|La Salette|||||L a S a l e t t e A s s o c i a t e s|
While the origins of the La Salette Associates go back to the 1970s
in Enfield, New Hampshire and Attleboro, Massachusetts, it was in
2005 that Fr. Dennis Loomis, then Superior of the North American La
Salette Province, Mary,
Mother of the Americas, appointed an ad hoc committee. Its
This committee was formed from an already existing board made up of members the Enfield and Attleboro Associates with Fr. Gilles Genest, joined by Kathleen Crawford from St. Louis and Fr. Dennis Meyer. Early discussion led to the realization that there were many kinds of "association" with the Province, including the two groups of formal Associates (Enfield/Attleboro) which were "in covenant," i.e. took formal promises.
The committee found that it was made up mainly of Associates; Fr. Genest had long been involved in the formation of these formal groups. As a result it became the "Associates Board" rather than a committee to look into association.
In considering the by-laws or program of the Associates, the Board found that these reflected the origin of the two groups, which had begun with people working with the Missionaries and in many ways depending on them. Thus admission and membership as well as most of the functions were governed through the La Salette Missionaries. The by-laws were re-written to reflect a parallel group, governed and functioning independently, but with cooperative and close ties to the La Salette Missionaries through the Province. The focus of the Associates is the charism and they are defined by their dedication to the Church's charism of Reconciliation in their way of life.
After this refocusing, a number of groups have emerged. They usually come into being through the dedication and enthusiasm of lay leaders rather than Province organization. There are now formal groups in Attleboro (MA), Enfield (NH), Laconia (NH), New Bedford (MA), St. Louis (MO); and emerging groups in Fitchburg (MA), Carlyss/Sulphur (LA), and Windsor (Ontario, Canada). There is also a group in California connected to the Philippines Province.
The Board has begun a process to reflect new groups in membership on the Board.
Each year there is an Assembly of Associates, usually in Attleboro, MA, in October. The program for Associates calls for a yearly retreat and this along with the other formation presentations has involved a number of La Salette Missionaries and is an opportunity to learn about the charism and the work of Reconciliation especially as carried out by the Congregation.