The Story

The Christ of Glory

On the Beautiful Lady's breast, Christ on the cross is the heart of the living light that shapes the entire Apparition and envelops even the two children, Maximin and Melanie. He is the Christ of glory (John 19), the Crucified, who already speaks as the Risen One, the Lord who entrusts to Mary her mission as mother of the believers and calls the disciple he loves to contemplate and imitate her, "taking into his home (Jn 19:25)" the first and perfect disciple. " Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,* take up his cross, and follow me. (Mt 16:24)" And Mary stands at the foot of the cross: her presence is a “yes” carried out in faithfulness, in watchfulness and in the silence of a gift so complete that it no longer has need of words.
 
All the baptized are called to give such a response. Even more so are the religious, whose sole reason for being is to "follow after Jesus." The letter to the Hebrews (Heb 3:1-6; 12:1-4) presents Christ to everyone as the source, the growth and the fullness of our faith. 
 
In a striking summary La Salettes are called to affirm in their Rule: "Christ is the rule of our life." A dynamic view of the faith and of the religious life, the continual unfolding of a pedagogy St. Paul described so well: I was grasped by Christ, but how far do I remain from personally grasping him (Phil 3:12)?


Mary's Message in her Apparition at La Saleette is so simple and direct that two little children could understand it.  Yet in order to be fully appreciated, it is beneficial to look carefully at each section of her message to examine precisely what she says.

The following outline looks at her message from different perspectives.

First:  The Structure - outlines the specific content of the message;

Second:  The Message - divides the message into topical sections;

Third:  The Audience - specifies to whom she is speaking, whether to a universal audience, to the children or to one specific child;

Fourth:  The Language - the language she uses can indicatae who is her intended audience; for example, her use of French in the opening and conclusion of her message can indicate that this is a message for a universal audience; also her use of the rural dialect can indicate that she cares about our ordinary daily lives and wants to speak to the two children and to us in familiar, understandable language.

This Study has been researched by Fr. Roger Castel, M.S. and Fr. Donald Paradis, M.S.  The present format was designed by Fr. Ron Gagne, M. S. 

For the complet article, please download our PDF Version....Here.

Maximin Giraud:

….was born at Corps, on August 26, 1835. His mother, Anne-Marie Templier hails from this same region. His father, Germain Giraud is from a neighboring district.
 
Maximin had a difficult childhood. During the three years following the Apparition his half-brother Jean-Francóis, his step-mother Marie Court, and his father Giraud the wheelwright, all died. Constant pressure from pilgrims and busybodies don't moke Maximin's life any easier. A few visionary partisans of the so-called son of Louis XVI wanted to use him for political purposes. A mere listing of the places Maximin travelled to makes one realize to what extent the boy was exploited.
 
His remains lie in the cemetery of Corps, but his heart rests within the La Salette basilica. He wanted to underscore once again his love for La Salette: “I believe firmly, even to the shedding of my blood, in the famous apparition of the most Blessed Virgin on the holy mountain of La Salette, on September 19, 1846, the apparition that I have defended in word and suffering... It is with this spirit that I give my heart to Our Lady of La Salette”.

La Salette: The Message And Its Meaning

A Globe of Fire

Near this little fountain the two children layed down on the grass and fell asleep. How long their slumber lasted is not certain – half an hour perhaps, or three quarters of an hour or possibly more. In any case Melanie suddenly awoke and called Maximin: “Memin, Memin, let us go and find our cows, I cannot see them anywhere.”
 
Of course, being at the bottom of the little ravine, they could not see the meadow where they had left them. Quickly they climbed the slope opposite Mount Gargas (hence they were standing on what is now the esplanade in front of the basilica). Turning around they could view the entire alpine pasture land and were greatly relieved to see that their cows had remained where they had been left, peaceably chewing the cud. Reassured, Melanie began to redescend towards the dried-up fountain to recover her little sack of provisions before once again watering the cows. Half-way down the grassy slope she paused immobilized, frozen with fear. “Memin”, she called out, “look at that great light over there”. “Where is it?”, the boy replied, as he ran and stood at her side. (At the place of the Apparition two statues represent the children on the slope of the ravine, in the first stage of the Event.)
 
At the very spot where they had slept was a globe of fire, as if, in the children's words, “the sun had fallen there”. The light swirled, then grew in size and, opening, disclosed within it a woman, seated, her head in her hands, her elbows on her knees, in the attitude of one oppressed with grief.
 
Melanie, in her fright, raised her hands and dropped her shepherd's staff. Maximin thought only of defending himself. “Keep your stick”, he said to her, “I will keep mine and will give it a good whack if it does anything to us” ...Even after she conversed with them, the children could not identify their heavenly Visitor. They would simply call her “the Beautiful Lady”.

