La Salette in 1846

The Lady of La Salette 1846   

On Saturday afternoon, September 19th 1846, two young shepherds were tending their employer's flock on the slopes of the French Alpine Mountains above the village of La Salette. Coming from the town of Corps, near Grenoble in the southeast of France, the fourteen year-old girl, Mélanie Calvat (also Mélanie Mathieu) and the eleven year-old boy Maximim Giraud saw at a distance, in a ravine, a brilliant light. As they approached, they discerned a beautiful woman seated on a stone, with her head in her hands, wearing a tiara or crown, and dressed in a long, white, pearl-studded, sleeved gown, with a white shawl. Around her neck, she wore a large crucifix adorned with a small hammer and pincers and a brilliantly shining figure of Christ. The apparition was unlike anything witnessed before as she was shedding tears constantly, despite the fact she appeared to be composed entirely of light.

The woman spoke first to both children, and then individually, revealing to each a secret, which they were not to divulge. Her words were initially in French, but as the children did not understand her perfectly, she switched to the local dialect. She spoke to Maximim alone, giving him a secret, which the girl could not hear, then she spoke to Mélanie, telling her a secret that Maximum could not hear. Afterwards, she spoke once more to both children.

She then asked: "Do you say your prayers well, my children?" They replied that they hardly prayed, and she told them they should say at least their morning and night prayers. She stated that: "Only a few rather old women go to Mass in the summer. Everyone else works every Sunday all summer long. And in the 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 shops like dogs."

She then asked the children if they had ever seen spoiled wheat. When both replied that neither had, She reminded Maximin that he had once seen it while on a visit to a nearby hamlet with his father, at which point he remembered that what she had said was true. Finally the Lady said: "Well, my children, you will make this known to all my people."

"If my people do not obey, I shall be compelled to loose my Son's arm. It is so heavy I can no longer restrain 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 to me 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 crushing. The cart drivers cannot swear without bringing in my Son's name. These are the two things which make my son's arm so heavy."

The Blessed Virgin, having completed her messages which included punishments of crop blights and famine, gave them instructions for her words to be revealed, after which she ascended into the air and gradually disappeared.

The children hurried back home, bursting with the story of their vision, but the townspeople did not believe them. The next day, an account of their story was taken down in writing, and in spite of the disbelief, they remained resolute to the details. Soon, thereafter, many locals converted, including Maximim's father and a locally notorious rebellious priest. Water from a stream nearby the apparition site, which had long since dried-up, began to flow again, and was responsible for two dozen healings. The incident was investigated over three to four years, finally leading to the Bishop's approval. A year later, a basilica was built to the Virgin of Converts, also known as the Reconciler of Sinners.

Upon the conclusion of the investigation, the Bishop announced: "We declare that the apparition of the Blessed Virgin to two shepherds, on September 19, 1846, on a mountain in the Alps in the parish of La Salette, bears in itself all the marks of truth and that the faithful are justified in believing without question in its truth. To mark our lively gratitude to God and the glorious Virgin Mary, we authorize the cult of Our Lady of La Salette."

The message to Mélanie has been referred to as the Appeal to the Apostles of the Latter Times, part of which includes: "I address an urgent appeal to the earth: I summon the true disciples of God, who lives and reigns in heaven. I summon the true imitators of Christ, made man, the one true Savior of men. I summon My children, My true devotees, those who have given themselves to Me so that I might lead them to My divine Son, those whom I carry, so to speak, in My arms, those who have lived according to faithful disciples of Jesus Christ who have lived in scorn of the world and of themselves, in poverty and in humility, in contempt 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 for them to arise and come forth to enlighten the earth. Go, and show yourselves as My cherished children; I am with you and in you, provided that your faith be the light that enlightens you in these days of woe."

"May your zeal cause you to be as famished for the glory and honor of Jesus Christ. Fight, children of light, you little number who see; for behold the time of times, the end of ends."

The Weeping Lady   Apparition appears to children

To her young witnesses, the beautiful lady in a crown and robe, gave the Rule for the members of the Order of the Mother of God. Mélanie was also given prophetic visions of the future life and works of the sons and daughters of this Order of the Mother of God, as missionaries who would take their message to all parts of the world. She also saw many religious Orders uniting to merge with this Order and finding a primitive fervor by its association. On orders from Pope Leo XIII, Mélanie presented the Rule for examination by the Sacred Congregation of Bishops which gave its approbation on May 27, 1879. The Constitutions that Mélanie had composed for the Order of the Mother of God, upon the request of Leo XIII, were approved.

Many more statements concerned prophecies that related to current European strife, poor harvests for France, and criticism that: "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." She had previously stated, "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."

In an apparent prophetic vision of Adolph Hitler, she said: "A forerunner of the antichrist with his troops from several nations will fight against the true Christ, the only Savior of the world; he will spill much blood, and will want to annihilate the worship of God in order to make himself be looked upon as a God."

