Our Lady of La Salette
|Our Lady of La Salette|
|Location||La Salette-Fallavaux, France|
|Date||19 September 1846|
|Holy See approval||Pope Pius IX
Pope Leo XIII
|Shrine||Basilica of Our Lady of La Salette, La Salette, France|
|Patronage||La Salette-Fallavaux, Silang, Cavite|
Our Lady of La Salette (French: Notre-Dame de La Salette) is a Marian apparition reported by two children, Maximin Giraud and Mélanie Calvat  to have occurred at La Salette-Fallavaux, France, in 1846.
On 19 September 1851, Pope Pius IX formally approved the public devotion and prayers to Our Lady of La Salette, referring to its messages of apparition as "secrets". On 24 August 1852, Pope Pius IX once again mentioned the construction of the altar to La Salette. The same papal bull granted the foundation of the Association of Our Lady of La Salette, formalised on 7 September.
On 21 August 1879, Pope Leo XIII formally granted a Canonical Coronation to the image at the Basilica of Our Lady of La Salette. A Russian style tiara was granted to the image, instead of the solar-type tiara used in its traditional depictions of Virgin Mary during her apparitions.
In 1846 the village of La Salette consisted of eight or nine scattered hamlets. The population was about 800, principally small farmers with their families and dependents. On the evening of Saturday, September 19, 1846, Maximin Giraud and Mélanie Calvat (called Mathieu) returned from the mountain where they had been minding cows and reported seeing "a beautiful lady" on Mount Sous-Les Baisses, weeping bitterly. They described her as sitting with her elbows resting on her knees and her face buried in her hands. She was clothed in a white robe studded with pearls; and a gold colored apron; white shoes and roses about her feet and high head-dress. She wore a crucifix suspended by a necklace from her neck.
According to their account, she continued to weep even as she spoke to them, first in French, then in their own dialect of Occitan. After giving a secret to each child, the apparition walked a hill and vanished. The following day the children's account of the apparition was put into writing and signed by the visionaries and those who had heard the story.
According to the children's account, the Virgin invited people to respect the repose of the seventh day, and the name of God. She sorrowfully threatened punishment, in particular a scarcity of potatoes, which would rot. The context of these punishments places the warning just prior to the winter of 1846–1847, which was in Europe, and especially in Ireland and in France, a period of famine in the months which followed the apparition. This was one of the factors of the apparition's popular appeal.
After five years of investigation, the bishop of Grenoble, Philibert de Bruillard announced in 1851 that the apparition was likely to be a true revelation and authorised the commencement of the cult of Our Lady of La Salette. This determination was later confirmed by his successor, Bishop Ginoulhiac, in 1855.
If my people do not obey, I shall be compelled to loose my Son’s arm. It is so heavy that I can no longer hold it. How long have I suffered for you! If my Son is not to abandon you, I am obliged to entreat him without ceasing. But you take no heed of that. No matter how well you pray in the future, no matter how well you act, you will never be able to make up what I have endured on your behalf.
I have given you six days to work. The seventh I have reserved for myself yet no one will give it to me. This is what causes the weight of my Son's arm to be so heavy. The cart drivers cannot swear without bringing in my Son's name. These are the two things that make my Son's arm so heavy.
If the harvest is spoiled, it is your own fault. I warned you last year by means of the potatoes. You paid no heed. Quite the contrary, when you discovered that the potatoes had rotted, you swore, you abused my Son's name. They will continue to be spoiled, and by Christmas time this year there will be none left. If you have wheat, it will do no good to sow it, for what you sow the vermin will eat, and whatever part of it springs up will crumble into dust when you thresh it.
A great famine is coming. But before that happens, children under seven years of age will be seized with trembling and die in the arms of those holding them. The others will pay for their sins by hunger. The grapes will rot and the walnuts will become worm-eaten. If my people are converted, the very stones will become mounds of wheat and the potatoes will grow self-sown. ... “Ah, my children, it is very important to do so, at night and in the morning. When you don't have time, at least say an Our Father and a Hail Mary, and whenever you can, say more.Only a few rather elderly women go to Mass in the summer. Everyone else works every Sunday all summer long. And in winter, when they don't know what else to do, they go to Mass only to scoff at religion. During Lent, they go to the butcher shop like dogs.
