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Fr. Jean Berthier, M.S. – a Leader, Writer and Founder



We are exploring briefly the life of the Venerable Jean Berthier, Missionary of Our Lady of La Salette, and Founder of the Congregation of the Missionaries of the Holy Family. Why do we call him “Venerable? Because he lived his life in a spirit of holiness, zeal, dedication, and love, and Pope Francis declared him Venerable on May 19, 2018.

Who was Jean Berthier?

medicFr. Jean Berthier, M.S., as a young La SaletteHe was the eldest of six children, born into a devout Catholic Family in the village of Chatonnay, France on February 24, 1840. Chatonnay is still today just a small town in the southeastern part of France, thirty-two miles west of Grenoble.

When Jean was just six years old, his grandmother whispered into his ear one evening, telling him about a wonderful event that had taken place just a few weeks earlier. Our Blessed Mother had appeared in the mountains at La Salette, just fifty miles from where their live. Two small children saw her. She came, seated, in tears, surrounded by a very bright globe of light. She was crying all the while as she spoke.

The reality of the words of the Beautiful Lady of La Salette would touch even the life of the Berthier family; four of Jean’s sisters and brothers. who would die very young? The evil of sin is contagious and harms even the innocent. Jean’s health was fragile all his life and would cause him to suffer greatly; but he would live.

His early calling, schooling and seminary life

At an early age, Jean decided he wanted to become a priest. His parents supported his decision and enrolled him in schools where he could get good education. Even though Jean’s health was not robust, he studied diligently and excelled. Later he entered the seminary.

Read more Fr. Jean Berthier, M.S. – a Leader, Writer and Founder

The Joys and Hopes of My First Year as a La Salette Priest

On June 5th, 2022, I will celebrate my first year of the priesthood as a La Salette Missionary. Reflecting upon my first year as a priest brings me great joy as I can serve the people of God through my priestly ministry. As a La Salette Missionary, I can connect the message of La Salette with the church's sacramental life.

La Salette and Reconciliation

EF8A4033 01bJoseph Everton, M.S., being ordained to the Priesthood in Our Lady of the Cape Church in Brewster, MAThe core of the La Salette message is reconciliation. Each sacrament provides an opportunity to invite others into the reconciling love of God. Especially the sacrament of penance as a person encounters the reconciliatory grace and forgiveness of God's mercy and love. Being a priest allows me to be a vehicle of God's grace to others.

Accompanying others to experience the grace of reconciliation between God, themselves, and others is the apostolic work of a La Salette Missionary: “Our congregation is called to be a sign and instrument of the work of Reconciliation accomplished by Christ and with which Mary” (La Salette Rule of Life). It is a great joy to witness the transformational effect of the sacrament of penance in another person's life as they find the healing they need to live a robust faith.

Ongoing formation

Becoming a La Salette Missionary is a process of formation and education. The formation process of a La Salette Missionary prepares the person to develop their La Salette identity as one learns the congregations’ history, spirituality, and apostolic ministries. A La Salette Missionary's formation is ongoing as we continually grow in our lives and faith.

As a new priest, I am learning how to merge my La Salette identity into the life of the priesthood. I must constantly learn how to live out my vocation to religious life and the priesthood each day. My vocation to the priesthood and religious life is not for myself but for others. Therefore, I must develop an attitude of selflessness as I live out the call of my vocation. Self-giving can seem exhausting, but I receive back what I give to those I serve the care and support I need to rejuvenate me within my first year as a priest.

Read more The Joys and Hopes of My First Year as a La Salette Priest

Whales, Water, and Whitecaps – Bro. David Eubank’s vocation

sister ruth marie penksa e1483626503648 417x280 02bSr. Ruth Marie Prenska, G.N.S.H. (1934-2016), a truly devoted Campus MinisterThe campus minister works in an environment that is rich with possibility and serendipity. To me, this ministry is a call to be present, be aware, believe that God is at work through me and in spite of me.

This God tale is one that recounts the story of David Eubank. Like his biblical counterpart, David is small of stature, the good kid, a youth unnoticed, pursuing his interest in environmental science on a campus located in the inner city.

