July 20, 2011.
A large group of LaSalette Missionaries from the four corners of North America came together in Atlanta, Georgia this evening in preparation for the first annual Lay Summit. I confess that I was not there. I am still not there. My spouse, Isabel M. Dion is there. She called me from her hotel room at just before midnight, local time. She was very emotional and very grateful for the opportunity to imbibe the teachings about LaSalette spirituality that will be imparted during the next three days. Had it not been for the thoughtful generosity of the Province of Our Mother of the Americas, the opportunity to be a carrier of the message back to the faithful in the Southern California area entrusted to the LaSalette Missionaries would be lost. Southern California would be without a lay messenger who had been exposed to the current understandings of the message itself. So the Summit got off to a dynamic start. Mass, a keynote presentation by Rev. Fr.Joseph Bachand, MS, Provincial Superior of the Mary, Mother of the Americas province and a formal welcome by the pastor of the host parish, of which both names escape me. More precise information about these events can be obtained by clicking here www.lasalette.org.
What struck me during my conversation with Isabel was the message from the pastor that the spirituality of the LaSalette Missionaries is that of Hospitality as well as Reconciliation. It is true, that the officially recognized spirituality and charism of the missionaries is Reconciliation, but the people who know us, know that we are high on the hospitality charts. This something that is often overlooked by the missionaries themselves. It most often requires that someone from the outside mention it. In this case, the host pastor mentioned it in public just two days after it had been mentioned in the St. Christopher Information Night Meeting on July 18. In fact, I am the one who brought it up during my short presentation entitled, "Who are we?" I grew up and was educated in a parish maintained and operated by LaSalette Missionaries. The mark of the LaSalette "Brand" in those days was hospitality. In fact, the French Canadian community who was being served by these missionaries, and others, would refer to them as "Les p'tits peres de LaSalette." [The little LaSalette Fathers] The max compliment to these humble priests for whom hospitality was the most important human virtue that they practiced. I mentioned it in Southern California on Monday night and it was mentioned again in Georgia on Wednesday. There must be something there, right?
That's it for tonight. Don't forget to click on the Icon of the Weeping Mother to visit www.lasalette.org for more information and insights on the Lay Summit.