Other prophecies paralleled those of the Biblical prophecies of the Last Days, including: "Rome will lose the faith and become the seat of the Antichrist." "Fight, children of light, you the small number who can see; for behold the time of times, the end of ends."

Maxim and Melanie

Maximim died March 1, 1875. His true secret was never publicly revealed. Mélanie in 1904.

(End Notes concerning the character of the witness Mélanie):

Francoise Mélanie Calvat had been born November 7, 1831 in Corps France, the fourth of 10 children to Pierre Calvat, a stonemason and Julie Barnaud, a woman who was known to mistreat her daughter. Once, she had been put out of the house at age three, and took refuge in the woods, where she imagined that a beautiful little Child (later thought to be the Child Jesus) visited her, calling her the "sister of My Heart". He consoled her and instructed her, and was her only friend throughout her childhood. At age three, she was stigmatized, and favored with a vision of Our Lady, who promised to watch over her as Mother and Mistress. At the age of six, she was forced into becoming a shepherdess, and she suffered much for it. In 1846, at age fourteen, she was watching her master's cows along with the boy shepherd Maximim Giraud in La Salette, a few miles from Corps, when the Apparition of the Blessed Mother made her appearance.

After the celebrated events, both children were placed as boarders in a convent, the Sisters of Providence in Corps, whereupon an inquiry concerning the Apparition commenced.

Melanie   Melanie

Six years later, at age twenty, Melanie entered religion in her native village of Corps. For a year or two, Mélanie suffered from spectacular attacks of the devil, which threw her to the ground, making her deaf and dumb, plunging her into despair and sometimes taking the form of terrifying animals. A troubled soul, she was later exiled from France by her bishop, who arranged for her to be accompanied to Darlington, England by an English prelate. There she was sequestered for several years, until released from its vow of cloister by the Holy Father Pius IX. He wanted her to be free to accomplish her mission. Thereafter, she was able to publish the Secret, as the Virgin had commanded, only in 1872 and 1873, in Italy, with an Imprimatur of Cardinal Sforza, Archbishop of Naples, and with the approbation of Pope Pius IX. She completed the Secret by adding an account of the Apparition from beginning to end in 1878. Pope Leon XIII, reading her narration, declared that the document must be published. Included in it was the urgent appeal of Our Lady, summoning the Apostles of the Latter Times, who will have lived in contempt of the world and themselves, in silence, prayer and mortification, in chastity and union with God, in suffering and unknown to the world. She calls to them to come forth, to combat, in these days of woe.

"Melanie's life was one of constant miraculous help from Heaven amid unceasing contradictions; her soul, hidden behind a very modest exterior which only the holy consecrated souls of her time could penetrate, was one of beautiful innocence and of a sanctity far from ordinary."

The bishops of France resisted the Secret with, at times, a real fury, because its warnings as to the political ambitions of Napoleon III and the regrettable state of the clergy in general, were not to their liking. Melanie was called insane, she was calumniated, refused possession of a terrain in France willed legally to the Order of the Mother of God which she represented; refused Holy Communion at times; and was exiled from certain dioceses when she returned from Italy for a few years. Eventually, after prolonged efforts to establish the Order of the Mother of God both in Italy and in France, she again went to Italy, where she died in 1904.

Mélanie had foretold: "The spirit of La Salette can be transported. And when the hour has sounded, the Blessed Virgin will be able to resurrect La Salette and accomplish Her Work. The Blessed Virgin's words are not sterile like those of men. Her Work will be done. Men and devils can do nothing against Her. She will triumph. Men can resist the call of grace and Her appeal, but She can transport Her great light and show it to others. Let us await Her help and Her hour."

Among her Apocalyptic statements were the following:

The Antichrist.

"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 bishop. He will be the devil incarnate, he will work wonders, he will feed on nothing but impurity."

To the Apostles of the last times.

"I address an urgent appeal to the earth. I call on the true disciples of the living God who reigns in Heaven. I call on the Apostles of the last times. For now is the time of all times, the end of all ends.

"But now Enoch and Elijah will come, filled with the Spirit of God. They will condemn the diabolical errors of the Antichrist. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth! Who will be able to withstand them? God will allow Himself to bend through the blood, tears and prayers of the just: Enoch and Elijah will be put to death.

"It is time; the sun will be darkened; faith alone will live. Behold the Beast with his subjects, calling himself the saviour of the world."

The victory.

"He will be stifled by the breath of Saint Michael the Archangel. And then water and fire will purify the earth and consume all the works of men's pride, and all will be renewed: God will be served and glorified."

Melanie has been referred to as a Saint who has yet to be recognized, but don't anticipate her being declared a Saint, as the events subsequent to the Apparition of La Salette are far too conversial.


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