La Salettes in Early 1900s

Bp. Ullathorne’s book,
published several years
after the apparition

Editor: This article simply entitled “La Salettes”, published on Oct. 26, 1901, gives a testament to our first La Salettes on the Diocese of Hartford. They were men of faith, surely making Mary’s message known in any way they could, including distributing (and selling) copies of Bp. Ullathorne’s classic book on his visit to La Salette just eight years after the apparition.

We have received from the Missionary Fathers of La Salette, Hartford, Conn., a copy of the first American edition of "The Holy Mountain of La Salette," by the well known English prelate, the Right Rev. William B. Ullathorne, O.S.B., Bishop of Birmingham from 1850 to 1887.

This book of 220 pages, with fifteen full page illustrations, treats of that mysterious apparition of the Blessed Virgin to two illiterate peasant children, Maximin Giraud and Melanie Mathieu, at La Salette, not far from Grenoble in France, on Sept. 19, 1846, which date, that year, fell on a Saturday, and the eve of the feast which celebrates the Dolors of our Blessed Mother.

The missionary priests who are now banded together in memory of this singular event have, in the Diocese of Hartford, Conn., a motherhouse for the vicariate of the United States and Canada, established in 1892, and a preparatory college; and they have branch houses at Danielson, Conn., and at Fitchburg, Mass.


Apostolics (students) sit on the front steps of 
the newly built La Salette College (high school) in
front of the La Salette Missionary Priests,
Brothers, and novices in 1901.
The order was founded at La Salette in 1852, and the chief motherhouse is there. In 1899, two foreign missions were confided to this order by the Holy See, one in Madagascar; the other, in Assinioba, Canada. Those persons who have been interested in the marvels and spiritual graces constantly occurring at Lourdes, will be, perhaps, surprised to learn that the Apparition at La Salette took place twelve years earlier than the one to Bernadette, but in this case Our Lady did not ask that the faithful would come in pilgrimage to La Salette as to Lourdes.

Concerning La Salette, the Fathers wisely say in their preface to the present volume: "The name of the author is what recommends it best. The great fame of Bishop Ullathorne cannot fail to have weight with the many who are so easily impressed by that naturalism which nowadays seems to prevail even upon the best disposed, most of whom are, on that account, prejudiced against heavenly revelations.

“Many would not even examine this little book, were it not presented to them by a man of such commanding authority. Miracles, in our day, must be very evident to rind acceptance in most minds; and they must be very probable to elicit inquiry, so afraid are we of being deceived."

We certainly think that Bishop Ullathorne's account of his visit to La Salette, as well as of the history of the Apparition and the two witnesses, must have interest and attraction for many readers. It has certainly given to ourselves a clearer idea of the occurrence than we ever had before ; an explanation is also introduced of the singular connection which the Curé of Ars had with Maximin, which gave rise afterwards to some rather unpleasant impressions.

Bp. William Bernard Ullathorne,
O.S.B., (1806-1889), Archbishop
of Birmingham, England,
consecrated bishop one year
after the apparition
We may remark that the Venerable Emeilie De Rodat, who founded, in the century just closed, the flourishing community of Sisters of the Holy Family of Villefranche, and whose future canonization as saint is now a matter of reasonable hope, firmly believed in the Apparition of La Salette, and died upon the anniversary, Sept. 19.

Pius IX convened the First
Vatican Council in 1869,
the last Sovereign of the
Papal States
Whatever may be our individual opinions relating to this remarkable narrative, we may well reflect seriously upon the warnings given by the Apparition, which were in relation to the hearing of Mass and refraining from servile labor on Sunday, and the refraining from blasphemy. As to the special secrets which the children declared were confided to themselves, and which they persistently refused to communicate to any one except by sealed letter to the then Pope, Bishop Ullathorne says that when Pius IX read Melanie's letter, "his lips became strongly compressed, and his face seemed moved with considerable emotion. “These are scourges,” he said, with which France is threatened, but she is not alone culpable. Germany, Italy, all Europe is culpable and merits chastisement. I have less to fear from open impiety than from indifference and human respect… It is not without reason that the Church is called militant, and here,” pointing to his breast, “you behold its captain.'"

His Holiness had asked if he were obliged to keep these things secret, and Monsieur Germ, Curé of the Grenoble Cathedral, one of those deputed by the bishop of that diocese to carry the letters to Rome, replied, “Holy Father, you can do everything, you have the keys of all things." Later, Cardinal Lambruschini said to the envoys: "I have long known the fact of La Salette, and, as a bishop, I believe it; and as a bishop I have preached it in my diocese. Besides," added his Eminence, "I know the secret of the children. The Pope has communicated it to me."…

This interesting book can be obtained from La Salette College, Hartford, Conn., cloth bound, 50 cents; paper, 30 cents.

(From the Sacred Heart Review, Vol. 26, Number 17, Oct. 26, 1901, pg. 260 from Boston College Archives)


La Salette College, New Park Avenue, Hartford, CT;
original building before construction of Our Lady of Sorrows
Church (to immediate right); photo perhaps from early 1900s

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