Meet A La Salette
Monastery in Yenangyuang where
Fr. Bernie studied as a young boy

About my call to the La Salette Missionaries… 

My first contact with the La Salettes was at St. Mary’s school in Thayetmyo. I was sent there as a boarder by my father because I was getting a lot of Buddhist influences since my grandmother sent me to a monastery in Yenangyuang to study 
Fr. Bernie Taylor, M.S., with
some orphans of the 2008
Nargis cyclone in Myanmar
my first 3 R’s. Then later I was transferred to St. Peter’s in Mandalay and then on to St. Paul’s in Rangoon (both run by the de La Salle Brothers). 
 

I joined the La Salette Minor Seminary in Akyab (now Sittwe) in 1962 and was sent to the Philippines the next year. However, since I was still living in Burma, I was not able to get to any La Salette novitiate so I finished my theological studies and was ordained for the diocese of Prome (now Pyay). The La Salettes in the Philippines decided not to let me come back as the La Salette Burmese mission was planning to close. 
 
I went back to Prome any way and worked in the diocese even after the La Salette Missionaries left. I finally decided to go back to the Philippines when the new bishop assigned me to Rangoon. After a couple of years, I was finally able to finish my novitiate and took my first vows in 1982 (20 years after I entered the apostolic school in 1962).

Fr. Jose Muttathan, M.S.

Where were you born and raised?

I am the youngest of five siblings, born on October 2, 1966 in Panely, Kerala, Southern India. I was in the United States from May to September, sharing information about my life, vocation, formation and ministry while I was preaching mission appeals. 

When did you begin school?

I was late beginning school, at the age of seven. I went to the local government grade school (grades 1 to 4) in Panely. When I was eleven I matriculated to St. Mary’s high school in Kombanad (grades 5 to 10). The next step was going to pre-degree college at Kothamangadam (grades 11-12).

Bro,. Juan in his workshop
at the Shrine of Our Lady
of La Salette in Siador-
Silleda, Pontevedra, Spain.
His bronze statue of Our Lady of La
Salette seated, turning to welcome
the two children (and us) in the
Attleboro Shrine’s Garden
of the Apparition.
When Our Lady appeared to the two young cowherds at La Salette on September 19, 1846, before ever she spoke a word, her presence spoke volumes. The children were first attracted by the otherworldly globe of light that surrounded her. As they approached, Maximin and Melanie's fears were quelled by the sight of Our Lady seated on a stone, her face in her hands. 
 
As she looked at them to greet them, they saw she was crying. The light from the crucifix she was wearing, the tears of a compassionate mother, the garlands of roses surrounding her head, shoulders and feet-all these things spoke to the children of the Divine Presence, and made an impact on their lives as deep – if not deeper – than the words she subsequently spoke.
 
Ever since the children described this scene, artists have tried to capture that Presence. Over the years, devotees of the La Salette Apparition have seen those attempts reproduced in paintings and sculpture. Among the many artists who have depicted that tender scene at La Salette of Mary where she spoke with the two children, we present one member of our Congregation who took seriously Our Lady's call to “make this known to all my people.” 

Sr. Theresa Hkawn Htoi
Kareng, SNDS

Pope Benedict XVI meeting
with Archbishop Paul Z.
Zinghtung Grawng
Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Myitkyine, Kachin State, North Central Myanmar, I was born and raised as a Catholic, along with my three brothers and one sister. I am the eldest. My youngest brother passed away while he volunteered with youth in a mission on the mountain. He got sick with malaria and died at the age of 18, while I was a novice in the Philippines. 
 
My father is a very religious man and goes to Mass every morning and always prays for me to be faithful to my call. My mother is very supportive of me being a La Salette religious sister. I am fortunate that my parents and grandmother (aged 95) are very accepting of my vocation and are always praying for me.
 
How did you hear about La Salette?
When I decided to join a congregation in Myitkyine. I learned about the La Salette Sisters from my cousin, Margaret, who at that time was also thinking of joining the same community in the Philippines. She received information about them from our bishop, Archbishop Paul Z. Zinghtung Grawng and passed that onto her. I also expressed to our bishop that I’d like to join the La Salette Sisters in the Philippines as well. 

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Fr. Jim Donagher, M.S.

Where were you born and raised?

I was born and raised in Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Hartford, CT, and ironically I’m going back there in January 2012. My mother died when I was seven years of age and my dad was an uneducated immigrant from Ireland. We lived in an unheated flat with no hot water. This experience has helped me live very simply for my entire life. This simple lifestyle brought me to the La Salette Seminary in Hartford, next to my parish church.

My mom was a woman of faith, but I remember snippets of my experience of her. I had two brothers, but both died within a few months of birth.

Where has your life taken you?

I was ordained as a La Salette on May 28, 1966, at the La Salette Shrine in Ipswich, MA. I was always a “rebel” but my assignments included being Prefect of Discipline in Cheshire, CT, and Vocation Director for our community. I loved being vocation director and felt very responsible for bringing youngsters to our seminaries. I will be serving in Our Lady of Sorrows with one of my recruits, Fr. Brian Sheridan!

