"[The apparition] has within itself all the characteristics of the truth, and that the faithful are justified in believing it beyond doubt and for certain. ... (art. 1) ... Hence, in order to bear our warmest gratitude to God and to the glorious Virgin Mary, we authorize the devotion to Our Lady of La Salette. We allow the clergy to preach on this great event and to draw the practical and moral consequences arising from it. ... (art. 3) ... We expressly forbid the faithful and the clergy of our diocese ever to speak or write against the event which we proclaim this day and which, henceforth, demands the respect of all."
Melanie Mathieu and Maximin Giraud lived out what seemed to be normal lives. They were not canonized as saints, but they always looked to Mary as their Blessed Mother. Despite disbelief and criticism by the world, including their own families, both visionaries always testified that the apparition of Our Lady of La Salette was indeed a heavenly vision of the Blessed Mother Mary, and a heavenly message for the entire world.
In the place of the apparitions, a shrine—including a large basilica—has been erected, and received thousands of pilgrims each year.
Remember, dear Lady of La Salette, true Mother of Sorrows, the tears which thou didst shed for me on Calvary; be mindful also of the unceasing care which thou dost exercise to shield me from the justice of God; and consider whether thou canst now abandon thy child, for whom thou hast done so much. Inspired by this consoling thought, I come to cast myself at thy feet, in spite of my infidelity and ingratitude. Reject not my prayer, O Virgin of reconciliation, convert me, obtain for me the grace to love Jesus Christ above all things and to console thee too by living a holy life, in order that one day I may be able to see thee in Heaven. Amen.
On the 18th of September (1846), the eve of the Holy Apparition of the Holy Virgin, I was alone, as usual, watching over my Master’s cows. Around eleven o’clock in the morning, I saw a small boy walking towards me. I was frightened at this, for it seemed to me that everyone ought to know that I avoided all kinds of company. This boy came up to me and said:
"Little girl, I’m coming with you, I’m from Corps [a nearby town] too". At these words, the natural evil in me soon showed itself, and taking a few steps back, I told him: "I don’t want anybody around. I want to be alone." But the boy followed me, saying: "Go on, let me stay with you. My Master told me to come and watch over my cows together with yours. I’m from Corps."
I walked away from him, gesturing to him that I didn’t want anybody around, and when I was some distance away, I sat down on the grass. There, I used to talk with the little flowers of the Good Lord.
A moment later, I looked behind me, and there I found Maximin sitting close to me. Straightway he says to me: "Keep me with you. I’ll be very good."
But the natural evil in me will not hear reason. I jump to my feet, and run a little farther off without saying a word and again I start playing with the little flowers of the Good Lord. In an instant, Maximin was there again, telling me he would be very good, that he wouldn’t talk, that he would get bored all by himself, and that his Master had sent him to be with me, etc. This time, I took pity, I gestured to him to sit down, and I kept on playing with the little flowers of the Good Lord.
It wasn’t long before Maximin broke the silence by bursting into laughter (I think he was making fun of me). I look at him and he says to me: "Let’s have some fun, let’s make up a game". I said nothing in reply, for I was so ignorant I didn’t understand what games with other people were, always having been alone. I played with the flowers, on my own, and Maximin came right up close to me, doing nothing but laughing, telling me the flowers didn’t have ears to listen to me and that we should play together instead. But I had no liking for the game he told me to play. I started talking to him, however, and he told me that the ten days he was to spend with his Master would soon be over and then he would go home to his father in Corps etc.
While he was talking, I heard the bell of La Salette, it was the Angelus. I gestured to Maximin to lift his soul up to God. He took off his hat and was silent for a moment. Then I said: "Do you want to have dinner?" "Yes, he replied, let’s eat." We sat down and I brought out of my bag the provisions my Master had given me. As was my habit, before breaking into my little round loaf, I made a cross with the point of my knife in the bread, and a little hole in the middle, saying: "If the devil’s in there, may he leave, and if the Good Lord is in there, may he stay!" and I rapidly covered up the little hole. Maximin burst into laughter and kicked the loaf out of my hands. It rolled down the mountainside and was lost from site. I had another piece of bread which we shared. Afterwards, we played a game. Then, realizing that Maximin must still be hungry, I pointed out a place on the mountainside covered with all kinds of berries. I urged him to go and eat some and he went straight away. He ate a few berries and brought back his hat full of them. In the evening we walked back down the mountain together and promised to come back the next day and watch over our cows together.
The next day, the 19th of September, I met Maximin on the way up. We climbed up the mountain side together. I discovered that Maximin was a very good, simple boy, and would willingly talk about what I wanted to talk about. He was also very flexible and had no fixed opinions. He was just a little curious, for, when I walked away from him, as soon as he saw I had stopped, he would run over to me to see what I was doing and hear what I was saying to the flowers of the Good Lord. And if he arrived too late, he would ask me what I had said.
