Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


La Salette Father Gene Barrette, who served in Atlanta, dies

Published July 23, 2015

HARTFORD, Conn.—Father Eugene G. Barrette, a Missionary of Our Lady of La Salette, and former Superior General of the order, died July 6, 2015, in Hartford, Connecticut. He was 75.

He was born May 29, 1940, in Danielson, Connecticut, to the late Joseph and Marie (Mailhot) Barrette. He attended St. James Grammar School in Danielson, high school in Killingly and the La Salette Seminary in Hartford.

La Salette Father Gene Barrette

La Salette Father Gene Barrette

Father Barrette entered the La Salette novitiate in Bloomfield, Connecticut, on July 1, 1960, and made first profession of vows on July 2, 1961. He received his associate degree from the La Salette Seminary in Altamont, New York, a B.A. in philosophy from the La Salette Seminary in Ipswich, Massachusetts, an M.A. in English from Boston College and a S.T.L. in theology and spirituality from the Gregorian University in Rome, Italy. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 27, 1967, in Ipswich.

After ordination Father Barrette served as professor at the La Salette Seminary in Altamont and then as director of scholastics in Rome. Father Barrette was elected to the La Salette General Council in Rome in 1976 and served as Secretary General, as well. In 1982 he was elected Superior General of the Congregation and was the youngest La Salette to be elected to this position.

When he returned to the United States, he served as parochial vicar at St. Ann Church in Marietta. While there, he founded the St. Ann’s AIDS ministry. In 1993, Father Barrette was named pastor at Good Shepherd Church in Orlando, Florida. In 1997, he was assigned as parochial vicar of St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Smyrna, where he promoted adult faith formation, RCIA, retreats, days of reflection, parish missions and discussion groups for finding the spiritual aspects of current movies and exploring popular books in spirituality and contemporary issues.

In recent years Father Gene has resided in the La Salette Hartford House community. He was a prolific and stimulating writer, writing many columns for The Georgia Bulletin and articles for other publications.

Kathy Byrne, a member of St. Oliver Plunkett Church, Snellville, remembered her friend in an email. “Father Gene was deeply in love with God and his people, and he loved talking about him. He once said that he considered it a privilege to visit people who were hospitalized, even in the middle of the night, because he considered the people of the church to be his spouse.”

She added, “He loved bringing people to the Lord’s graces through the sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist and reconciliation.”

Father Gene wrote several heartfelt columns through the years for The Georgia Bulletin about his struggle with depression, among other topics. Byrne wrote, “He was very open about his own personal struggles, yet believed that the Lord works through everyone even in their weaknesses. In his last Christmas letter he wrote, ‘God has put on flesh—slips into every experience we have. No matter what we go through. Listen deeply, hear a voice saying, “I know what it’s like. I’ve been there.” It’s the Voice of Jesus. Our Saving Companion. Emmanuel. God With Us.’”

She said, “Father Gene was deeply loved.”

In addition to his La Salette confreres, he is survived by a brother and sister-in-law, Ernest and Diane Barrette, of Dayville, Connecticut; several nieces and nephews, and many friends. He was predeceased by a brother, Norman Barrette.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on July 9 in the Chapel of Hartford House, Hartford, Connecticut. A memorial Mass was celebrated July 15 at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Smyrna. More than a hundred parishioners of St. Thomas the Apostle and St. Ann in Marietta combined offered moving tributes to Father Barrette on their respective parish Facebook pages.

Burial will take place at a later date at the La Salette Shrine in France.


Contributions in Father Barrette’s memory may be made to: Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette Retirement Fund, 915 Maple Avenue, Hartford, CT 06114-2330. To share a memory with the community or family, please visit