Fr. Hervé Bougeard, M.S., when he was
rector of the Holy Mountain
Even though you have worked nearly thirteen years on the Holy Mountain, please give us an overview of your life…
 
I am now sixty-seven years old and was born in Brittany, in northwestern France. My home town is Iffendic, near Montfort-sur-Meu, the area where the renowned Louis Grignon de Montfort spent his childhood. I could have become a Montfort priest but there were Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette in the area who attracted me to our community.
 
How did your vocation begin?
 
As a child, I went to parish school of Saint-Péran. The priest was very close to the La Salette Missionaries who were serving in Cucé. They came regularly to assist him in celebrating Mass on major holydays. Since I was an altar boy, the La Salettes visited my parents and spoke with me about becoming a La Salette. As the son of a farmer, I was interested both in manual and intellectual pursuits! Yet in 1956, I had started my four years of college in Cucé, then I went to Voiteur in the Jura area of France, and finally I spent two years in Brittany in formation as a “belated vocation.”

Fr. Jerome Saw, M.S.

Where do you come from and where do you minister?

My name is Father Jerome Saw, M.S. I am presently part of the International Shrine community on the Holy Mountain of La Salette. I arrived from Myanmar (formerly Burma) to serve here in France for a few years at the kind request of our Superior General.
 
Having lived at La Salette for three years, the place chosen by the Virgin for her appearance 165 years ago, is a real grace for me. I am constantly edified by the faith of pilgrims who come here from around the world. My faith and vocation are strengthened by the Shrine community as we minister here on the Holy Mountain.
 
I also come to share my ministry experience and relationship with our Buddhists brothers in my country of Myanmar. Eighty-five percent of the population is Buddhist. They are also part of “People of God” about which the Virgin was speaking in her message and part of those to whom we pass on her “good news.”

 

Bro. Noël Commandeur, M.S.
Over the past twenty-two years, Brother Noel stood out in service at the Shrine in France: a crowd of pilgrims were able to meet him in the store and so did many volunteers who worked with him.
 
Noel, you have invested yourself for a long at the La Salette Shrine in France, but there is more your life...
 
Yes, I have been a Missionary Brother of Our Lady of La Salette for 51 years. But mine is a long history. At home, my mother had a great devotion to Our Lady of La Salette. In our home, an altar was dedicated to her. I am a Dauphinois and so I was a close neighbor of the beautiful Lady who had come to visit her people on the mountain. The Missionaries of La Salette often came to preach missions in our area.
 
As a Dauphinois, you’re at heart a member of those who live in the Jura Mountains, aren’t you?

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Fr. Bob Susann, M.S., Chaplain,
Orlando International Airport

ORLANDO – At the Orlando International Airport, kindness can be as easy as pressing a button. Stressed and apprehensive about making their flight and going through security, passengers will press the buttons in the elevator four or five times.

If Father Robert Susann sees that a traveler is nervous or scared on his way in from the parking lot, he'll simply ask where they're going, and press the button for them. Those small kindnesses – making it easier for people to fly and just being there when he's needed – are at the center of Father Susann's ministry as an airport chaplain, he said.

Before he came to the airport, Father Susann studied at Rome's Gregorian University; ran a La Salette Shrine in Ipswich, MA.; directed the La Salette order's junior college; and was a parish pastor for 12 years in Marietta, GA., where he was also active with Life Teen.

Growing up in upstate New York, Father Susann knew he wanted to be a priest during his senior year in high school. After a vocations retreat, he knew he “wanted to make a difference in the world. As I developed and discerned,” he said, “I realized there was a lot of missionary work to be done here at home.”

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Fr. Cyriac has just received his
American citizenship in Boston
on May 26, 2011

Where were you born and raised?

I was born in South India in Mattathipara, in the state of Karala on Sept. 10, 1967. My father, Joseph Chandy Mattathilanickal, was a native farmer, and my mother, Mariam Ezhuthanavayalil, is a fulltime housewife. My father and mother raised twelve children of which I am the second youngest. All my siblings went to nearby schools and have pursued extensive education. I have 18 nephews and nieces. I also have a brother who is a diocesan priest in the Diocese of Norwich, CT. and a sister who is a Religious Sister of the Congregation of the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament who lives in India. By the way, I became a citizen of the U.S. on May 26, 2011 and I am very happy about it!

How did you first hear about La Salette?

One of my many cousins is a La Salette priest, Fr. Jose Kuzhinjalil, M.S. After I completed my college, he spoke to me about the La Salette Missionaries and their ministry. I was somehow drawn to this Marian Congregation and their Charism of Reconciliation. I had reached a turning-point in my life and needed to reconcile within myself the persistent desire to pursue my vocation to the priesthood which I had felt ever since I was a teenager.

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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.”