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An Assumptionist perspective

AssumptionIn the closing sermon of a retreat that Fr. D’Alzon, founder of the Assumptionists, gave to his religious, he addresses the topic of the meaning of the Feast of the Assumption for members of the Assumption family.

He points out that, in truth “we did not choose this title – it was providentially chosen for us. The words inscribed over the front door of this establishment [Assumption College in Nimes, France] had been there for many years before we took possession of what was to become the cradle of our religious family. It was not we ourselves who chose Our Blessed Lady triumphant in Heaven to be our special protectress. It was she who seems to have looked down from Heaven and said: ‘This house was given to me – I, in turn, give it to you.’” Spiritual Writings, p 1025.

Mary’s Assumption is understood in the context of Mary’s total role as Mother of Christ and Mother of the Church. Fr. D’Alzon saw Mary in that way and so do his sons and daughters in the Assumption family. “The mystery that unifies the life of Mary is the Immaculate Conception; the mystery that fulfills her in glory is the Assumption. Between the two and in order to unify them we discover her compassion.” (Letter to Mother Marie Correnson, Letters VII, pp 140-141). The Assumptionist sees Mary as inseparably united to Christ in His redemptive work. Mary was preserved from original sin, alone among the children of Adam and Eve to have that privilege because she was to be the mother of Jesus Christ, Son of God. Her glorious Assumption is the logical consequence of that beginning, her obedience to the call of the Annunciation and the close union of Mary with Christ during his life on earth.

What are the consequences of this doctrine for us believers? Immense hope for the followers of Christ.

Assumptionists are also sensitive to the importance of this feast for christians of the Eastern Churches. The Byzantine liturgy for the feast of the Dormition of Mary (the falling asleep of Mary) [as the feast is called in the East] contains this troparion:” In giving birth you kept your virginity; in your Dormition you did not leave the world, O Mother of God, but were joined to the source of Life. You conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death.”

Fr. Martin Jugie (1878-1954) Assumptionist theologian and specialist in the theology of the Easter Churches, was a major contributor to the studies that preceded the proclamation of the dogma of Mary’s Assumption by Pius XII in November 1950.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 March 2010 09:51
Help for the Victims of the Fengshen Typhoon PDF Print E-mail

On June 21, a typhoon slammed into Iloilo and Antique regions of the Philippines, causing extensive damage. Please check links below for information sent by members of the new Assumptionist Community in the Philippines:

Letter 1

Letter 2

Letter 3

Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 March 2010 09:51
Community Celebrations - 2008 PDF Print E-mail

On Sunday, May 25, the Feast of Corpus Christi, several friends gathered with the community to celebrate mass and honor those who had recently received advanced academic degrees. Brother Dinh and Tomasz Kierul both received degrees in Theology for the Weston School of Theology. Tomasz’s wife, Natalia, received a master’s in Education from BU and Sheila Vargas, received a similar degree from BC. Mass was followed by a delicious cookout and congenial conversation on a beautifully sunny day.

This was also the occasion to announce that Brother Dinh will be leaving Brighton to assume his duties in the Campus Ministry Team at Assumption College. Adding to the festivities, albeit “in absentia”, were Tomasz and Ana Jaster who became US citizens on May 22.

In his remarks at mass, Fr. Claude noted that we are all members of the Body Of Christ by virtue of our Baptism and that whenever one member accomplishes something we all rejoice. He also reminded the recent graduates that as members of the Body of Christ, they are called to use their knowledge, wisdom and experience for the spiritual and intellectual growth of the Body of Christ.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 March 2010 09:54
Homily at the funeral of Brother Stephen Goguen, A.A. PDF Print E-mail

St. Anne’s Church, Fiskdale, MA

April 23, 2008

The memory of Steve that will be fixed in my mind for as long as I live – perhaps for some of you as well – is an open door, with him sitting behind his desk in his office. The enduring power of this image has to do with the fact that he was almost always there, and he always had time for you.

When Steve said to a number of us that he did not wish to be first remembered as a finance man, he meant by this, I think, that whatever happened when a person walked into his office and sat down next to his desk was more important than whatever he was doing behind that desk. And he always made you feel that way.

This steady presence of his was due, in part at least, to the fact that he was a brother, that he wasn’t busy with the things that priests do. But more than that, it had to do with the person that he was. What you found as you entered that open door, as witnessed by so many of us, was a receptive ear and a sympathetic presence. Not that everything that transpired in those conversations was “heavy, deep, and real,” as we used to say. It was fun to waste time with Steve. (How often I took a break from my ill-fated doctoral work to talk with Steve, who deserves none of the blame for my failure to finish.)

Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 March 2010 09:54
Bro. Stephen Goguen, A.A. Dies PDF Print E-mail

BRIGHTON/STURBRIDGE - Brother Stephen P. Goguen, A.A., 70, died Saturday, April 19, in the Assumptionist Center, Brighton, after a long illness.

