Editor: This is the seventh in this series of articles based on the eight Dossiers (from February 1978 to November 1981) totaling 718 pages in this study of the La Salette Rule. In 1982, Fr. Eugene Barrette, M.S., the prime mover in this historic study, was elected the thirteenth La Salette Superior General (1982-1988). Other articles on Religious Life are available in our La Salette Online Library .
Although our title may seem to be a simple matter, it is worthwhile remembering that for 55 years Rome deprived us of its use. The title was given by Bishop Philibert de Bruillard (1765-1860) in his Mandate of 1852: "These priests shall be called the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette; their institution and existence shall be, like the shrine itself, an eternal monument and perpetual remembrance of Mary's merciful apparition." By title, the Bishop explicitly linked our roots to the Apparition.
In 1879, however, the Congregation presented our Rule to Rome. Then Rome granted us its "laudatory decree" and also its “observations” concerning our Rule: "In many places the constitutions mention the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary on the mountain of La Salette and things that are related to this. All is to be deleted. It is above all prohibited for the missionaries or members to be called Apostles of Our Lady of La Salette." Reasons?
No reasons were given by Rome, but it was understood that Rome wanted to avoid at all costs the impression that it was approving the apparition. Such approbations are given by the local Ordinary. It must also be remembered that the apparition of La Salette was experiencing a rather stormy reputation at the time. This directive resulted in the Congregation's title being changed to “Missionaries of La Salette”, since the name of the place of origin was permissible.
|Bp. Ullathorne’s book,
published several years
after the apparition
Editor: This article simply entitled “La Salettes”, published on Oct. 26, 1901, gives a testament to our first La Salettes on the Diocese of Hartford. They were men of faith, surely making Mary’s message known in any way they could, including distributing (and selling) copies of Bp. Ullathorne’s classic book on his visit to La Salette just eight years after the apparition.
We have received from the Missionary Fathers of La Salette, Hartford, Conn., a copy of the first American edition of "The Holy Mountain of La Salette," by the well known English prelate, the Right Rev. William B. Ullathorne, O.S.B., Bishop of Birmingham from 1850 to 1887.
This book of 220 pages, with fifteen full page illustrations, treats of that mysterious apparition of the Blessed Virgin to two illiterate peasant children, Maximin Giraud and Melanie Mathieu, at La Salette, not far from Grenoble in France, on Sept. 19, 1846, which date, that year, fell on a Saturday, and the eve of the feast which celebrates the Dolors of our Blessed Mother.
The missionary priests who are now banded together in memory of this singular event have, in the Diocese of Hartford, Conn., a motherhouse for the vicariate of the United States and Canada, established in 1892, and a preparatory college; and they have branch houses at Danielson, Conn., and at Fitchburg, Mass.