La Salette Missionaries:
Fr. Philip Naw Aung, MS Superior
Fr. David Kyaw Kyaw Lwin, MS Parish Priest of Chanthagone
Fr. Jerome Eiphan, MS Myitkyina
Fr. David Kyaw Zwa Latt Parish Priest of Myauk Kine / Myitnge
Fr. William Phyo Wai MS Parish Priest of Zaw Gyi
Fr. Patrick Kyaw Lin MS Parish Priest of Sinbyu
Bro. Nicholas MS Sinbyu
Fr. Lucas MS Postulancy Director
Fr. Robert Zaw Lwin, MS Spiritual Director
Fr. Bernie MS Apostolate to Farmers
Fr. Nicodemus: Georgia USA
Fr. Valentine: La Salette, France
Responding to the call of Our Blessed Lady to be reconciled and to reconcile, who appeared on the mountain at La Salette to Maximin and Melanie, the La Salette Missionaries in Myanmar (Burma) strive to be true La Salettes in the Myanmar context.
Myanmar (Burmese) History of La Salettes
On November 9, 1937, five missionaries led by Msgr. Thomas Newman, MS arrived in Akyab (now Sittwe), Arakan (now Rakhine), India (now Myanmar). With great difficulty these American La Salettes tried to adapt themselves to a strange culture. The odds were against them. The spicy food, the harsh terrain, the isolation, the deceased infected area, poor facilities and infrastructures were very trying. Not one complained even one died within a few months and another had to go home because of the nervous breakdown. Bangladesh used to be the poorest in the area but Arakan was worse and that was what they started with.
During the World War II, the American (foreigners) were all in concentration camps and suffered terribly. After the liberation the missionaries enjoyed a few years of freedom and grew in both numbers and territory. After the independence (January 4, 1948) visas were difficult to get. In 1962 the military government made it impossible for them to do anything. After all the schools were nationalized in the mid-sixties the missionaries decided to close the only hope they have of their future: their minor seminary or the apostolic school, Then the foreigners were refused renewal of their visas the La Salettes decided to close the missions (November 1976).
Only one from the minor seminary became a priest and finally a La Salette. Fr. Mya Thein (Bernie Taylor) was able to bring some young high school graduates to the Philippines and in 2004 (May 4) four young Myanmar La Salettes became priests. A new mission was re-established in the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary on the 18th of November 2005. Now there are 13 Myanmar La Salette priests ministering in four different countries. With the new formation program in place, many more will be joining the ranks of these illustrious missionaries. Below is the picture of the Superior General Very Rev. Fr. Silvano Marissa and the District Superior taken at the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the La Salette Missionaries in Burma (Chanthagone, Paleik Township, Mandalay Division, Myanmar Nov. 9, 2012)