He leaves his Assumptionist brothers and nieces and nephews.

He was born in Gardner, son of the late Albert and Angeline (Roy) Goguen. He graduated from Assumption Preparatory School in Worcester and earned advanced degrees in English and Psychology from the SUNY in Buffalo, NY

He was professed as an Augustinian of the Assumption on February 28, 1960. He served in community assignments as a teacher, administrator and formator at Our Lady of Lourdes Minor Seminary in Cassadaga, NY, at Incarnation Parish in Tampa, FL, at Assumption College in Worcester, at Saint Anne’s Church and Shrine in Sturbridge and at the Assumptionist Center in Brighton. He was a trustee of Assumption College since 1982.

The funeral was held on Wednesday, April 23, at 10:00 AM in Saint Anne and Saint Patrick Church, 16 Church Street, Sturbridge. The Rev. Dennis Gallagher, A.A., Regional Superior, was the principal concelebrant. Among the concelebrants were the Very Reverend Marcel Poirier, A.A., Provincial Superior of North America. Burial was in Saint Anne’s Cemetery, Sturbridge.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 March 2010 09:48
A history of miracles PDF Print E-mail

New statue at shrine carries on a tradition




The Rev. Peter R. Precourt, pastor of St. Anne-St. Patrick Parish and director of the St. Anne Shrine in Sturbridge, stands next to a marble statue of St. Augustine that will be unveiled and dedicated tonight at St. Anne Church. (T&G Staff/DAN GOULD)

At about 5:10 p.m. on June 9, 1953, the whirlwind that came to be known as the “Worcester Tornado” crashed into Assumption College in Worcester , shrouding it with menacing, black-ink clouds and furiously pummeling it with fist-sized hail, driving rain and train-roaring winds.

When the skies abruptly cleared, the Greendale campus lay in ruin.

A priest and two nuns were killed.

Given the damage from the storm and the cost to rebuild, it looked like the decades-old presence of the Augustinians of the Assumption Order in Worcester was over.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 March 2010 09:53
The Summer Issue of our newsletter PDF Print E-mail

theassumptionist2_07.jpgThe United States’ Region has had to live through difficult moments this summer. We regret to inform you that two very special Assumptionists have died in the past few weeks. Fr. Albert Emile Brochu, A.A., founder, and for many years director, of the Assumption Guild, died on June 30th. He was buried in the Assumptionists’ plot in St. Anne’s Cemetery in Fiskdale, on July 3rd. On August 13th, Fr. George H. Tavard, A.A., internationally recognized theologian and ecumenist, died suddenly at the airport in Paris, France, as he was boarding a plane to return to the United States. Fr. George was buried in Paris.

In this issue of the newsletter we present the Assumptionist retirement home in Worcester. A.A. Fathers Robert Fortin and Eugene LaPlante, and Brother Armand Lemaire share their thoughts with Pat Haggerty. In addition, Beth Fleming offers the reflections of three pilgrims (Fr. Donat Lamoth, A.A., Sr. Noula Cotter, R.A. and Liz Clayton) who were in Rome on June 3, 2007, for the canonization of Marie-Eugénie de Jésus, Foundress of the Religious of the Assumption. There are also the stories of two Assumptionist Center Lay residents, Brian and Christian, who give their important witness to the Assumptionist groundwork of building Christian Community.

Also in this newsletter our team was joined by Joe Pagano, who will keep us informed about the Assumptionist lay initiatives in the North American Province and around the world.

Lastly, for the first time in the history of our newsletter, you will find a request to join in our annual financial appeal to support the Assumptionists.

Once again, thank you for your continued support and encouragement of our newsletter. If there is anything that you would like to share with our team, please do not hesitate to contact us by e-mail at:

For more stories and information click here.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 March 2010 09:50
Cassadaga Reunion - Part Two PDF Print E-mail

On August 28, 2007 a second reunion was held for our Cassadaga colleagues at St. Anne's in Fiskdale, MA. This year's gathering had some new faces and many others who were in attendance last year (see the pictures below). How many times can you reminisce about the "good old days?" Apparently quite often. The Cassadaga Trivial Pursuit game was especially fun with many of the questions (and answers) generating lots of discussion. It would appear, however, that we need some practice on our Gregorian chants. Just ask Joe McMaster who was absolutely terrific as our choir director.

Special thanks to the "organizing committee" Milty Malboeuf, Al Gaulin, Kip Muldoon, Richard Gallant, Richard Donais, Tomasz Kierul, and Harry Aubuchon. Thanks also to Fr. Roger Corriveau who was the principle celebrant and homilist, Fr. Robert Fortin who was co-celebrant, and to Fr. Peter Precourt for hosting us at St.Anne's.

Next up, Milty and "Mama" Luzak will start organizing a 2008 Pittsburg bash!! Hope to see many of our PA colleagues and what a terrific mini-vacation it will be for our New England classmates.