The message of the visionaries of La Salette focuses on the conversion of all humanity to Christ. Though La Salette's message is embedded in the bygone environment of the nineteenth century, rural France, it has had a tremendous impact on the modern world. John Vianney, John Bosco, and writer Joris-Karl Huysmans were all influenced by La Salette. The spirit of La Salette is said to be one of prayer, conversion, and commitment.
Pope John Paul II stated: "As I wrote on the occasion of the 150th anniversary, 'La Salette is a message of hope, for our hope is nourished by the intercession of her who is the Mother of mankind."
Sensation about Our Lady of La Salette arose when Mélanie and Maximin made their message public, which caused the bishop of Grenoble to investigate the apparition. During the investigation, a number of accusations were made against the visionaries, including the assertion that the apparition was actually just a middle-aged woman named Lamerliere.
No mention of secrets is made in the children's first accounts, presumably out of fear they would be compelled to disclose them. The children later reported that the Blessed Virgin had confided a special secret to each of them. These two secrets, which neither Mélanie or Maximin ever made known to each other, were sent by them in 1851 to Pope Pius IX on the advice of Mgr. de Bruillard. It is assumed that these secrets were of a personal nature. Maximin advised the Marquise de Monteyard, "Ah, it is good fortune."
Mélanie's secret, July 6, 1851
Calvat first recorded her revealed Secret on July 3, in Corenc, at the Sisters of Providence residence and it was carried to the Bishop's House. The following day, she said she had not expressed herself well on the misfortunes which were to befall to two cities (Paris and Marseilles): they appeared simultaneous, whereas they were successive. She was asked to rewrite her Secret on July 6, then the Bishop read the document before sealing it. Calvat's statement was:
"The time of God's wrath has arrived! If, when you say to the people what I have said to you so far, and what I will still ask you to say, if, after that, they do not convert, (if they do not do penance, and they do not cease working on Sunday, and if they continue to blaspheme the Holy Name of God), in a word, if the face of the earth does not change, God will be avenged against the people ... Paris, this city soiled by all kinds of crimes, will perish infallibly. Marseilles will be destroyed in a little time. When these things arrive, the disorder will be complete on the earth, the world will be given up to its impious passions. The pope will be persecuted from all sides, they will shoot at him, they will want to put him to death, but no one will be able to do it, the Vicar of God will triumph again this time. The priests and the Sisters, and the true servants of my Son will be persecuted, and several will die for the faith of Jesus-Christ. A famine will reign at the same time. After all these will have arrived, many will recognize the hand of God on them, they will convert, and do penance for their sins. ... Lastly, hell will reign on earth. It will be then that the Antichrist will be born ... That time is not far away, twice 50 years will not go by."
Maximin's secret, July 3, 1851
Maximin Giraud wrote his revealed Secret at the bishop's palace, in front of Bishop de Bruillard's staff on July 3 in the evening. He was asked to rewrite it again because of spots of ink. The Secret was delivered to the bishop sent to the pope. The sealed envelope was countersigned by two witnesses, at 7:00 pm. Giraud's statement was:
"On September 19, 1846, we saw a beautiful Lady. We never said that this lady was the Blessed Virgin but we always said that it was a beautiful Lady. I do not know if it is the Blessed Virgin or another person. As for me, I believe today that it is the Blessed Virgin. Here is what this Lady said to me:
If my people continue, what I will say to you will arrive earlier, if it changes a little, it will be a little later. ... The faith will die out in France: three quarters of France will not practice religion anymore, or almost no more, the other part will practice it without really practicing it. Then, after [that], nations will convert, the faith will be rekindled everywhere. A great country, now Protestant, in the north of Europe, will be converted; by the support of this country all the other nations of the world will be converted. Before all that arrives, great disorders will arrive, in the Church, and everywhere. ... Then, after [that], our Holy Father the Pope will be persecuted. His successor will be a pontiff that nobody expects.
Then, after [that], a great peace will come, but it will not last a long time. A monster will come to disturb it. All that I tell you here will arrive in the other century, at the latest in the year two thousand."
My Most Holy Father, your holy blessing to one of your sheep.
Grenoble, July 3, 1851."
The 1879 approved publication of Mélanie's secret
Although an approved message, unfortunately, people have recently decided to keep this message hidden from public viewing, thus discrediting Mélanie, Maxim and consequently, the whole event of the apparition itself.
In Mélanie's brief initial disclosure written in 1851, Our Lady of La Salette said to Mélanie,
"...when you say to the people what I have said to you so far, and what I will still ask you to say..."
