Transition to Tradition (oct06ttr.htm)

October 2006
vol 17, no. 262-292

Two Hearts of Self-Sacrifice

A special child of Christ, Susan Gallagher,
helps Father Philip La Plante return to full
health and the fullness of tradition that he may
complete his earthly mission for God.

Denise M. Trias

A Prodigal Priest returns to Tradition and health thanks to the grace and goodness of a selfless soul, Susan Gallagher, who believes very strongly that God works in mysterious and marvelous ways just as He promises in Matthew 25: 40, "Amen, I say to you: as long as you did it to one of these, My least brethren, you did it to Me."

      Editor's Note: The following is a story of living the Beatitudes, of doing all one can do in imitating Christ in clothing, feeding, sheltering and nursing the least of His brethren, for indeed as Our Lord says we did it for them, we did it for Him for that is true love, to love others for the love of God. This is the story of two committed souls, consumed with love for the less fortunate; one a Catholic woman who surely exemplifies the true meaning of "Catholic Action" as the pre-conciliar Popes defined it, and the other a priest entrapped within the clutches of the Masonic Novus Ordo tentacles. Though ordained at the zenith of Pope Pius XII's pontificate, the reasons for this priest taking the Oath against Modernism, just as countless other true sacerdotes had done and abandoned, were clouded and blinded by the murky ink of the syncretic squid which has squeezed blind obedience from them as it sought to crush their spirit by emphasizing the aggiornamento spirit over the Holy Ghost. Anyone who is familiar with the latest depiction of Davey Jones' and his amphibious monster in Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Men's Chest can relate with the analogy of the denizen of the deep. Because the waters have been so dark, few have been able to see the clear rippling waters of Traditional Catholicism as it has always been. Once in a while the great conciliar Octopus lets down its guard, relaxes its grip just a bit, perhaps to squeeze all the more with another arm to quell yet another threat to their unsteady entrenchment established over the past 40 plus years. On one such occasion through divine providence, Father Philip LaPlante was momentarily freed from the powerful pressure of this monster, and allowed to see the clear water - if just for a short while - by tasting the refreshment of the Immemorial Canonized Traditional Latin Mass. Tasting truth for the first time in decades, he wanted more and the mealy, barnacle-encrusted monster stretched an alarmed tentacle to reel him back into its clutches. But this time he resisted and that prompted the ire of its full wrath as you shall see in Denise Trias' article below.

    " Why in the world would Fr. LaPlante's religious order turn against him to not let him return home and put him on this medication against his doctor's orders? As well, the modernist Marists took Fr. LaPlante off of his health insurance as Susan said, stole his car, took away his 300-member mailing list of support for the homeless and transferred to themselves the $250,000+ funds that Father had raised specifically earmarked for the use of helping the homeless."

    While many are familiar with the saying, "Idleness is the devil's workshop," and therefore strive to be busy, there is a follow-up to that which needs to be heeded, and that can be found in the 4th Principle to the Interior Life for active workers - "The busier you are, the more you need the interior life." (The Soul of the Apostolate, by Dom Jean-Baptiste Chautard, O.C.S.O, p. 194 copyright 1946 By the Abbey of Gethsemani, Inc.) That, of course, is because works without faith are dead, but faith with good works gains great grace. For the ten years that I have known my Latin Mass friend, Susan Gallagher, this has been her constant struggle - in balancing the active verses the contemplative life. She came to me first asking for a list of convents from my Latin Mass directory and over the years she visited a few, longing for that contemplative life of prayer in common with others. She had a dream of opening up a Catholic bookstore with a library and coffee shop. She also talked often about wishing traditional Catholics around Boston would find a way to live in a community somewhere together and she, being a dental hygenist would clean everyone's teeth and they would have one another for prayer support.

    I first met Susan during my short stint at the indult location of Holy Trinity in Boston in 1997 before I quickly moved to other Latin Masses. I remember being first struck by Susan's no nonsense fiery personality and later by her deep devotion to the Blessed Mother. Susan and another friend approached me one day, knowing that I had a newsletter I wrote called The Saints Club, a society dedicated to the study of the lives of the Saints. They wanted my family to start a rosary group at our home. Thus began an interesting and long friendship of rosary once a week and later turned into stop in visits by Susan after work to see me and my children at our home in Quincy, MA. Susan spent many Thanksgivings with our family when we invited the single people with no families into our home.

