Pere Laval Pilgrimage

Pere Laval(18 September 1803 - 9 September 1864) was a Roman Catholic priest and missionary to Mauritius. He lived amongst the emancipated slaves, learnt their language and devoted himself wholeheartedly to their moral and spiritual upliftment.

Jacques Laval was beatified on 24 April 1979, the first of 1,340 people beatified in the pontificate of Pope John Paul II. The date of Père Laval's death has become a holiday for many Catholics in Mauritius and is marked by a festival and procession to the site of his tomb in Ste Croix. Pere Lavale's devotees walk to his shrine throughout the night. One of their favourite stops along the way is the ISKCON Food for Life stall. On September 9th 2010, Devotees of the Harinam and Food for Life teams from Phoenix, Bon Acceuil and the Congregational Preaching Directorate prepare and serve puris and hot sabji to the eager pilgrims all evening, until about 2 AM. This year about 18 000 puris were distributed. Vrsabhanu prabhu, coordinator for Phoenix Food For Life, describes his experience: "Our devotees were very tired after Janmasthami but when they saw the enthusiasm of the crowds for prasadam, they became enlivened and served them happily. The people were so eager for prasadam that we couldn't control them. We just couldn't serve them fast enough. This is the potency of prasadam." Photos of the free prasadam distribution can be viewed here. Photos courtesy of Vicky Somrah.