We can see here that Our Lady implied that She would continue to reveal more of the message to Mélanie instructing her to tell people even after her initial documentation in 1851. Continued visitations with further instructions or warnings from Our Lady have been a key element of other Marian apparitions like the one in Fatima, Portugal for example.
It was published at Lecce on November 15, 1879 with the “Imprimatur” of Bishop Zola, and reprinted “ne varietur” at Lyon in 1904, a few months before Melanie's death. The original text is as follows:
“Melanie, what I am about to tell you now will not always be a secret. You may make it public in 1858.
“The priests, ministers of my Son, the priests, by their wicked lives, by their irreverence and their impiety in the celebration of the holy mysteries, by their love of money, their love of honors and pleasures, and the priests have become cesspools of impurity. Yes, the priests are asking vengeance, and vengeance is hanging over their heads. Woe to the priests and to those dedicated to God who by their unfaithfulness and their wicked lives are crucifying my Son again! The sins of those dedicated to God cry out towards Heaven and call for vengeance, and now vengeance is at their door, for there is no one left to beg mercy and forgiveness for the people. There are no more generous souls; there is no one left worthy of offering a stainless sacrifice to the Eternal for the sake of the world.
“God will strike in an unprecedented way.
“Woe to the inhabitants of the earth! God will exhaust His wrath upon them and no one will be able to escape so many afflictions together.
“The chiefs, the leaders of the people of God have neglected prayer and penance, and the devil has bedimmed their intelligence. They have become wandering stars which the old devil will drag along with his tail to make them perish. God will allow the old serpent to cause divisions among those who reign in every society and in every family. Physical and moral agonies will be suffered. God will abandon mankind to itself and will send punishments which will follow one after the other for more than thirty-five years.
“The Society of men is on the eve of the most terrible scourges and of gravest events. Mankind must expect to be ruled with an iron rod and to drink from the chalice of the wrath of God.
“May the curate of my Son, Pope Pius IX never leave Rome again after 1859; may he, however, be steadfast and noble, may he fight with the weapons of faith and love. I will be at his side. May he be on his guard against Napoleon: he is two-faced, and when he wishes to make himself Pope as well as Emperor, God will soon draw back from him. He is the master-mind who, always wanting to ascend further, will fall on the sword he wished to use to force his people to be raised up.
“Italy will be punished for her ambition in wanting to shake off the yoke of the Lord of Lords. And so she will be left to fight a war; blood will flow on all sides. Churches will be locked up or desecrated. Priests and religious orders will be hunted down, and made to die a cruel death. Several will abandon the faith, and a great number of priests and members of religious orders will break away from the true religion; among these people there will even be bishops.
“May the Pope guard against the performers of miracles. For the time has come when the most astonishing wonders will take place on the earth and in the air.
“In the year 1864, Lucifer together with a large number of demons will be unloosed from hell; they will put an end to faith little by little, even in those dedicated to God. They will blind them in such a way, that, unless they are blessed with a special grace, these people will take on the spirit of these angels of hell; several religious institutions will lose all faith and will lose many souls.
“Evil books will be abundant on earth and the spirits of darkness will spread everywhere a universal slackening of all that concerns the service of God. They will have great power over Nature: there will be churches built to serve these spirits. People will be transported from one place to another by these evil spirits, even priests, for they will not have been guided by the good spirit of the Gospel which is a spirit of humility, charity and zeal for the glory of God. On occasions, the dead and the righteous will be brought back to life. (That is to say that these dead will take on the form of righteous souls which had lived on earth, in order to lead men further astray; these so-called resurrected dead, who will be nothing but the devil in this form, will preach another Gospel contrary to that of the true Christ Jesus, denying the existence of Heaven; that is also to say, the souls of the damned. All these souls will appear as if fixed to their bodies).
“Everywhere there will be extraordinary wonders, as true faith has faded and false light brightens the people. Woe to the Princes of the Church who think only of piling riches upon riches to protect their authority and dominate with pride.
“The Vicar of my Son will suffer a great deal, because for a while the Church will yield to large persecution, a time of darkness and the Church will witness a frightful crisis.
“The true faith to the Lord having been forgotten, each individual will want to be on his own and be superior to people of same identity, they will abolish civil rights as well as ecclesiastical, all order and all justice would be trampled underfoot and only homicides, hate, jealousy, lies and dissension would be seen without love for country or family.
“The Holy Father will suffer a great deal. I will be with him until the end and receive his sacrifice.
