Our Lady of La Salette
The French Revolutions had taken place a number of times in the past fifty years or so, before Our Lady appeared. These Revolutions caused a great amount of damage to the faith of the people of France, because they were started by people who hated the Catholic Church. God showed his mercy to the people by sending the Blessed Virgin Mary to them to help them to again practise the Catholic Faith.
At the time when Our Lady appeared in La Salette, a lot of Catholics had stopped going to Sunday Mass. Many people were swearing and using the name of God in vain! Yes, they were breaking two of the Ten Commandments of God, and God did not like this.
The two children that Our Lady appeared to were Melanie Mathieu and Maximin Giraud. Melanie, who was 14 years old, was poor and shy and she liked to keep silent. She had no schooling and hardly knew how to say the Lord’s Prayer and the Hail Mary. Since the age of seven she had been hired out and worked at whatever jobs she was able to do. She was a good girl and did her work well.
Maximin, who had a very lively spirit, was somewhat of a scamp. He spent much of his time playing games and roaming the streets of Corps, where he lived. The reason for this was because he lived in a very unhappy home; his mother had died, and his father had remarried, and the boy did not get on well with his stepmother. His father often spent much of his earnings on wine, or other alcohol. So like Melanie, Maximin did not have any schooling and hardly ever went to church.
Melanie and Maximin had both been hired to look after some cows and to take them to some mountain pastures to graze on the grass there. On September 19, 1864, while they were minding the cows, Maximin helped Melanie pick some flowers. They picked roses, bluebells, poppies, gentians and many other flowers. Then Maximin asked Melanie, “What are you going to do with all these flowers?”
“We will build a Paradise,” the girl replied.
Maximin was always interested in a new project, so Melanie took him to where there were quite a lot of stones of all shapes and sizes in a little ravine. Together they built a little house for a tiny shepherd. They covered this with a flat rock and covered this rock with a bunch of flowers. Then they made two little walls on top, at each end of this flat rock, and covered this with another large flat rock, which they called the roof. Making garlands and wreaths of flowers, they hung them on the roof, and covered the roof with flowers. After finishing their project, they stood back and gazed at their beautiful “Paradise”.
They went a little ways off and sat down to eat their lunch of bread and cheese. After lunch they each found a nice spot and lay down on the grass for a sleep. After an hour’s nap, Melanie woke up but did not see her cows. Calling Maximin, she hurried up a little hill and from there could see all her cows. Maximin climbed up the hill and saw that all his cows were there too.
Suddenly Melanie saw a light more brilliant than the sun. She called out, “Maximin—look! Down there!”
Maximin ran down the little hill and seeing the bright light, he blurted out, “What is it? Hold on to your staff. If it touches us, I’ll give it a good whack!”
The fiery globe of light they saw was about six to eight meters high. It was so dazzling that it made the sun pale and dim to their eyes. Then the globe of light opened up and the children could see the Virgin Mary who was all in light. She was sitting on the “Paradise” which they had built and although she was sitting on it, she did not nock the “Paradise” down, nor did she crush the flowers!
Our Lady was very sad and crying as she held her hands to her face. She stood and crossed her arms and although she was about twenty meters away, the two children heard her voice as though it was close to their ears. “Come closer my children,” she said. “Do not be afraid! I am here to bring you great news!”
The children’s fear was turned into joy and they ran to Our Lady as they would to the dearest of mothers. Our Lady came to meet them and remained floating in the air, a little above the ground. As Our Lady looked upon the children, tears were flowing continuously from her eyes. She spoke to the children, “If my people do not wish to submit themselves, I am forced to let go of my Son’s arm. It is so heavy and weighs me down so much that I can no longer hold it back.”
“All the time I have been suffering for the rest of you. If I do not want my Son to abandon you, I must take it upon myself to pray for this continually. And the rest of you, you think little of this. In vain you will pray, in vain you will act; you will never be able to make up for the trouble I have taken for the rest of you.”
“I gave you six days for work, I kept the seventh for myself, and no one wishes to grant it to me. This is what weighs down so much the arm of my Son. Those who drive carts cannot speak without putting the name of my Son in the middle. These are the two things which weigh down so much the arm of my Son.”
“If the harvest is spoiled, it is only because of the rest of you. I made you see this last year with the potatoes; you took little account of this! And when you found bad potatoes, you swore and used my Son’s name in vain. The potatoes will continue to go bad; at Christmas there will be none left.”
Our Lady also spoke to the children about prayer, saying, “Do you say your prayers well, my children? Oh! My children you must say them morning and evening.…”
Our Lady told them many other things too. She also told them two secrets, which were later written down by Melanie and Maximin, and given to Blessed Pope Pius IX. These two secrets were revealed to the whole world some time after the Pope had read them.
Our Lady ended her conversation with the children telling them twice, “And so my children, you will pass this on to all my people.”
Many people believed in the apparitions of Our Lady of La Salette and they made pilgrimages there. And many people also did penance for their sins. Gradually the apparitions of Our Lady of La Salette were approved and many priests, nuns and people travelled to La Salette. A beautiful church was built in the area of the apparitions and lovely statues of Our Lady of La Salette and the children were made and put in the place of the apparitions.
Melanie and Maximin were both put into school some time after the apparitions took place. Later on, Melanie tried to become a nun, but this was not her vocation so she lived the single life as a very holy woman. She also had stigmata, (the wounds of Jesus), in her hands and feet. Melanie did her best to tell people about La Salette, as Our Lady had asked her to, but many priests in France would not listen to her.
Maximin did not do very well in school as he was used to tramping the streets and was not used to sitting at a desk. When he got older, he tried many different jobs but none of these jobs lasted for a very long time. He often liked to take pilgrims to the place of the apparition of Our Lady of La Salette and tell them what she said. He also lived a very holy life and after he died, Melanie said that he was in heaven!
Pray to Our Lady of La Salette and she will help you to be good and help you not to offend her Son Jesus. And tell other people about Our Lady so that they will love her too.
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