Skip to comments.OUR LADY OF LA SALETTE [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Posted on 09/19/2007 10:06:07 AM PDT by Salvation
OUR LADY OF LA SALETTE
TWO POOR CHILDREN
Two children were destined to be the witnesses of Mary's apparition at LaSalette: Maximin Giraud and Melanie Calvat. They were very poor, but without guile, simple and straight-forward.
Maximin Giraud lived in the town of Corps with his father, a wheelwright by trade. He was only 17 months old when his mother died. His father soon remarried.
Maximin grew up in haphazard fashion, spending much of his time with carefree abandon in the company of his dog and goat as they roamed the streets of Corps.
Attendance at school was not compulsory and so he never frequented classes. The same was true with regard to religious instructions.
Maximin spoke the patois or local dialect as did everybody in town, but he did learn a few words of French as he circulated among the wagon-drivers and travelers at the stage coach relays. He was 11 years old in 1846.
Melanie would soon be fifteen years of age but she did not look it. She too was from Corps. Her father was a pitsawyer by trade but did not hesitate to take whatever job he could find because of the large family he had to support; between 1827 and 1844 nine children were born to the Calvat couple. Melanie was the fourth.
She was hired out as a shepherdess by the farmers of the locality before she was 10 years old. In the spring of 1846 she was in the service of the Pra family at Albandins, on of the hamlets of LaSalette.
Such a life away from home caused her to grow up puny and withdrawn. She also was unable to read or write. As she was never present at the catechism classes, the local pastor was unable to admit her to First Communion.
Neither of the children knew each other, as Melanie only returned to Corps during the winter months.
ONE DAY IN AUTUMN
During mid-September, 1846, one of the farmers of Ablandins, Pierre Selme, was in need of a cow-herder as his regular shepherd was sick. So he descended to Corps and called upon his friend, the wheelwright Giraud.
"Loan me your son Maximin for a few days," he said to Giraud.
"Memin, a shepherd? He is much too scatterbrained for that!"
They argued and finally came to terms and thus, on September 14th, young Maximin arrived at Ablandins.
On the 17th, he noticed Melanie in the hamlet. On the 18th they went together to watch over their cows on the communal grazing lands on the slopes of the mountain known as "sous les Baisses" (now, le Planeau).
During the afternoon, Maximin tried to converse with Melanie, but she at first remained sullen. They did, however, learn that they had one thing in common: they both came from Corps. As a result they became more friendly and agreed they would watch over their cows tomorrow in the same place.
So on Saturday, September 19th, 1846, the two children climbed the mountain at sunrise, each prodding the four cows confined to each other's care, with Maximin's goat and dog tagging along.
When the Angelus rang at noon from the steeple of the LaSalette village church nestled in the valley far below, the two shepherds led their cows toward "the fountain of the beasts", a little pool of water formed by the stream with flowed down the ravine of the Sezia. (This pool was located a few meters above where the present-day bridge is located over which the pilgrims reach the church and visitors' residences.)
Then they chased their cows toward a grassy knoll on the slopes of nearby Mount Gargas (where the winding outdoor procession takes place daily). It was warm and the cows laid down to chew the cud.
Meanwhile, Miximin and Melanie climbed the hillock to the "fountain of the men" on the left bank of the stream.
Neat the fountain the children sat and ate their noonday meal of bread and cheese. Two boys and a girl, who had been watching over their cows in the dale lower down, arrived at the fountain and stopped to chat briefly.
After they had left Maximin and Melanie descended a few feet and crossed the stream where there was a pile of stones and, close by, the empty hollow of a dried-up stream which flowed only after the melting snow or when there was an abundant rainfall. It was known as the "little fountain". (The next day, September 20, it would be observed that this dried-up fountain had begun to flow again, and it has never ceased flowing since.)
A GLOBE OF FIRE
Near this little fountain, the two children lay down on the grass and fell asleep. How long their slumber lasted is not certain - half an hour perhaps, or three quarters an hour, or possibly more.
In any case, Melanie suddenly awoke and called Maximin.
"Memin, Memin, let us go and find our cows, I cannot see them anywhere."
Of course, being at the bottom of the little ravine, they could not see the meadow where they had left them. Quickly they climbed the slopes opposite Mount Gargas. Turning around they could view the entire alpine pasture land and were greatly relieved to see that their cows had remained where they had been left, peaceable chewing the cud.
Reassured, Melanie began to redescend toward the dried-up fountain to recover her little sack of provisions before once again watering the cows.
Half-way down the grassy slope she paused immobilized, frozen with fear.
"Memin," she called out, "look at that great light over there."
"Where is it," the boy replied, as he ran and stood at her side.
At the very spot where they had slept was a globe of fire. In the children's words, it was as if the sun had fallen there.
