Jesus asks of us, especially to ‘Love each other as I have loved you.’”
The bishop also invited the pilgrims to meditate on each word of the “Our Father” in order that this prayer be prayed with full attention, so that each word be well understood... and lived.
Youth gather on the La Salette
Feast to sing and praise God
The peoples devotion to Our Lady of La Salette runs deep and the La Salette Shrine and parishes on the Island are very active. They can identify with the image of the “Weeping Mother” since their island has had a long history of very difficult situations, from government takeovers to natural disasters. They can sense the love and caring in her voice and message.
Each year, many children and youth of the island gather to express their faith in Christ and devotion to his Mother, Mary. Their special program of this day is very dynamic, including songs, dances and various entertainment as well as teachings on the new yearly theme. This past year it was “With Mary, solidarity and hope.”
Year by year, city by city, person by person, the message of Our Lady of La Salette is being heard once again, reflected on, and taken home to be lived and celebrated – even on the beautiful little Island of La Reunion in the Indian Ocean.
Some sights of the Island of La Reunion


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