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Meet Fr. Silvano Marisa, M.S.

Fr. Silvano Marisa, M.S.,
newly-elected Superior
General, La Salette
Where were you born and raised?
I was born in northern Italy in the Province of Trento, in Boccaldo, a little village of only 66 people, nestled in the mountains.
My family were very simple peasant farmers – my father and mother, my three brothers and one sister. My parents, now deceased, were both from the same region. My father was born in our village, which was then under the previous Austrian empire until our liberation in 1918. My mother was born in a nearby village. My parents were married when they were both in their early 20’s. 
Boccaldo, the small mountain village
in which Fr. Silvano was born
How did you hear about the La Salette Missionaries?
Among the principal buildings of the nearby town of Trambileno stands the Sanctuary of Our Lady of La Salette. Located on a rocky outcrop overlooking the capital city, Moscheri, the sanctuary was built in 1856 with money from a noble donation of Rovereto and with the hands of itinerate townspeople who worked in France during the summer. They dedicated the Shrine to Our Lady of La Salette because her message expressed their own concerns as farmworkers: famine, potatoes and wheat.
The shrine has been well-known in the region. In fact, in 1956, we joyfully celebrated the centenary of our little shrine. On that occasion, a La Salette priest, Fr. Macario Caterini, came to preach the La Salette Triduum for that celebration. Our parish priest introduced me to Fr. Caterini, who had travelled from Torino. After we spoke, he invited me to join the Minor Seminary at Salmata since I was just 11 years of age at that time. I then made my Novitiate in Corps, France, my philosophy studies at Lyons and my Theology studies in Rome at the Gregorian University. I was ordained in Naples in our parish on Dec. 16, 1973.

Read more Meet Fr. Silvano Marisa, M.S.

Meet Fr Bernie Taylor

Monastery in Yenangyuang where
Fr. Bernie studied as a young boy

About my call to the La Salette Missionaries… 

My first contact with the La Salettes was at St. Mary’s school in Thayetmyo. I was sent there as a boarder by my father because I was getting a lot of Buddhist influences since my grandmother sent me to a monastery in Yenangyuang to study 
Fr. Bernie Taylor, M.S., with
some orphans of the 2008
Nargis cyclone in Myanmar
my first 3 R’s. Then later I was transferred to St. Peter’s in Mandalay and then on to St. Paul’s in Rangoon (both run by the de La Salle Brothers). 

I joined the La Salette Minor Seminary in Akyab (now Sittwe) in 1962 and was sent to the Philippines the next year. However, since I was still living in Burma, I was not able to get to any La Salette novitiate so I finished my theological studies and was ordained for the diocese of Prome (now Pyay). The La Salettes in the Philippines decided not to let me come back as the La Salette Burmese mission was planning to close. 
I went back to Prome any way and worked in the diocese even after the La Salette Missionaries left. I finally decided to go back to the Philippines when the new bishop assigned me to Rangoon. After a couple of years, I was finally able to finish my novitiate and took my first vows in 1982 (20 years after I entered the apostolic school in 1962).

Read more Meet Fr Bernie Taylor

Meet Fr. Jose Muttathan, M.S.

Fr. Jose Muttathan, M.S.

Where were you born and raised?

I am the youngest of five siblings, born on October 2, 1966 in Panely, Kerala, Southern India. I was in the United States from May to September, sharing information about my life, vocation, formation and ministry while I was preaching mission appeals. 

When did you begin school?

I was late beginning school, at the age of seven. I went to the local government grade school (grades 1 to 4) in Panely. When I was eleven I matriculated to St. Mary’s high school in Kombanad (grades 5 to 10). The next step was going to pre-degree college at Kothamangadam (grades 11-12).

Read more Meet Fr. Jose Muttathan, M.S.