“The mischievous would attempt his life several times to do harm and shorten his days but neither him nor his successor will see the triumph of the Church of God.
“All the civil governments will have one and the same plan, which will be to abolish and do away with every religious principal to make way for materialism, atheism, spiritualism and vice of all kinds.
“In the year 1865, there will be desecration of holy places. In convents, the flowers of the Church will decompose and the devil will make himself like the King of all hearts. May those in charge of religious communities be on their guard against the people they must receive, for the devil will resort to all his evil tricks to introduce sinners into religious orders, for disorder and the love of carnal pleasures will be spread all over the earth.
“France, Italy, Spain, and England will be at war. Blood will flow in the streets. Frenchman will fight Frenchman, Italian will fight Italian. A general war will follow which will be appalling. For a time, God will cease to remember France and Italy because the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been forgotten. The wicked will make use of all their evil ways. Men will kill each other; massacre each other even in their homes.
“At the first blow of His thundering sword, the mountains and all Nature will tremble in terror, for the disorders and crimes of men have pierced the vault of the heavens. Paris will burn and Marseilles will be engulfed. Several cities will be shaken down and swallowed up by earthquakes. People will believe that all is lost. Nothing will be seen but murder, nothing will be heard but the clash of arms and blasphemy.
“The righteous will suffer greatly. Their prayers, their penances and their tears will rise up to Heaven and all of God’s people will beg for forgiveness and mercy and will plead for my help and intercession. And then Jesus Christ, in an act of His justice and His great mercy will command His Angels to have all His enemies put to death. Suddenly, the persecutors of the Church of Jesus Christ and all those given over to sin will perish and the earth will become desert-like. And then peace will be made, and man will be reconciled with God. Jesus Christ will be served, worshipped and glorified. Charity will flourish everywhere. The new kings will be the right arm of the holy Church, which will be strong, humble, and pious in Its poor but fervent imitation of the virtues of Jesus Christ. The Gospel will be preached everywhere and mankind will make great progress in its faith, for there will be unity among the workers of Jesus Christ and man will live in fear of God.
“This peace among men will be short-lived. Twenty-five years of plentiful harvests will make them forget that the sins of men are the cause of all the troubles on this earth.
“A forerunner of the Antichrist, with his troops gathered from several nations, will fight against the true Christ, the only Saviour of the world. He will shed much blood and will want to annihilate the worship of God to make himself be looked upon as a God.
“The earth will be struck by calamities of all kinds (in addition to plague and famine which will be wide-spread). There will be a series of wars until the last war, which will then be fought by the ten Kings of the Antichrist, all of whom will have one and the same plan and will be the only rulers of the world. Before this comes to pass, there will be a kind of false peace in the world. People will think of nothing but amusement. The wicked will give themselves over to all kinds of sin. But the children of the holy Church, the children of my faith, my true followers, they will grow in their love for God and in all the virtues most precious to me. Blessed are the souls humbly guided by the Holy Spirit! I shall fight at their side until they reach a fullness of years.
“Nature is asking for vengeance because of man, and she trembles with dread at what must happen to the earth stained with crime. Tremble, earth, and you who proclaim yourselves as serving Jesus Christ and who, on the inside, only adore yourselves, tremble, for God will hand you over to His enemy, because the holy places are in a state of corruption. Many convents are no longer houses of God, but the grazing-grounds of Asmodeas and his like. It will be during this time that the Antichrist will be born of a Hebrew nun, a false virgin who will communicate with the old serpent, the master of impurity, his father will be a priest. At birth, he will spew out blasphemy; he will have teeth, in a word; he will be the devil incarnate. He will scream horribly, he will perform wonders; he will feed on nothing but impurity. He will have brothers who, although not devils incarnate like him, will be children of evil. At the age of twelve, they will draw attention upon themselves by the gallant victories they will have won; soon they will each lead armies, aided by the legions of hell.
“The seasons will be altered, the earth will produce nothing but bad fruit, the stars will lose their regular motion, and the moon will only reflect a faint reddish glow. Water and fire will give the earth's globe convulsions and terrible earthquakes which will swallow up mountains, cities, etc...
“Rome will lose the faith and become the seat of the Antichrist.
“The demons of the air together with the Antichrist will perform great wonders on earth and in the atmosphere, and men will become more and more perverted. God will take care of His faithful servants and men of good will. The Gospel will be preached everywhere, and all peoples of all nations will get to know the truth.