More info at -


Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 March 2010 09:51
Obituary: George H. Tavard - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette PDF Print E-mail

Obituary: George H. Tavard / Respected theology professor at Mount Mercy College
Feb. 6, 1922 - Aug. 13, 2007

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

By Eleanor Chute, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Rev. George H. Tavard was a theology professor for just seven years -- 1959 to 1966 -- at Mount Mercy College, now Carlow University, but his impact was so great that for decades alumnae looked forward to seeing him at reunions.

Father Tavard, 85, died suddenly Monday in a Paris airport. He had been visiting a brother and a sister in France and was on his way back to Boston, where he resided.

Father Tavard, who chaired the theology department at Mount Mercy, was a charming man with a French accent -- he was born in Nancy, France -- and the ability to teach students at the then women's college how to think for themselves.

"He was invaluable in my life," said Catherine Linarelli-Hammack, of Arlington, Va., class of 1963. "It was an awakening experience to take a theology course from him. It wasn't the usual catechism, laid out stuff. It was historical and thought-provoking. ... He taught me to think on my own about a lot of things."

Father Tavard officiated at her wedding 42 years ago, and he visited the couple's home enough that their grandchildren referred to him as "Uncle Tavard."

He awoke at 5:30 each morning to pray.

"There was just this feeling of continued intellectual pursuit and peace when he was with you," Ms. Linarelli-Hammack said.

Cassie Greco Ruane, of Shadyside, class of 1965, said that as she visited other Catholic colleges for student government activities she saw what Father Tavard was teaching was "way beyond" the others.

"We were learning 20th century theology," she said. "It was an intellectually rigorous approach and a departure from what was standard fare in Catholic colleges at the time."

Former Carlow President Sister Grace Ann Geibel was not at Mount Mercy during Father Tavard's tenure but saw him repeatedly over the years.

She said, "If you ever met him, what you would see is a simple person, very quiet, but he just showed this genuine interest and warmth. This came through to the students," she said.

She said students looked forward to seeing him at reunions and "hung on every word" when he said a closing Mass.

His impact reached beyond Mount Mercy.

During his Mount Mercy years, Father Tavard attended Vatican Council II as a "peritus conciliaris" named by Pope John XXIII and consultant to the Pontifical Secretariat for the Unity of Christians, according to the Web site of his order, the Augustinians of the Assumption.

Jubilee, a Catholic magazine, once called him "one of the most articulate ecumenists in America."

His biography on the Web notes that he has "lectured and written extensively in the areas of historical theology, ecumenism and spirituality."

His work included being part of dialogues between the Catholic church and the World Methodist Council as well as the Catholic church and the Anglican church and the Catholic church and Lutherans.

Father Tavard studied at the Grand Seminaire de Nancy and the Catholic Faculties of Lyons in France and earned a doctorate of sacred theology from Lyons. He was ordained in 1947.

In addition to Mount Mercy, he taught at Assumption College, Penn State University and Methodist Theological School in Ohio, where he retired as professor emeritus in 1990. He also has been a visiting professor at various universities, including Catholic University of America and Princeton Theological Seminary.

A memorial is planned for the alumni reunion Mass at 11:30 a.m. Sept. 30 in St. Agnes Center of Carlow University.


Eleanor Chute can be reached at or 412-263-1955.
Original Story at - 


Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 March 2010 09:49
Walter Cardinal Kasper's letter PDF Print E-mail

The following message was sent by Walter Cardinal Kasper, the President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

Dear members of the Assumptionist order, dear family and friends of Fr. George Tavard,

It is with sadness that we have learned of the sudden death of Father George Tavard. His life was a life dedicated to the restoration of unity among Christians, and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity owes a geat debt of gratitude to him. He served as a consultor of the then Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity through the years of the Second Vatican Council and up until 1973. He was a member of the dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion from its inception, soon after the Council, until 1981, and then was asked to serve on the International Methodist-Catholic Dialogue Commission from 1982 until 2006. He also served on the Catholic Church's dialouges with Lutherans and Anglicans in the United States. The Pontifical Council had planned to honour Fr. Tavard during the course of the meeting of the Methodist-Catholic Commission in October next, for his uninterrupted participation in national and international dialogues since the end of the Second Vatican Council.

He must be considered one of the great pioneers in Catholic ecumenical work, who put his mind, heart and soul at the service of Christian unity over six decades; indeed he was still diligently engaged in ecumenical work until the time of his death. His commitment to ecumenical relations through patient dialogue and rigorous historical scholarship was marked by a boundless energy and an intellectual creativity which spoke of the presence of the Holy Spirit in his lifelong ministry of reconciliation. As we now join you in bidding farewell to our colleague and friend, we commend him to the Lord, confident that the Good Shepherd will be eager to embrace one who has served so well his desire that all might be one.

Yours sincerely in Christ,

Walter Cardinal Kasper

Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 March 2010 09:51
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