Meet Brother Juan, A La Salette Artist

Bro,. Juan in his workshop
at the Shrine of Our Lady
of La Salette in Siador-
Silleda, Pontevedra, Spain.
His bronze statue of Our Lady of La
Salette seated, turning to welcome
the two children (and us) in the
Attleboro Shrine’s Garden
of the Apparition.
When Our Lady appeared to the two young cowherds at La Salette on September 19, 1846, before ever she spoke a word, her presence spoke volumes. The children were first attracted by the otherworldly globe of light that surrounded her. As they approached, Maximin and Melanie's fears were quelled by the sight of Our Lady seated on a stone, her face in her hands. 
As she looked at them to greet them, they saw she was crying. The light from the crucifix she was wearing, the tears of a compassionate mother, the garlands of roses surrounding her head, shoulders and feet-all these things spoke to the children of the Divine Presence, and made an impact on their lives as deep – if not deeper – than the words she subsequently spoke.
Ever since the children described this scene, artists have tried to capture that Presence. Over the years, devotees of the La Salette Apparition have seen those attempts reproduced in paintings and sculpture. Among the many artists who have depicted that tender scene at La Salette of Mary where she spoke with the two children, we present one member of our Congregation who took seriously Our Lady's call to “make this known to all my people.” 

Read more Meet Brother Juan, A La Salette Artist

Meet Sr. Theresa Hkawn Htoi Kareng, SNDS

Sr. Theresa Hkawn Htoi
Kareng, SNDS

Pope Benedict XVI meeting
with Archbishop Paul Z.
Zinghtung Grawng
Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Myitkyine, Kachin State, North Central Myanmar, I was born and raised as a Catholic, along with my three brothers and one sister. I am the eldest. My youngest brother passed away while he volunteered with youth in a mission on the mountain. He got sick with malaria and died at the age of 18, while I was a novice in the Philippines. 
My father is a very religious man and goes to Mass every morning and always prays for me to be faithful to my call. My mother is very supportive of me being a La Salette religious sister. I am fortunate that my parents and grandmother (aged 95) are very accepting of my vocation and are always praying for me.
How did you hear about La Salette?
When I decided to join a congregation in Myitkyine. I learned about the La Salette Sisters from my cousin, Margaret, who at that time was also thinking of joining the same community in the Philippines. She received information about them from our bishop, Archbishop Paul Z. Zinghtung Grawng and passed that onto her. I also expressed to our bishop that I’d like to join the La Salette Sisters in the Philippines as well. 

Read more Meet Sr. Theresa Hkawn Htoi Kareng, SNDS

Meet Fr. Jim Donagher, M.S.

Fr. Jim Donagher, M.S.

Where were you born and raised?

I was born and raised in Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Hartford, CT, and ironically I’m going back there in January 2012. My mother died when I was seven years of age and my dad was an uneducated immigrant from Ireland. We lived in an unheated flat with no hot water. This experience has helped me live very simply for my entire life. This simple lifestyle brought me to the La Salette Seminary in Hartford, next to my parish church.

My mom was a woman of faith, but I remember snippets of my experience of her. I had two brothers, but both died within a few months of birth.

Where has your life taken you?

I was ordained as a La Salette on May 28, 1966, at the La Salette Shrine in Ipswich, MA. I was always a “rebel” but my assignments included being Prefect of Discipline in Cheshire, CT, and Vocation Director for our community. I loved being vocation director and felt very responsible for bringing youngsters to our seminaries. I will be serving in Our Lady of Sorrows with one of my recruits, Fr. Brian Sheridan!

Read more Meet Fr. Jim Donagher, M.S.