Maximin told me to teach him a game. It was already late morning. I told him to gather some flowers for the "Paradise". We set to work together. Soon we had a number of flowers of various colors. I could hear the village Angelus ringing, for the weather was fine and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Having told the Good Lord what we had learned, I said to Maximin that we ought to drive our cows on to a small plateau near the gully, where there would be stones to build the "Paradise". We drove our cows to the selected spot and then had a small meal. Then we started collecting stones to build our little house, which comprised of a so-called ground floor which was where we were to live, and then a story above which was to be, as we called it, "Paradise."
This story was decorated all over with different-colored flowers, with garlands hanging from flower stalks. This "Paradise" was covered by a single large stone which we had strewn with flowers. We had also hung garlands all the way round. When we had finished, we sat and looked at the "Paradise". We began to feel sleepy and having moved a couple of feet away, we went to sleep on the grass.
When I woke up I couldn’t see the cows, so I called Maximin and climbed up the little mound. From there I could see our cows grazing peacefully and I was on my way down, with Maximin on his way up, when all at once I saw a beautiful light shining more brightly than the sun.
"Maximin, do you see what is over there? Oh! my God!" At the same moment, I dropped the stick I was holding. Something inconceivably fantastic passed through me in that moment, and I felt myself being drawn. I felt a great respect, full of love, and my heart beat faster.
I kept my eyes firmly fixed on this light, which was static, and as if it had opened up, I caught sight of another, much more brilliant light which was moving, and in this light I saw a most beautiful lady sitting on top of our Paradise, with her head in her hands.
This beautiful Lady stood up, she coolly crossed her arms while watching us, and said to us:
"Come, my children, fear not, I am here to PROCLAIM GREAT NEWS TO YOU."
These soft and sweet words made me fly to her, and my heart desired to attach itself to her forever.
When I was up close to the Beautiful Lady, in front of her to her right, she began to speak and from her beautiful eyes tears also started to flow.
"If my people do not wish to submit themselves, I am forced to let go off the hand of my Son. It is so heavy and weighs me down so much I can no longer keep hold of it.
I have suffered all of the time for the rest of you! If I do not wish my Son to abandon you, I must take it upon myself to pray for this continually. And the rest of 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 troubles I have taken over for the rest of you.
I gave you six days to work, I kept the seventh for myself, and no one wishes to grant it to me. This is what weighs down the arm of my Son so much.
Those who drive carts cannot speak without putting the name of my Son in the middle.
These are the two things which weigh down the arm of my Son so much. 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. It was quite the opposite when you found bad potatoes, you swore oaths, and you included the name of my Son. They will continue to go bad, at Christmas there will be none left."
At this point, I was trying to interpret the word "potatoes" (pommes de terre): I thought I understood it to be "apples" (pommes). The Beautiful and Good Lady, reading my thoughts, repeated thus:
"You do not understand, my children. I will tell it to you another way.
If the harvest is spoiled, it does not seem to affect you. I made you see this last year with the potatoes. You took little account of this. It was quite the opposite when you found bad potatoes, you swore oaths, and you included the name of my Son. They will continue to go bad and at Christmas, there will be none left.
If you have corn, you must not sow it. The beasts will eat all that you sow. And all that grows will fall to dust when you thresh it. A great famine will come. Before the famine comes, children under the age of seven will begin to tremble and will die in the arms of those who hold them. The others will do penance through hunger. The nuts will go bad, the grapes will become rotten."
At this point, the Beautiful Lady, who was entrancing me, for a moment did not make herself heard. I could see, however, that she was continuing, as if speaking, to move graciously her kindly lips. At this moment, Maximin was receiving his secret. Then, turning to me, the Most Holy Virgin spoke to me and gave me a secret.”
The secret given to Melanie was one of grave warning—of the world’s fall into darkness and evil, of sins committed by clergy, or attacks on the Church, the loss of sanctity in Rome, bloody wars and famines, and many trials for the faithful. Melanie recorded the secret in letter, which she sent to Pope Pius IX, as instructed. The Blessed Virgin ended her secret with:
"The time is at hand; the abyss is opening. Here is the king of the kings of darkness. Here is the beast with its subjects, calling itself the savior of the world. In pride he will rise skyward to go up to Heaven; he will be stifled by the breath of St. Michael the Archangel. He will fall and the earth -which for three days will be in constant change- will open its fiery bosom; he will be plunged forever with all his followers into hell's eternal chasms. Then water and fire will purify the earth and consume all the works of men's pride, and everything will be renewed; God will be served and glorified."
Our Lady of La Salette brought with her a message of reparation and repentance—like Our Blessed Mother did at Fatima and Lourdes. She reminds us that while she intercedes constantly for our souls, we, too, must lift our prayers to the Lord, change our actions to glorify Him without ceasing, and turn from our sinful ways. Only through the efforts of the righteous—joined to the Divine Sacrifice of Christ-- may the world be saved! Our Lady of La Salette, pray for us!
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 a holy life
and so come to share the eternal life
Christ gained by his cross. Amen.