What is your family background?

Untitled-1Fr. Isidro Perin, M.S., La Salette Superior General from 1994-2006I was born in a Christian family. My parents were farmers, deeply involved in the activities and ecclesial movements of the time. My dad had died at the age of 31. We were three boys and I was the oldest. As a youngster I was an altar boy and accompanied the priest to as he blessed the houses of our village.

When did you first meet the Missionaries of La Salette?

My religious upbringing was guided by a German Franciscan priest who was my spiritual director. You might therefore ask how I didn’t join the Franciscans as my spiritual director desired.

Every vocation has its mystery because, basically, it is a personal human response to a loving invitation from God. I knew La Salette because my parents and I attended a pilgrimage at the La Salette Shrine in Marcelino Ramos, Brazil. In that same city my own father left this world to join the Father's House in 1946, which was the centenary year of the Apparition of Our Lady of La Salette.

The defining moment of my decision to join the La Salette Missionaries happened late one afternoon. I announced to my mother: "I want to enter the La Salette congregation". She replied: "If God calls you, then go!" As was the procedure at that time, I entered the seminary in Marcelino Ramos in March of 1953. With the help of the La Salette Missionaries, my family and many other laity throughout my training, I was ordained on December 9, 1967.

Where did you serve in your ministry in Brazil?

I had the chance to serve in the most diverse ministries in Brazil. I served as a parish priest in Valenca (northeastern Brazil), then in Francisco Beltrao Parana and in Vila Paulistana, a suburb of Sao Paulo.

I was Trainer and Director at the Shrine of Marcelino Ramos and Provincial Superior of the La Salettes in Brazil for two terms. These varied ministries allowed me to insert myself deeply into the cultural and ecclesial context of my native country.

Another experience of ministry deeply affected me. I was part of the National Executive Committee of the Conference of Religious of Brazil. The richness and variety of the commitments of men and women religious in Brazil enlightened my ministry and my vision of my own Congregation.

Untitled-2Fr. Isidro preaching at the La Salette Shrine in Marcelino Ramos, BrazilWhat goals did you have as you served as Superior General for two terms, and then as Provincial Superior once again in Brazil?

Serving as La Salette Superior General was both a huge challenge and a unique experience. It was certainly a challenge to lead our international congregation, trying to support unity based on our charism of reconciliation and on our common La Salette origin, all the while appreciating our wondrous diversity, since our Congregation is located in more than 25 countries.

My driving vision was to make visible our unity and diversity by "Building the Future Together". I can attest to the vitality of our colleagues in all of our many locations throughout the world. The charism of reconciliation is the central core around which we unite all our apostolic endeavors. Our charism illuminates the human and spiritual elements of all our confreres who work daily for a reconciled world in which "God may be all in all" (1 Cor 15:28).

How did you feel as a Brazilian La Salette, called to serve as the Superior of the La Salette community on the Holy Mountain of La Salette?

The Shrine of La Salette in France has been international since its foundation, with pilgrims visiting from many countries. That international quality is rooted in Mary's own parting request: "Make it known to all my people." This community ministry is therefore called to be an international center for all her people. It is hosted in partnership with the Association of Pilgrims of La Salette, with its many lay associates and volunteers, religious (artists) and priests from different countries and continents who serve on the Holy Mountain.

And finally, what does La Salette mean to you?

Untitled-3Fr. Isidro and the members of the 2000 General Chapter meeting Pope John Paul IIThe center of the message of La Salette is Christ. It is the light that indicates a preferred life to live and a way to go. So Mary’s first call is one of conversion – "If they convert ..." She is reminding us that a new way of living for our world is within our reach!

The second call is to grasp the loving presence of God in every moment of our lives. Mary reminded Maximin: “Remember, Maximin, last year in the field of Coin...” This reminder of Mary affected the life of his father, Mr. Giraud! This man, who mocked both religion and God, soon changed his way of life and once again become an active Christian. He came to believe in the loving presence of God who, like mr. Giraud himself, shares an active concern to feed his family.

La Salette continues, as at Cana in galilee, to bring us to Mary’s Son. In the scriptures, Mary said: "Do whatever he tells you". In this way she expressed her Son’s hope that we might discover the way that leads to the Father: "No one comes to Father except through me" (John 14:6).

The spirituality of La Salette certainly can fulfill the desire of people who are searching for deeper meaning for their daily lives. This is certainly the mission of all our La Salette Shrines throughout the world – to help people place themselves in the footsteps of Christ, and urging them to: “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you a reason for your hope” (1 Peter 3:15).
(Reprinted with permission from the La Salette Publication, “Les Annales", July 8, 2007, pgs. 22-23)