Published January 11, 2018
MARIETTA—La Salette Father Roger J. Plante, senior priest in residence at St. Ann Church in Marietta, died suddenly on Dec. 9, 2017. He was 82.
Father Plante was born in Springvale, Maine, on March 19, 1935, son of the late Ovila and Diana (Mailhot) Plante. He attended La Salette Seminary in Enfield, New Hampshire, and entered the La Salette Novitiate in Center Harbor, New Hampshire, on July 1, 1954.
Father Plante pronounced his first vows on July 2, 1955, and made his perpetual profession on July 2, 1958. He continued studies for the priesthood at La Salette seminaries in East Brewster and Attleboro, Massachusetts, and in Rome, Italy, where he received his bachelor of arts in theology from Angelicum University in 1960 and licentiate in sacred theology in 1962. He studied moral theology at Alphonsus University in Rome in 1963-1964.
Father Plante was a skilled educator, and his early assignments were mainly serving as professor or director in La Salette seminaries in New England.
He was recognized as well for his leadership skills and qualities and was chosen by the Province of Mary Immaculate to serve in administrative capacities, including treasurer, provincial councilor and provincial superior.
From early in his priesthood, Father Plante was drawn to help those in need by giving them tools to be self-sufficient. He founded a co-op in New Hampshire to assist people in growing and harvesting their own food. In 1974, this covered 25 acres (formerly the La Salette Seminary grounds) for people to grow vegetables. He then used the La Salette cannery to preserve foods for low-income people to purchase at a reduced price. In addition to his assigned ministry, Father Roger also worked untiringly for many years with UNBOUND, an organization that partners with families living in poverty to assist them in becoming self-sufficient. His life was filled with caring for those around him, especially the poor, in meeting their spiritual and material needs.
Father Plante also served as a chaplain at the La Salette Holy Mountain in France, where the apparition of Our Lady of La Salette occurred; director of the La Salette Retreat Center in Attleboro, Massachusetts; and assisted at the Enfield Shrine and Center in Enfield, New Hampshire and most recently at St. Ann Church in Marietta.
In addition to his La Salette confreres, Father Plante is survived by his brother, Robert, and his wife, Mary Beth; his sister-in-law, Bibian Plante; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by a brother, Rene, and a sister, Madelein.
A Mass of the Resurrection was celebrated Dec. 14 at St. Ann Church. Burial will be at the La Salette Cemetery in Enfield, New Hampshire, at a later date.
Contributions in memory of Father Plante may be made to: Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette Retirement Fund, 915 Maple Avenue, Hartford, CT 06114-2330.