The light swirled, then grew in size and, opening, disclosed within it a woman, seated, her head in her hands, her elbows on her knees, in the attitude of one oppressed with grief.
Melanie, in her fright, raised her hands and dropped her shepherd's staff, Maximin though only of defending himself.
"Keep your stick," he said to her, "I will keep mine and will give it a good whack if it does anything to us."
Even after she conversed with them, the children could not identify their heavenly Visitor. They would simply call her "the Beautiful Lady".
THE BEAUTIFUL LADY
The beautiful Lady now stood up while the children remained transfixed where they were.
"Come near, my children, be not afraid. I am here to tell you great news," she said to them in French.
Fully reassured by those words, the children hurried to meet her. Her voice, they said, was like music. They approached so near her that, as they later expressed it, another person could not have passed between them and her. The Lady also took a few steps toward them.
They looked at her and noticed that she did not cease weeping all the time she spoke to them. As Maximin put it, "She was like a mama whom her own children had beaten and who had escaped to the mountain to weep."
The beautiful Lady was tall and seemed to be made of light. She was dressed like women of the region with a long dress, an apron nearly as long as the dress, a shawl that crossed over her breast and was knotted in the back, and a cap or bonnet similar to the ones worn by peasant women.
Roses crowned her head while another wreath of roses adorned the edges of her white shawl and a third garland surrounded her shoes. Over her brow shone a light in the form of a diadem.
On her shoulders shone a heavy chain and from a smaller golden chain hung a resplendent crucifix with a hammer and pincers placed on each side of the Cross, a little beyond the nailed hands.
The unknown Lady now spoke to the children.
"We were drinking her words," they would say later, adding, "she wept all the time she spoke to us."
Come near, my children, be not afraid; I am here to tell you great news.
If my people will not submit, I shall be forced to let fall the arm of my Son. It is so strong, so heavy, that I can no longer withhold it.
For how long a time do I suffer for you! If I would not have my Son abandon you, I am compelled to pray to him without ceasing; and as to you, you take not heed of it.
However much you pray, however much you do, you will never recompense the pains I have taken for you.
Six days I have given you to labor, the seventh I had kept for myself; and they will not give it to me. It is this which makes the arm of my Son so heavy.
Those who drive the carts cannot swear without introducing the name of my Son. These are the two things which makes the arm of my Son so heavy.
If the harvest is spoilt, it is all on your account. I have you warning last year with the potatoes ('pommes de terre') but you did not heed it. On the contrary, when you found the potatoes spoilt, you swore, you took the name of my Son in vain. They will continue to decay, so that by Christmas there will be none left.
The French expression, "pommes de terre", intrigued Melanie. In the local dialect the word for potatoes was "las truffas", whereas "pommes" for Melanie meant the fruit of the apple tree. Hence she instinctively turned toward Maximin for an explanation, but the Beautiful Lady forestalled her.
Ah, my children, do you not understand? Well, wait, I shall say it otherwise.
If you have wheat, it is no good to sow it; all you sow the insects will eat, and what comes up will fall into dust when you thresh it.
There will come a great famine.
Before the famine comes, the children under seven years of age will be seized with trembling and will die in the hands of those who hold them; the others will do penance by the famine.
The walnuts will become bad, and the grapes will rot.
Here the Beautiful Lady addressed the children separately, confiding to each a secret. She spoke first to Maximin, and though the little shepherd did not perceive that her tone of voice had changed, Melanie at his side could not hear a word, though she still saw the Beautiful Lady's lips moving.
Then came Melanie's turn to receive her secret under similar conditions. Both secrets were given in French.
Again, addressing the two children in the idiom familiar to them, the Lady continued:
If they are converted, the stones and rocks will change into mounds of wheat, and the potatoes will be self-sown in the land.
Do you say your prayers well, my children?
Both answered with complete frankness. "Not very well, Madam."
Ah, my children, you must be sure to say them well morning and evening. When you cannot do better, say at least an Our Father and a Hail Mary. When you have time, say more.
There are none who go to Mass except a few aged women. The rest work on Sunday all summer; then in the winter, when they know not what to do, they go to Mass only to mock at religion.
During Lent, they go to the meat-market like dogs.
Have you never seen wheat that is spoilt, my children?
"No, Madam," they replied.
But you, my child, you must surely have seen some once when you were at the farm of Coin with your father.
The owner of the field told your father to go and see his ruined wheat. You went together. You took two or three ears of wheat into your hands and rubbed them, and they fell to dust.
Then you continued home. When you were still half and hour's distance from Corps, your father gave you a piece of bread and said to you: "Here, my child, eat some bread this year at least; I don't know who will eat any next year, if the wheat goes on like that."
Confronted with such precise details, Maximin eagerly replied, "Oh yes, Madam, I remember now; just at this moment I did not remember."
