A lifetime of healing. Interesting testimony of Fr. Phil Salois MS about his experience in Vietnam and his vocation to became a Missionary of La Salette.
“I said a quick prayer to God,” he says. “I said, ‘You know, God, I’m going to go out there and rescue these guys. This is a crazy thing to do. If you get me out of this mess safe and sound without a scratch, I’ll do anything you want.’”
Salois began studying – the “first time in my life I really enjoyed studying” – and passed the test in 1972. A couple of years after joining the seminary, he was walking through the woods, praying the Rosary, when he had a flashback to the battlefield.
“I remember saying to God, ‘You know, God, I’m really happy here. I’m really glad you called me here,’” Salois says. “And I heard that inner voice say to me, ‘Well, do you remember that promise you made to me four years ago?’”
Five American La Salette missionaries ventured to the unknown land of Myanmar (Burma) eighty years ago and started their mission in Arakan State, following the mandate of Our Lady of La Salette to make the message of reconciliation known. Subsequently, they founded Prome Diocese with Bishop Thomas Newman, MS as the first bishop of the Diocese. The missionaries left the country when the situation in the country turned unlivable for foreigners. Nevertheless, the growth of the Church continued under the diocesan clergy.
The La Salette Missionaries returned to Myanmar and reestablished the mission in Mandalay Diocese in 2005 with Myanmar La Salette priests trained in the Philippines. The mission and vocation continue to grow in the country.
To further the growth of the missionaries in Myanmar and of the entire congregation, the District of Myanmar has been elevated to the status of Region by the 2017 Council of Congregation in Bangalore, India.
Through the intercession of Our Lady of La Salette, may God continue to bless the newly erected Region of Myanmar as well as all the La Salette Missionaries working in different corners of the world.
ks. Philip Mahka Naw Aung MS
This year the Council of the Congregation was held in India, at Bangalore (the official name of the former Bengaluru). A city of 11,000,000, it continues to grow in the direction of Electronic City, a growth that might, unfortunately, be described as uncontrolled. A few decades ago, the largest software companies began establishing themselves here, where labor was cheap. This attracted thousands of young professionals looking for work. Developers build wherever they find space. Huge houses have sprung up like mushrooms after a rain. Opposite our seminary and provincial house, built in 2002 in what was the outskirts of the city, there now stands, among poor homes, a whole city of ten-story buildings.
The meeting began on February 6 and will end on February 26. Present were all the Provincials (from India, the Philippines, Angola, Madagascar, Italy, France, Poland, and Brazil), as well as the Regional Superior of Argentina-Bolivia and the Superior of the District of Myanmar, with, of course, the General Council, the General Treasurer, and two translators: Jack Nuelle, and Belarmino Tchipundukwa, who is also General Secretary. During the sessions of the Council of the Congregation, each Provincial presented a report on his Province, focusing on experiences since the last Council of the Congregation, joys and problems. This Council of the Congregation also discussed the elements of a unified Formation Program for the whole Congregation; international programs and meetings; the new mission in Tanzania; vocations; the virtual library; software for the General Secretariat accessible to all Provincial Secretaries; the Commission of European Provincials (KEP); the role and formation of La Salette Laity; and preparation of the next General Chapter.