    At the time I remember Susan talked often about a friend of hers - Father Philip LaPlante. He helped the homeless. He also ministered to the sailors who came to port in Boston. Susan was always telling Father about the Latin Mass and how she dreamed that one day he would return to saying it as he had been ordained in 1948. Fr. LaPlante was like a real father to Susan.

    Susan herself had a special place in her heart for the homeless. She talked often about a man named Billy who lived near Fr. LaPlante's church whom she was trying to help get off the streets. Night after night Susan would bring him blankets and food and talk to him about God and taught him the rosary. One day Susan brought Billy to my house on my daughter's birthday. Everyone I knew told Susan to give up on Billy, even my neighbor at the time who had a day job helping the homeless. Susan though was not one to give up. Billy today helps other homeless people get off of the streets. He does to others now as Susan did to him. ("Learn to do well: seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge for the fatherless, defend the widow." -Isaias 1:17)

    I remember Susan helping others as well. She would hear about someone in the paper being taken advantage of by the Department of Social Services and would soon be by their side, helping them get back on track.

    When I first knew Susan she told me about her work in pro-life. She worked four days a week as a dental hygenist and the other two she spent out in front of the abortion mills, praying her rosary, protesting abortion and trying to talk women out of abortions. Knowing little babies were being murdered in the womb every day, Susan could not stomach just sitting by. In her later years Susan spent many hours out in front of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston alerting everyone to the fact that children were being murdered and rather than just being saved in this hospital.

    So, one night this past July when Susan called me to her side when Fr. LaPlante ended up in Brigham and Women's Hospital after having a grand mal seizure, I found it very ironic in deed. Just a few hours before I had seen Fr. LaPlante at the South Shore Hospital where he lay at death's door. Later he was transferred to Brigham and Women's where Susan had previously protested against the hospital doing abortions.

    Little did Susan realize that one day God would take her wish literally to help her friend Fr. Philip LaPlante. Father had been a longtime novus ordo pastor at Our Lady of Victories parish on Isabella Street, just off the Mass Pike in Boston, Massachussetts. Recently I stepped into the church to take some pictures and was edified by a magnificent high altar, untouched by the reforms of Vatican II. Father Phil had been a runner and was in pretty good shape, but last summer was having trouble with balance. Susan took him to the doctor to find that he needed a shunt put in his head as he had water on his brain.

    After the elective surgery, Father was supposed to go home, but his Marist brothers violated doctors orders to send him home to Isabella Street and instead kidnapped him. They shipped him out to a nursing home in Framingham and put out a trespass order against Susan so that she couldn't help him even though she was his health care proxy. Susan describes the circumstances as follows:

    "Fr. LaPlante's modernist Marist brothers violated doctor's orders to discharge him home. Instead, he was kidnapped and sequestered to the Marist retreat house as nursing homes called my house. Apparently a plan was foiled to intercept Fr. Phil from the hospital since they already secured their names on his bank account. After arriving in Framingham, Father was disconnected from his regular doctors who would not put him on a drug called Coumadin because of it's dangerous side effect of bleeding, otherwise known as the thinning of the blood. But, Fr. LaPlante's brothers had him put on Coumadin. After three months on it, his brain bled with two subdural hemotomas. They also discontinued his blood pressure pills causing a pontin stroke. While he was recovering in rehab, they drained his bank account and discontinued his secondary medical insurance."

    The stroke happened in early February. Being that Fr. LaPlante was put in the hospital, Susan was able to finally have access to him and not only did she return to Father's side as his health care proxy as he had requested of her, but she quit her job to personally take care of him in the hospital, then at rehab and finally at home.