Then the Lady, again speaking French as the beginning of her discourse and when giving the secrets, said to them:
Well, my children, you will make this known to all my people.
These were her last words.
Meanwhile, the two witnesses were still standing motionless at the spot where the conversation had taken place, when suddenly they realized that the heavenly Visitor was already some steps away from them.
In their eagerness to join her again, they ran across the brook and were with her in a moment. Thus, in the company of Maximin and Melanie, the Lady moved along, gliding over the tips of the grass without touching it, until she reached the top of the hillock where the children, after their sleep, had gone to look after their cows. Melanie proceeded her by a few steps, and Maximin was at her right.
On reaching the summit, the Lady paused for a few seconds, then slowly rose up to a height of a meter and a half. She remained suspended in the air for a moment, raised her eyes to Heaven, then glanced in the direction of the southeast.
At that moment, Melanie, who had been standing at the left of the Lady, came in front in order to see her better. Only then did she notice that the celestial Visitor had ceased weeping, although her features remained very sad.
The radiant vision now began to disappear.
"We saw her head no more, then the rest of the body no more; she seemed to melt away. There remained a great light," Maximin related, "as well as the roses at her feet which I tried to catch with my hands, but there was nothing more."
"We looked for a long time," Melanie added, "to see if we could not have another glimpse of her, but the Beautiful Lady had disappeared forever."
The little shepherdess then remarked to her companion, "Perhaps it was a great Saint."
"If we had known it was a great Saint," said Maximin, "we would have asked her to take us with her."
The message of Our Lady of La Salette in many ways is still meaningful today. Our constant prayers and our faith will lead us to a closer relationship with God, as our Lady hopes for while she continually directs us to her Son.
In so many ways in our world today, we continue to use our Lord's name in vain, and we continue to disobey the command to keep the Sabbath day holy. We must be prayerful, faithful, and obedient.
FROM THE BISHOP
On September 18, 1851, Bishop Philibert de Bruillard, Ordinary of Genoble issued his "doctrinal pronouncement". Its basic message is the following:
We judge that the apparition of the Blessed Virgin to two shepherds on September 19, 1846 on a mountain of the Alpine chain, situated in the parish of La Salette, of the archpresbitery of Corps, bears all the characteristics of truth, and that the faithful have grounds for believing it to be undeniable and certain.
"The apparition of our mother on the mountain of La Salette is not a new doctrine, it is a new grace. It is the revelation of the love and compassion for us that exist in heaven."
Thus wrote Bishop Ullathorne of Birmingham, England in 1854, as he described the subordinate role of an apparition and its concrete influence on the history of our salvation.
Pope John Paul II Speaks Out on La Salette
Dear Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette... under the gaze of Mary's motherly presence among the People of God, constantly invite people to conversion, communion and solidarity. Do not hesitate to proclaim to your brethren that God walks with people, that He calls them to new life and encourages them in order to lead them to true freedom. The quality of your spiritual and community life will be a particularly eloquent expression of the authenticity and fruitfulness of your proclamation of the Gospel message.
"As I wrote on the 150th anniversary of Our Lady: 'La Salette is a message of Hope, for our hope is nourished by the intercession of her who is Mother of mankind.' May the proclamation of this hope always be at the heart of your encounter with men and women today. Through it our contemporaries can be assured that divisions are not irreparable and that it is always possible to repent of one's infidelities in order to build a reconciled humanity and to follow the Lord. For nothing is beyond God's reach."
(Address to the 29th General Chapter of the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette)
Memorare to Our Lady of La Salette
Remember, Our Lady of La Salette,
true mother of Sorrows,
the tears you shed for us on Calvary.
Remember also the care you have taken
to keep us faithful to Christ, your Son.
Having done so much for your children,
you will not now abandon us.
Comforted by this consoling thought,
we come to you pleading,
despite our infidelities and ingratitude.
Virgin of Reconciliation,
do not reject our prayers, but intercede for us,
obtain for us the grace to love Jesus above all else.
May we console you by living a holy life
and so come to share the eternal life
Christ gained by His cross. Amen.
Intercession to Our Lady of La Salette
Our Lady of LaSalette,
Reconciler of Sinners,
pray without ceasing
for us who have recourse to you.
**She gave Maximin his secret which he never revealed. She then turned to Melanie and gave her a secret which Melanie revealed 30 years later only to the Holy Father, who gave orders that it was never to be revealed. **
Again we have unrevealed secrets.
During Lent, they go to the meat-market like dogs. >
strong words, it's too bad nothing has changed.
Marker for tomorrow. Taking my 91 year old mom to the hospital now — hoping it’s not pneumonia.
God bless you. My father is now 96, but is in Nebraska while I am on the W. coast.
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