Meet A La Salette

Where were you born and raised?

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Bro. Ron Taylor, M.S., celebrating
fifty years of religious profession

I was born on March 19, 1947, and raised in Central Falls, Rhode Island. My father’s name was Russell and he co-owned “Armand’s Café” in Central Falls. My mother, Yvonne, worked for a laundry business and had previously worked in a local fabric mill in Pawtucket, RI. I had a half-brother named Russell Taylor, Jr., an engineer for Texas Instruments, a manufacturing company making computer circuit boards. I went to grammar school and one year of high school at St. Matthew’s School.

How did you learn about La Salette?

I had three life-long friends, a few years older than me, and they entered the La Salette Novitiate in 1960 at Center Harbor, NH. When they came home on vacation, I’d ask what their life was all about as a La Salette Brother candidate. I liked what they said, about working with their hands and doing many things. I loved that aspect of life. Then Fr. Leo Maxfield, M.S., visited our parish and spoke about the La Salette Missionaries, inviting those who were interested. He offered to take us on a trip to the La Salette High School Seminary in Enfield, NH. However he mentioned that he was only taking those interest in the priesthood. Fortunately one fellow couldn’t go, so I took his place.

On that weekend, we visited the classrooms of students and peeked in on the La Salette Brothers who were working in the garage. It was after that weekend that I made the decision to enter La Salette as a Brotherhood candidate. Because I was only in eighth grade, Fr. Roland Bedard, M.S., asked me to wait until I finished my freshman year of High School. After I was accepted at the age of 15, I entered on July 4, 1962, into Center Harbor as an Aspirant.

 

What ministries have you been involved in during
your 50 years as a La Salette Missionary?

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Bro. Ron visits with a La Salette
Sister in Madagascar

After my vows on July 2, 1964, I often did mechanical work. In Enfield, NH, I also became involved in Camp Pius in Enfield, I made Communion calls as a Eucharistic Minister, was head of the La Salette Ladies Guild and became head of the cafeteria. I did fundraising for sponsors for the yearly Enfield Christmas Lights, was a coordinator of the Family Festival in July of each year and even volunteered for the Local Enfield Fire Department.

I was also a Coordinator of the Enfield Chalet rentals in Enfield. During that time I met so many wonderful people who wanted to know about me and our community and what I did as a Brother. I had lots of fun running a babysitting activity for a few hours each morning during the summertime, in order to give their parents a few free hours.

After 20 years in Enfield, I came to minister in Attleboro, MA. There I served as a mechanic, Maintenance Director, Coordinator of the Attleboro Family Festival (Labor Day weekend yearly), helped set up the annual Christmas Festival of Lights, became the Coordinator of Christmas volunteers, was involved for 13 years with the La Salette Associates. I also continued volunteering a Eucharistic Minister. For a number of years I have been Director of the Divine Mercy Prayer Group and I’m now involved as the liaison for the La Salette Sisters who minister at the Attleboro Shrine.

What special things have you done for your fiftieth anniversary?

For my anniversary this year, I feel very grace-filled to spent a few weeks visiting our La Salette Sisters, Brothers and Priests in Madagascar. It was a great privilege to attend the profession of seventeen new La Salette Sisters. It showed me that religious life is very much alive and well in Madagascar. I also experienced the great reverence they have for those who have gone before them in death. Their manner of celebrating the Mass of Resurrection was simply marvelous. They celebrated with great joy and dignity and then processed with song and dance to their final place of rest.

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The La Salette Sisters celebrate the first
vows of some of their sisters in Madagascar

I was also blessed to be able to return to the Philippines for a visit, after my previous visit twenty-five years ago. I was astounded to see the substantial expansion of our La Salette University in Santiago. The last time I visited, there were only two buildings on campus. Now there are some 5,000 students, many more buildings, and a newly erected hospital that will soon open.

So many young people are actively involved in the La Salette High School and University and they have many more schools as well. I spoke with people who were alumni of our own school system. They were very enthusiastic about what they learned and experienced – all because our community worked hard to offer this opportunity for the people of the Philippines. I also spend a few weeks with Sr. Mila’s family at their family’s homestead. Most of their family of seventeen children gathered for their family reunion and I was adopted into their family!

I also marveled at how hard many Malagasi worked, performing the essentials of life like daily cooking, getting water from the well. In some areas they have no running water and electricity for one a few hours or none at all. And this was for them ordinary daily life. Their struggles also included taking for granted that they might have to walk for hours to a town to visit family. Yet with all their struggles they are remarkably happy!

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The La Salette Sisters celebrate the first
vows of some of their sisters in Madagascar

Concerning the celebration of my fiftieth anniversary, I’m looking forward to it, getting to share this happy occasion with my friends, family and community. However I do wish that my father, mother and brother could be here with us but they’re in heaven, watching over us now.

Over your many years of ministry, what have you enjoyed the most?

As I said, I just love getting to know people. I enjoy working with our many Attleboro Shrine volunteers. It is certainly a challenge but I get to really know these very generous people who truly love La Salette. They are so willing to help us whenever they can. Some of these people have become my very close friends. I can feel their joy and pain and be supportive to them.

I warmly remember a wonderful and longtime Attleboro volunteer who suddenly contracted cancer. I felt privileged to be able to support her through her difficult journey back to God. This experience was a life-changing experience for both of us. God truly helped us through that very challenging journey.


What does the La Salette Apparition and Community mean to you?

What impressed me a lot was my first visit to the Holy Mountain in France. I saw the actual spot where Mary appeared; it was just breathtaking. Also, back in the United States, our mission of reconciliation came alive for me when I visited hospital patients, speaking with them and giving them communion.

I’ve always felt called to this way of life. My advice for those entering our community is just keep plugging along, day-by-day. Follow Jesus and try not to get discouraged. God will help you.

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(from left) The La Salette University logo; a University Administration
Building; a Filipino Cultural Night at the University

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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.”