La Salette Sisters and Associates

Sr. Marie-Victoire Rasoamanarivo,
SNDS, speaks at their Chapter
The group of La Salette Lay Associates (AASASNDS) who assist the La Salette Sisters in France was begun from a group of their friends in 2001. After Sister Marie Victoire’s election to her first term as Superior General in 1998, she realized the importance and necessity of the task of seeking out their lay friends to help, especially in the area of business management. So she appealed to them and the various friends of the other La Salette Sisters throughout France. The laity responded well to her appeal. After their first meeting in 2000, it was decided to form an association. This was created in February of 2001, the date on which they officially filed official recognition at the Prefecture of Grenoble.
Unlike associations or groups of lay people who were already friendly with certain nearby groups of La Salette Sisters, the members of this larger group come from different backgrounds, not only geographically but spiritually as well. It is primarily their ties of friendship and support with these Sisters which motivated them to offer their help in any way they could.

Read more La Salette Sisters and Associates

Meet Fr. Hervé Bougeard, M.S.

Fr. Hervé Bougeard, M.S., when he was
rector of the Holy Mountain
Even though you have worked nearly thirteen years on the Holy Mountain, please give us an overview of your life…
I am now sixty-seven years old and was born in Brittany, in northwestern France. My home town is Iffendic, near Montfort-sur-Meu, the area where the renowned Louis Grignon de Montfort spent his childhood. I could have become a Montfort priest but there were Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette in the area who attracted me to our community.
How did your vocation begin?
As a child, I went to parish school of Saint-Péran. The priest was very close to the La Salette Missionaries who were serving in Cucé. They came regularly to assist him in celebrating Mass on major holydays. Since I was an altar boy, the La Salettes visited my parents and spoke with me about becoming a La Salette. As the son of a farmer, I was interested both in manual and intellectual pursuits! Yet in 1956, I had started my four years of college in Cucé, then I went to Voiteur in the Jura area of France, and finally I spent two years in Brittany in formation as a “belated vocation.”

Read more Meet Fr. Hervé Bougeard, M.S.

Bright Future for Sisters

(center): Sr. Maria Josephine; (2nd from right) 
newly professed, Sr. Rosanne Shemchuk

As a La Salette religious community, we have many things to be thankful for to God in our recent past and developing present. Our community is growing by leaps and bounds and growing more in our internationality. 

For example, we just celebrated the first profession of the first American sister in the second generation of our history in North America. Sr. Rosanne Shemchuk, SNDS, professed her vows on Sept. 7, 2011, in our Novitiate House in Fairfax, VA. We see this as a new hope for the missionary presence of the sisters in North America. She is assigned at the National Shrine in Attleboro to strengthen the collaboration of the La Salette Missionaries and Sisters of our Lady of La Salette. Hopefully this will renew the original vision of the first La Salettes, Maximin and Melanie, as male and female counterparts. 

This is also the original dream of Fr. François Denaz, M.S., who first wrote to the bishop of Grenoble when Fr. Denaz was still a novice, saying that he hoped that there would be a male and female presence of La Salettes in the church. This dream is becoming a reality – from France to the Philippines and now in North America. Our multicultural presence in North America includes sisters from North America, the Philippines, Madagascar, and Myanmar and soon from Poland. Our novice from Poland will be serving at the Shrine in Attleboro for four months as an exposure-experience, part of our international formation program.

Read more Bright Future for Sisters

Meet Fr. Jerome

Fr. Jerome Saw, M.S.

Where do you come from and where do you minister?

My name is Father Jerome Saw, M.S. I am presently part of the International Shrine community on the Holy Mountain of La Salette. I arrived from Myanmar (formerly Burma) to serve here in France for a few years at the kind request of our Superior General.
Having lived at La Salette for three years, the place chosen by the Virgin for her appearance 165 years ago, is a real grace for me. I am constantly edified by the faith of pilgrims who come here from around the world. My faith and vocation are strengthened by the Shrine community as we minister here on the Holy Mountain.
I also come to share my ministry experience and relationship with our Buddhists brothers in my country of Myanmar. Eighty-five percent of the population is Buddhist. They are also part of “People of God” about which the Virgin was speaking in her message and part of those to whom we pass on her “good news.”

Read more Meet Fr. Jerome

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