    Why in the world would Fr. LaPlante's religious order turn against him to not let him return home and put him on this medication against his doctor's orders? As well, the modernist Marists took Fr. LaPlante off of his health insurance as Susan said, stole his car, took away his 300-member mailing list of support for the homeless and transferred to themselves the $250,000+ funds that Father had raised specifically earmarked for the use of helping the homeless through his mission as Boston Waterfront Chaplain for the Apostolatus Maris

    The answers lie in the events of 2005. On May 31, 2005, the Feast of the Queenship of Mary, Fr. Philip LaPlante allowed a traditional Catholic priest to say the ancient Mass of All Ages - the Traditional Latin Mass, in the sanctuary of the high altar of Our Lady of Victories Parish. I remember being invited, but personally chose not to attend because I don't believe in attending the true Mass in the same sanctuary where the novus ordo sacrileges are happening.

    This many months later, though, I can see how God allowed the event to plant a seed in Fr. LaPlante's soul. As Susan described to me later, "Fr. LaPlante was telling his confrere's 'You should have seen that Mass. It was the most beautiful, holy, reverent Mass. I don't know why they ever stopped doing that beautiful Mass!'"

    As expected, word got out that Father LaPlante had traditionalist leanings. Fr. LaPlante had made visits to some traditional Catholic Sisters who had come to Boston earlier that year. He met and became friendly with their priest, Fr. Benedict Hughes and came to an Epiphany Party that I hosted in Woburn for the traditional Catholics of the Boston area.

    At present, Fr. LaPlante's Marist brothers have not returned his personal belongings to him. Susan and Father though are learning to not look back, but ahead instead. Father has survived a stroke and a grand mal seizure. He is starting to walk again, is attending regularly the traditional Latin Mass in his wheelchair, praying his rosary again and reading along in the traditional Missal with Susan. After lunch he's enjoying video's such as What We Have Lost...and The Road to Restoration ("In the Spirit of Chartres" Committee Inc.) and The Vacancy (Richard Jamison 1-805-375-1550) and various video's and tapes of the lives of the Saints. Father may never be able to fully say Mass again in public, but one thing he has decided for sure: he has a nice goal to aim for to help himself get better. He is going to say the Latin Mass in private and return to wearing his biretta. "Is it here yet?" he asks Susan. He is waiting for the tapes to arrive that will reteach him the rubrics of the Latin Mass. Susan also got Father on video saying that if he dies he wishes to have a traditional funeral with the traditional Latin Mass.

    Susan and I seem to have a lot more in common these days. We talk about getting our charges dressed and bathed and not being able to go any where without them. The only difference seems to be age. I am dealing with five little children. Susan is dealing with a grown man. Susan still struggles with balancing the active and the interior life, but one thing through it all she has learned of most import is "God's will. All that matters is God's will," she says.

    My four year old son laughs as Fr. LaPlante puts his watch out of reach and makes my son jump for it. Susan and I look at each other. Taking care of others is a ton of work. But, his laughs now make it all worth it. On February 6th, Fr. LaPlante had a stroke and many of us thought he would be dead. Then in July he had the seizure. Today he is playing games with my little son who not too long ago, dealing with his own turmoils, said he hated God. Susan and I know one thing: Father Phil will help my son love God again, starting by his own example of priestly caring and sharing toward him.

    Fr. LaPlante spent his life helping others, helping the homeless. Now it's his turn to receive help from others in his time of homelessness.

    Susan has started a fund to meet the needs of her taking care of Father LaPlante. If you would like to donate in any way, please e-mail me, Denise Trias, at Also, any Masses and prayers for Father and Susan are appreciated, especially for Father LaPlante's journey home to Tradition and, God willing, to full recovery.

    This is just the beginning and, hopefully, from this small seedling of hope will spring forth a harvest of more novus ordo priests finding the priceless treasure that only the Traditional Latin Mass can produce. Traditional seminaries are growing, but we're talking years away for many ordinations to take place. In the meantime there are many Fr. Philips out there waiting for those special Susans whom God has put in their paths to bring many needed priests back to the fold.

    For past articles of Transition to Tradition, see 2006ttr.htm Archives

    October 2006
    vol 17, no. 262-292
    Transition to Tradition