A chance meeting

I came to know David when some of his science club friends suggested that I be one of the advisors on their whale watch excursion to Cape Cod in 1990. I was personally excited about the idea of whale watching, so I packed my bag and joined this group of budding scientists. We returned enriched by our experience at sea and our new-found friendships. This was played out by their frequent visit to the Campus Ministry Center, Room 275 of SUNY Erie Community College-City Campus in Buffalo, New York.

Read more Whales, Water, and Whitecaps – Bro. David Eubank’s vocation

Fr. William’s Vocation Story

I’ll outline my vocational journey by answering some basic questions.

What was my vocational background?
Untitled 1Fr. William Kaliyadan, M.S.I was that little mischievous but faithful altar boy who surprised my neighbors and friends with my plan to join the seminary. As I look back, I see how my parents who were faithful with our daily family prayer, going to Mass, nurtured the hidden seed of vocation in my life. I can’t dismiss the fact, how my two uncle priests and two cousin priests, and four aunties who are nuns made that gentle influence on my discernment. I always joke about how religiously I was polluted as a child! And God does have a sense of humor!

When did I first think of the priesthood or religious life?

I can remember when I first started thinking about the priesthood. I was in ninth grade and an altar server; when I was little, like every kid, I had wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer, some kind of work where I could help people. And it occurred to me one day, as a junior, that if I wanted to help people the most, I could try to help them get to heaven. Thanks to the nuns who were my educators.

When did Ichange your mind to become a La Salette?

Read more Fr. William’s Vocation Story

Meet Fr. Zéphirin Rakotomalala, M.S.

Fr. Zéphirin, who is your family of origin?

My parents have had 18 children, and I am the 5th. My dad worked in a textile factory in Antsirabe. There are was not much money in our home. Many times, I waited for his return to have a little money to pay for the noon meal at school .

How did you come to know about La Salette?

Read more Meet Fr. Zéphirin Rakotomalala, M.S.

Meet Fr. Vimencio Ignacio, M.S.

Vimencio Ignacio has been a Filipino, La Salette missionary for over twenty years. From his ministry on the Holy Mountain he retraces the main stages of his vocation which led him to the four corners of the world and helped him summarize the message of Our Lady of La Salette in two words: humility and perseverance.

What is your family background?

Vimencio IgnacioFr. Vimencio Ignacio, M.S., concelebrating Mass on the Holy Mountain in FranceFr. Vimencio Ignacio was born on Dec. 8, 1959. My father’s name is Victorino and my mother’s name is Esmelda. I lost my father in 1987. My mother was been a teacher but was the mother of four boys. of which I am the eldest . One of my brothers, an engineer and engaged in politics, died in 2007. Another brothers is an engineer, a genius in mechanics, who now lives in the United States. My youngest brother is an architect but he has chosen his area of specialty, agriculture. He is now a farmer.

What connected you with La Salette?

I studied in a High School managed by the Missionaries of La Salette in San Mateo, Philippines, fifteen miles east of Manila. I've had Fr. Maurice Cardinal as my Director. I entered the Seminary of San Luis, in the northern Philippines. From there my class went to the University of La Salette in Santiago City in the Province of Isabela. I was then sent to Silang, Cavite, a place of pilgrimage dedicated to Our Lady of La Salette, to study the philosophy and then to Tagaytay City for my Theology. Then I was sent for my pastoral formation to three different nearby parishes.

Read more Meet Fr. Vimencio Ignacio, M.S.

Making Mary’s message known to all her people

What is your basic family background?

My name is Biju Abraham Chempottickal. was born on February 2, 1975 in Kerala, in southeast India where the St. Thomas the Apostle arrived in 52 AD to begin his Christian missionary journey. I belong to the Syro-Malabar Rite of the Catholic Church.
Biju IndiaFr. Biju after concelebrating Mass outside on the Holy Mountain of La Salette in France
What is your religious background?

Although India is a secular country, I was well-educated in my faith. For about ten years, every Sunday I went to Religious Education class.

What would you like to point out about your vast and beautiful country of India?

India is a multicultural country. There are twenty-two official languages. India has no national language but the official language of the government is Hindi. English is widely used in business and administration and has the status of "official subsidiary language.” It is important in education, especially in higher education.

The language of Kerala is Malayalam. When I was 10 years old that I began to learn English. I also have some knowledge of Hindi, Kannada, Konkani, Tagalog from the Philippines, and Syriac, a dialect of Aramaic, as well as Sanskrit.

