We would like to introduce you to the La Salette Missionaries who are from Myanmar. We are just beginning to recruit young men into our community. In fact, we have just begun our own formation program. Here is a little bit of information about each of us.
Fr. Bernard Taylor, MS was originally a Burmese Diocesan priest who knew the La Salettes while her was growing up. He was ordained and, after a few years, asked his Bishop if he could apply to the La Salette Missionaries, with the hope that he could reintroduce the La Salette Missionaries into his native land at some future time. After many years away from Burma—now Myanmar—our reimplantation happened on Nov 18, 2005. Now Fr. Bernie is directing the establishment of the foundations, among which is to obtain a home and establish a formation program for young men wishing to become La Salettes.
He has been fixing up the “central house” and now it is ready for occupation. With two big rooms and eight smaller ones, this should be enough for the missionaries for a few more years. The big hall-like building will be multi-purpose.
Some time ago I wrote about how your generous and caring gifts to the La Salette Mission Center were going to help the poor in our mission fields, especially the schools and children. I thought I would key in on one person who has been a very zealous and constant advocate for our missions – someone who usually remains in the background but who has a great love of the missionaries and a wonderful appreciation of the work that they are doing. His name is Brother Luke Bauer, and he is stationed at our residence in Saint Louis. Bro. Luke is in charge of the kitchen and sets up our menus each day. He also cooks many of the meals during the week. When he entered the community he didn’t start out as a cook. But once he was asked to do some cooking he found that he loved it. He still does some 30 years later!
|Fr. Nunda Venanciao,
Regional Superior of Angola
While at the General Chapter Father Vanãcio Nunda, MS, Regional Superior of Angola, explained a bit about his homeland and the La Salette mission there.
The mission in Angola – then a Portuguese colony in Africa – began in 1946 when eight La Salette Missionaries came from Switzerland. Their missionary zeal was directed to poorer regions of Angola. As a result of their efforts to evangelize, to form Catholic communities, to build schools and to educate youth, they soon began to draw vocations. However the first native priest – Fr. Tarcisio Tchiheke – came to the La Salettes from the diocesan clergy. Today the La Salette Region in Angola is composed of 54 priests, 3 Brothers, 23 professed scholastics in four years of theology and 8 novices. There are 56 young men in three years of philosophy and 45 others in the first two years of college.
We have a mission in Opuwo, Namibia with three priests and two deacons serving there. Soon we will take on another ministry there, opening a new pastoral center. There is one priest studying in Brazil and another in France. Yes, God has blessed us in spite of hardship – or perhaps because of the fidelity to Mission – during more than 30 years of civil war in our country.
Brother Pedro Santiago Battistini, MS is a La Salette Missionary born in Argentina. During my visit there late last January he told me a bit about himself, his missionary journey and his ministry. As you will see from his background, it is no wonder that he is the Treasurer of the Argentina/Bolivia La Salette Region.
I was born on June 30, 1975 in a small town named Monte Cristo, just a few kilometers from Córdoba, Argentina. I give thanks to God that my parents are still alive, as are my four brothers and two sisters. La Salette was part of my family’s history even before I came into the picture. As a young woman my mother was the cook at the La Salette seminary in Yofre Norte. My father worked at a nearby bakery and delivered bread each morning to the seminary. That’s where they met – in the La Salette seminary kitchen! As the years went by and they became better acquainted they decided to get married. Fr. Jim Weeks, MS was the priest who officiated at their sacramental wedding. They then moved to Monte Cristo, a small town not far from Córdoba. I was their first born. So you could say that La Salette was part of my life from birth. A few years later they moved back to Yofre Norte in Córdoba and we all became active members of the parish of Our Lady of La Salette, staffed by the same missionaries.
Brother David Cardozo Ruiloba, MS was born in Tarija, Bolivia on April 15, 1972, one of six children born to Damien and Julia Ruiloba. For the first 20 years of his life he knew nothing about La Salette or the Missionaries who bear that name. After high school he entered the diocesan seminary where he completed three years of philosophy. Yet he knew something was missing in his life. So he left. Of course the Bishop was not happy. He saw a lot of potential in this young man. He told David that perhaps the diocesan priesthood was not right for him. At the same time, because of what he saw in him, he felt sure David was called to the priesthood. Perhaps he should consider joining a religious community. The Bishop suggested four – the Dominicans, the Augustinians, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and the La Salettes.
During the next three years while David worked in Cochabamba he also went to visit the first three religious communities the Bishop had suggested. They were names familiar to him so he spent some time with each of then. Again nothing clicked. That left the La Salettes about whom he knew nothing. So he didn’t even bother to go see them.
Sisters of Our Lady of La Salette:
Our Purpose, History and Ministry
We are uniquely blessed with a founding event – the Apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary at La Salette on September 19, 1946. Mary's compassionate presence at La Salette – her tears, words, gestures, symbols, and the social context – serve as a striking illustration and an urgent reminder of God's merciful love and compassion for his people and creation. She affirms that God is intimately present at the heart of our lives in conversation with us. She weeps because “her people” has so much need for conversion and she remains hopeful that they will return to the Source of Life, the God of infinite tenderness.
We, the Sisters of Our Lady of La Salette in the Philippines are women disciples of Christ, called to live and witness in word, deed and ritual in a creative and participatory way, to the realization of ecclesiastical communion, interfaith solidarity among peoples and deep ecological integrity as designed by Mary in Her Apparition at La Salette, who invites us to transcendence and the restoration of the dignity of persons and creation in a process of conversion from a life restrained by personal weakness and social injustice to the fullness of Life in Christ.
Bishop Donald Pelletier, MS arrived in the States for heart a procedure and is doing very well. He is now the retired bishop of Morondava, Madagascar. He has led a very busy and productive life.
After completing his studies in theology and receiving his licentiate degree, Fr. Donald returned to the States. Stationed in Enfield, NH, he prepared for the missions. In October 1958 he departed for Morondava, Madagascar, arriving in December. Liturgies were still in Latin at that time, so he was able to do limited local ministry while studying the Malagasy language, which he quickly learned.
|Chapter delegation from Brazil:
La Salette Frs. Marcos Antonio
Queiroz, Adilson Schio and
For the last 12 years, Fr, Isidro Perin, MS – originally from the Brazilian Province – has been the Superior General of the Congregation. At the General Chapter in the Philippins last May, after the election of Fr Dennis Loomis as Superior General of the Congregation, I had an interview with members from the Brazilian delegation participating ine La Salette General Chapter.
Fr. Jack asked Fr.Adilson Schio, MS – Provincial of Brazil: What do you see as the reaction of the Brazilian Province to having Fr. Isidro Perin, MS back among you?
Fr. Adilson: We welcome him home with open hearts and arms. We are very grateful for what he brought