“I make an urgent appeal to the earth. I call on the true disciples of the living God who reigns in Heaven; I call on the true followers of Christ made man, the only true Saviour of men; I call on my children, the true faithful, those who have given themselves to me so that I may lead them to my divine Son, those whom I carry in my arms, so to speak, those who have lived on my spirit. Finally, I call on the Apostles of the Last Days, the faithful disciples of Jesus Christ who have lived in scorn for the world and for themselves, in poverty and in humility, in scorn and in silence, in prayer and in mortification, in chastity and in union with God, in suffering and unknown to the world. It is time they came out and filled the world with light. Go and reveal yourselves to be my cherished children. I am at your side and within you, provided that your faith is the light which shines upon you in these unhappy days. May your zeal make you famished for the glory and the honour of Jesus Christ. Fight, children of light, you, the few who can see. For now is the time of all times, the end of all ends.
“The Church will be in eclipse, the world will be in dismay. But now Enoch and Eli will come, filled with the Spirit of God. They will preach with the might of God, and men of good will will believe in God, and many souls will be comforted. They will make great steps forward through the virtue of the Holy Spirit and will condemn the devilish lapses of the Antichrist. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth! There will be bloody wars and famines, plagues and infectious diseases. It will rain with a fearful hail of animals. There will be thunderstorms which will shake cities, earthquakes which will swallow up countries. Voices will be heard in the air. Men will beat their heads against walls, call for their death, and on another side death will be their torment. Blood will flow on all sides. Who will be the victor if God does not shorten the length of the test? All the blood, the tears and prayers of the righteous, God will relent. Enoch and Eli will be put to death. Pagan Rome will disappear. The fire of Heaven will fall and consume three cities. All the universe will be struck with terror and many will let themselves be lead astray because they have not worshipped the true Christ who lives among them. It is time; the sun is darkening; only faith will survive.
“Now is the time; the abyss is opening. Here is the King of Kings of darkness; here is the Beast with his subjects, calling himself the Saviour of the world. He will rise proudly into the air to go to Heaven. He will be smothered by the breath of the Archangel Saint Michael. He will fall, and the earth, which will have been in a continuous series of evolutions for three days, will open up its fiery bowels; and he will have plunged for all eternity with all his followers into the everlasting chasms of hell. And then water and fire will purge the earth and consume all the works of men's pride and all will be renewed. God will be served and glorified.”
The original text of the Message and Secret of La Salette, approved by the Catholic Church, are published here in their entirety for the first time in the English Language.
We sincerely thank Mr. Joseph Corteville, President of the Association of the Children of Notre Dame of La Salette and of Saint Louis Marie Grignion of Montford+, and Director of L'Impartial+, a Marian revue, to have graciously supplied us with this manuscript and for authorizing us to publish same.
In our turn, we authorize all people, journalists, editors or associations to republish this faithfully in whole or in part.
It is essential that these prophetic messages be wide spread more than ever in all of the world and as quickly as possible. It is an order from the Mother of God. “Well, my children, you will pass it on to all of my people.”
Fate of the children
Maximin Giraud, after an unhappy and wandering life, returned to Corps, his native village, and died on 1 March 1875. Mélanie Calvat died at Altamura, Italy on 15 December 1904.
The Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette were founded in 1852 by Bp. Philbert de Bruillard, Bishop of Grenoble, France, and presently serve in some 25 countries. The National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette is located in Attleboro, Massachusetts, USA; it is famous for its elaborate Christmas light displays.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Our Lady of La Salette.|
- "Modern History Sourcebook: The Apparitions at La Sallette, 1846", Fordham Jesuit University of New York
- "Notre-Dame de La Salette" - Official website
- "Basics on Apparitions", Univ. of Dayton
- Northcote, James Spencer. A Pilgrimage to La Salette, Or, A Critical Examination of All the Facts Connected with the Alleged Apparition of the Blessed Virgin to Two Children on the Mountain of La Salette, on Sep. 19, 1846, Burns and Lambert, London, 1852
- Ullathorne O.S.B., William Bernard. The holy mountain of La Salette: a pilgrimage of the year 1854, Oxford University, 1854
- Dickens, Charles, "History of a Miracle", Household Words, A Weekly Journal, Volume 18, Bradbury & Evans, 1858
- Diocese of Grenoble at Catholic Encyclopedia
- "La Salette", Dictionary of Mary. New York: Catholic Book Publishing Company, 1985
- Missionaries of La Salette