This is the message that the Virgin Mary shared with Maximin Giraud and Melanie Calvat, near the small village of La Salette in the French Alps on September 19, 1846. It is told with the help of the nine stained glass windows in the Mary Keane Chapel at the La Salette Shrine in Enfield, New Hampshire. This apparition and message gave rise to the Catholic Religious Community—the Missionaries of La Salette—and their ministry of reconciliation.
“If my people do not obey…”
The beautiful Lady stood up and said: “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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“A great famine is coming.”
“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.”
Seeing the puzzled look of the children, Mary changed from French to the local dialect in order to make herself better understood. “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 they are converted…”
“If my people are converted, the very stones will become mounds of wheat and the potatoes will grow self-sown.”
“Do you say your prayers well, my children…”
“Do you say your prayers well, my children?” The children answered with one voice: “Not too well, Madame, hardly at all!”
The Lady said: “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.”
Seventh Window: “During Lent
they go to the butcher shop like dogs.”
“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.”
“Once near the field of Coin…”
“Have you ever seen spoiled wheat, my children?” “No, Madame,” declared Maximin, quick to speak for Melanie as well as for himself.
Turning toward Maximin, the Lady replied: “But you, my child, must have seen some once near the field of Coin with your papa. The owner of the field said to your papa, ‘Come and see my spoiled wheat.’ The two of you went. You took two or three ears of wheat in your hands. You rubbed them together and they crumbled into dust. Then you came back from Coin. When you were only a half hour away from Corps, your papa gave you a bit of bread and said: ‘Here, my son, eat some bread this year anyhow. I don't know who will be eating any next year if the wheat continues to spoil like this.’”
“Oh, yes, Madame, now I remember! Until now I didn't,” admitted Maximin.
“You will make it known to all my people.”
The Beautiful Lady concluded, no longer in dialect but in French: “Well, my children, you will make this known to all my people.” These were her last words.
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,” related Maximin, “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,” added Melanie, “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.”
Nestled atop a mountain in the French Alps is the Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette, scene of the Apparition of Our Blessed Lady in 1846 and now a center for pilgrims from around the world.