How did you first meet the La Salette Missionaries?

In 1990, it was a Carmelite priest from our parish who introduced me to the La Salette seminary nearby.
My family was very faith-filled. In fact ,each evening my entire family used to pray for an hour before our evening meal. We would pray the rosary, read scripture, and join in prayers of praise to God and requests for various needs through the intercession of the saints.

Read more Making Mary’s message known to all her people

La Salette Islands of Reconciliation

Editor: Joanie Sutherland has had a longtime involvement with La Salette and is presently a parishioner of Our Lady of the Cape Parish in Brewster Massachusetts. She graciously shared her faith journey with several fellow parishioners on Sept. 10, 2018.

I have been blessed to have had so many spiritual opportunities to deepen my Christian faith in my life, having participated in retreats, workshops, trainings, conferences, seminars, missions, parish councils, committees, faith formation groups, international events, and Cursillo, but I have never been asked to share my faith through a witness talk, if you will, and I’m feeling lots of mixed emotions as I talk about my life journey with you. I trust God will help me through this and you will be forgiving listeners, too.

To provide a little backdrop perspective, I am the product of a large Christian Catholic family and I thank God –and my parents – for that. They provided a strong foundation. I participated in a CYO Drum & Bugle Corps at St. Mary’s Parish in Beverly, Massachusetts while in High School.

Learning to enjoy life with people of different faiths

untittled 1from left: Fr. William Kaliyadan, M.S., pastor of Our Lady of the Cape with Joanie Sutherland after her talkI went on to enjoy my young adult YMCA years working with youth and teens directing a YMCA-Church Basketball League for girls while coaching my Parish Team. It was an inter-faith youth league in the 70’s engaging Catholics, Protestants and members of the Jewish faith in organized programs serving over 250 teens from local faith communities. These were formative years for strengthening my faith and Christian work.

I dedicated my 40+ year career with the Y in both Beverly and on Cape Cod to the mission and values of the YMCA – that is, to put Christian principles into practice through programs and services that promote a healthy body, mind and spirit.

A Work in Progress

Well, while my body suffered the changes of advance years, my mind continues to be challenged, and my spirit is a continual work in progress given my own human faults and failures, joys and sorrows, challenges and sinfulness.

My life has changed over these years and I am now enjoying the fruits of my labors, having retired from my paid work. However God has called me to do more and still challenges me today in ways I could have never imagined. And this talk pushes me beyond and outside my comfort zone – but I know now that God will give me the courage to persevere.

Read more La Salette Islands of Reconciliation

Getting to Know Our New Indian La Salette Priests

Untitled 1In many places in Western Society, vocations to the priesthood and religious life are few and far between. Concluding the message for the 2018 World Day of Prayer, Pope Francis said, “Today the Lord continues to call us to follow him. We should not wait to be perfect in order to respond with our generous ‘yes’, nor be fearful of our limitations and sins, but instead open our hearts to the voice of the Lord.”

However in my native land of India, we have been blessed with many vocations! In fact, I was fortunate to be visiting my homeland when six young men were ordained to the priesthood for our La Salette Matha Province. There was such enthusiasm, energy and hope expressed by these young priests. Please pray for these and other vocations across our world as you read the stories of these six new La Salette priests from India.

Read more Getting to Know Our New Indian La Salette Priests

Meet Fr. Rizal Pedro Campos Acosta, M.S.

Where were you born and raised?

Meet Fr RizalFr. Rizal in front of Sts. Peter & Paul Church, Bauang, La Union, Philippines; Photo of Church: Ramon F Velasquez
I was born in Bauang, La Union, northern Philippines. I spend most of my young one hour away, in Baguio City. My mother’s name was Magdalena Calica Campos, and was employed at home. My father’s name was Pedro Dumo Acosta, and was a power plant technician for Voice of America in Baguio City for 33 years. I’m the fifth child of nine children, five girls and four boys.

How did you first hear about La Salette?

I went to elementary and secondary school in Baguio City. When I enrolled in St. Louis University in Baguio City, I met some La Salette Seminarians and learned more about their community and decided to enter.

What is your formation experience?

Read more Meet Fr. Rizal Pedro Campos Acosta, M.S.

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