Augustinians of the Assumption

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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
Father George Tavard, A.A. dies suddenly in Paris PDF Print E-mail


Father George H. Tavard

Georges Henri Tavard was born in Nancy, France on February 6, 1922. He made profession of religious vows as an Assumptionist on December 27, 1943 and was ordained to the priesthood on March 2, 1947.

He received a Doctorate in Theology from Universite Catholique de Lyon in 1949.

After spending a few years in England, he came to the United States in 1952 and has been here ever since.

Fr. Tavard was a Peritus at the Second Vatican Council serving especially with the Protestant delegation. He held several teaching positions at American Universities and Seminaries, most notably at the Methodist Theological School in Ohio and Marquette University in Milwaukee.

Fr. Tavard authored over 55 books and numerous articles, mostly on ecumenical subjects. Until his death he was busy writing and lecturing.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 March 2010 09:49
Marie-Eugenie Milleret de Brou Declared a saint by Pope Benedict XVI PDF Print E-mail

by Father Donat Lamothe, A.A.

It was a great privilege to be present at the canonization of Blessed Marie- Eugenie, founder of the Religious of the Assumption, which took place during the Mass on Trinity Sunday, June 3, 2007 celebrated by Pope Benedict in the great space within the arms of the Bernini Colonnade before St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. But the celebration lasted for three days, not counting the pilgrimage that many sisters and friends had taken in the preceding week to places in France associated with the new saint.

I arrived from Paris Saturday afternoon and began my participation in the events with the vigil service held in St Gregory VII church in the evening of June 2. When we arrived at the church, its main level was already filled and we had to find place in the crypt of the building that also was filled to capacity. The vigil service lasted about an hour and contained hymns and readings from Holy Scripture and the writings of Marie Eugenie. Those of us in the crypt could hear what was going on upstairs but could only contemplate the slide of the official icon of Marie Eugenie projected on a screen before the altar. It was a prayerful moment very conducive to entering into the spirit of the event.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 March 2010 09:55
Cardinal Sean O'Malley PDF Print E-mail

Cardinal Sean O’Malley, OFMCap, honored the community in Brighton with a friendly visit on Thursday, July 26. He arrived at 6:00PM, led us for the Evening Prayer (Vespers) and had dinner with us. Being a man of simple Franciscan tastes, he neither made any long speeches or excpected any special treatment other than that of a fellow "Friar."



Cardinal Sean O’Malley, OFMCap. at the Assumprionist Center

Fr. Claude welcomed the cardinal in the chapel before Evening Prayer assuring him of the prayer of the community especially as he meets the numerous challenges of this great Archdiocese. Cardinal Sean asked numerous questions of our student brothers and was genuinely interested to know more about the Assumptionists. Before leaving, he posed for a group photo on the steps of our house. This photo appeared in his weekly “blog”.



Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 March 2010 09:50
Biography of Blessed Marie-Eug PDF Print E-mail

VATICAN CITY, MAY 30, 2007 ( Here is an adapted version of a biography of Blessed Marie-Eugénie of Jesus (1817-1898), which was published by the Holy See. Benedict XVI will canonize the woman religious on Sunday.

Marie-Eugenie of Jesus


Anne-Eugénie Milleret was born in 1817 in Metz after Napoleon's complete defeat and the restoration of the monarchy. She belonged to a nonbelieving and financially comfortable family and it seemed unlikely that she would trace a new spiritual path across the Church of France.

Her father, a follower of Voltaire and a liberal, was making his fortune in the banking world and in politics. Anne-Eugénie's mother provided the sensitive daughter with an education, which strengthened her character and gave her a strong sense of duty. Family life developed her intellectual curiosity and a romantic spirit, an interest in social questions and a broad worldview.

Like her contemporary, George Sand, Anne-Eugénie went to Mass on feast days and received the sacraments of initiation, as was the custom, but without any real commitment. However, her first Communion was a great mystical experience that foretold the secret of her future. She did not grasp its prophetic meaning until much later, when she recognized it as her path toward total belonging to Jesus Christ and the Church. {mospagebreak}

Her youth was happy but not without suffering. She was affected when still a child by the death of an elder brother and a baby sister. Her health was delicate and a fall from a horse left serious consequences. Anne-Eugénie was mature for her age and learned how to hide her feelings and to face up to events.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 March 2010 09:38
Cassadaga Reunion Committee meeting PDF Print E-mail

In attendance:

Roland Malboeuf, Al Gaulin, Kip Muldoon, Richard Gallant, Richard Donais, Tomasz Jaster, Tomasz Kierul, Frank (Harry) Aubuchon


  • New members were brought up to date, contact lists, Alumni Update document and Associates program description were passed out

  • Names and original home addresses of class of 1970 was passed to all

  • More work needs to be done to track down students from other classes

  • Summer reunion will be held on Sunday August 26th at St. Anne in Fiskdale to hopefully attract those who are away during the summer

  • Kick off will be earlier (9am) to allow for more "reunion time"

  • Separate Mass for just Cassadagans and guests

  • Catered lunch for 50-75 people targeted at $10-12 per head

  • Activities during the day to possibly include, volleyball and/or bouncy bouncy (with medics standing by), Trivial Pursuit (Cassadaga style), "skits" honoring some of our "favorite" priests/brothers/classmates, ping pong and chess

  • Formal announcement regarding Associates of the Assumptionists - info will also be pre-mailed

  • Email blast to hold the date will go out in the next few days, and post card follow-up shortly after

  • Regional reunions will be planned for 2008 and 2009 to be followed by a giant anniversary reunion in 2010 (50 years Cassadaga, 150 years death of Fr. D'Alzon)


Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 March 2010 09:38
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