Brother Leonard J. Melanson, M.S., , a Missionary of Our Lady of La Salette, 95, died June 15, 2021 at the La Salette Hartford House in Hartford, Connecticut. He was born November 8, 1925 in New Bedford, Massachusetts, son of the late Peter and Emeline (Marcotte) Melanson. He attended St. Joseph Parochial School in New Bedford and studied with the Franciscan Friars at St. Francis College Seminary in Biddeford, Maine, prior to entering the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette Novitiate in East Brewster, MA on July 1, 1950, where he made his First Profession on July 2, 1951 and he professed his Perpetual Vows on July 1, 1956 in Jones, Isabela, Philippine Islands.
Brother Leonard journeyed to the Philippines in 1955 to join other La Salette priests and brothers ministering to the people in the Cagayan Valley in Northern Luzon. He returned to the States in 1961 and was asked to carry out various apostolates in New England. He assisted at the Mission Procure Office in Southbridge, MA and maintained the property at the Center Harbor Retreat Center in New Hampshire, as well as the Shrine in Enfield, NH. He returned to the Philippines in 1965. There, he served at the Santiago Seminary until 1968, moving on to ministry in Quezon City until his return to the States in 1970. Brother Leonard studied Nursing at the Boston Scholasticate in 1971. In Attleboro, MA, he and other brothers managed the heating system in the old stone building and grounds of the seminary. He also continued to assist at the Mission Procure Office in Southbridge, MA, as well as being a Physical Therapist and nurse. At various intervals in his religious life, he assisted in the care of the sick and elderly La Salette members, as well as caring for his own elderly parents.
Brother Leonard was known for his sense of humor and his laughter; yet at work, he was very focused and thorough. His faith, work ethics and love of Our Lady of La Salette were all learned through his mother's example. Those who knew Brother Leonard spoke of three characteristics: honesty, sincerity and fidelity as a friend.
In addition to his La Salette confreres, Brother Leonard is survived by his five sisters; Therese Champoux, Pauline Audette, Lucille (Jack) Mello, Dianne Foisy, Carol (Daryl) Miller, and his three brothers; Gilbert, Roger and John. He was predeceased by three brothers and a sister; Raymond, Lewis, Wilbrod Melanson, and Marie Walsh.
IN CONNECTICUT: A private Mass will be concelebrated on Friday, June 18, 2021 at the La Salette Chapel of Hartford House, Hartford, CT.
IN MASSACHUSETTS: The wake will be held at the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette in Attleboro, Massachusetts on Friday, June 18, 2021, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm; with a Mass of Christian Burial on Saturday, June 19, 2021, at 10:30 am. The burial will be at the La Salette Cemetery in Enfield, New Hampshire.
Contributions in his memory may be made to: Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette retirement Fund, 915 Maple Avenue, Hartford, CT 06114-2330.
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Published by Sun Chronicle on Jun. 17, 2021.