Before the apparition, La Salette was an unknown hamlet lost in one of those giant crevices of the French Alps. Early on September 19, 1846, the two children climb the slopes of the Mount Sous-Les-Baisses, each urging four cows up the mountain. Contrary to their habits, the two children lay down on the grass and fell asleep. The September sun was relaxing and the sky was cloudless. The chattering brook highlighted the mountain stillness. These were quiet moments.
 
Mélanie woke up with a start and shook Maximin! “Mémin, Mémin, get up! Let's go look for our cows. I don't know where they are!” Near the small brook on one of those stone benches there was a globe of fire. A woman appeared within the light; she was sitting, her head in her hands, her elbows on her knees, in deepest grief.
 
The Lady rose slowly. The children had not moved. She spoke to them in French: “Come near, my children, do not be afraid. I am here to tell you great news.” They approached the Lady. The beautiful Lady spoke to the two shepherds. “She wept all the while she spoke to us”, said Maximin and Mélanie later. “We listened. All our attention was on her.”
 
Mary's message to the two children at La Salette was the warning of a mother concerned over her wayward children. She complained: “If my people refuse to submit, I will be forced to let go the arm of my Son” and more specifically: “Those who drive the carts cannot swear without using my Son's name...they labor all day Sunday...there are none who go to Mass...when they do not know what to do, they go to Mass just to make fun of religion...” She warned: “If the harvest is ruined, it is only on account of yourselves...If you have wheat, you must not sow it. Anything you sow the vermin will eat...A great famine is coming...” She promised: “If [my people] are converted, rocks and stones will turn into heaps of wheat, and potatoes will be self-sown in the fields...” She pleaded: “Well, my children, make this known to all my people...”

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.
 
First Window:
“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.”

Untitled-1There is much to learn, I believe, from the behavior of Our Lady of La Salette toward Maximin and Melanie. First, she chose them humble, ignorant and poor. There is nothing much to envy in them. Second, they were not saints in the sense of official recognition as such by the Church. Nor will they ever be. Third, their lives after the apparition and after the local Bishop and assumed responsibility for spreading the news of La Salette, were still very ordinary.

“God chose the foolish of the world
to shame the wise” (1 Cor 1:27)

True, they were very often recognized as celebrities of a sort, but they manifested all the shortcomings of ordinary human beings. It would seem that Our Lady wanted to hold them up to the world as people able to serve God and the Church even though their lives gave no evidence of outstanding holiness.

closeup of statue of the Weeping Mother at La Salette Shrine in France

No one can say that La Salette is a colorless, cold apparition. Our Lady did not appear on this high mountain to hand down a few warnings and prescribe prayers and practices. Nothing calm and cold about this event. The children, Maximin and Mélanie, saw her sitting on a stone, her face in her hands, and she was weeping.
 
Tears are always an overflow. They are pressured out of the heart by an excess of pain or joy. This is a case of pure pain.
 
Tears are not a merely physiological reality. They are also, as is the case here, signs of loving concern. Christ wept over Jerusalem because he was concerned. People weep because they care. Tears are the opposite of fish-coldness, indifference, disinterest and apathy. They signal involvement and the intense will to be part of another person's life.
 
These tears are La Salette's most powerful unspoken message. The beautiful Lady weeps but she never refers to her tears, never so much as alludes to them. They are meant to speak for themselves and they do. They are an unspoken message but they add a crucial dimension to her words. When we read the message of La Salette, we must remember that it was spoken by someone in tears. Without the tears, the ‘a capella’ words would take on an icy aloofness, even a kind of muffled ferocity. The words she spoke had to be spoken. The Lady's ‘problem’ was how to communicate this sad news without sowing worldwide panic and the threat of Armaggedon by famine instead of fire…

For those who are both devoted to Our Lady of La Salette and fond of poetry, Fr. James P. O'Reilly, M.S., has written a beautiful poetic account of Mary's apparition on the Holy Mountain of La Salette. Line after line, Fr. O'Reilly draws us ever more deeply into the mystery of La Salette, sharing the fruit of many years of meditation. (The stained glass windows below summarize the La Salette Message and are in the Mary Keane Chapel, La Salette Shrine, Enfield, NH. The image of the La Salette crucifix is from the chapel windows in the Hartford House.)

From the title of this article, you may suspect that there may be, literally, another La Salette Apparition besides the one that happened on Sept. 19, 1846. No, that’s not the case. Let me explain.

 

Gatherings of La Salette Laity

 

During this year, the La Salette Missionaries are hosting two gatherings of laity who are connected to or ministry with La Salettes around the world. The first was held in June in the Atlanta, GA, area, entitled the “La Salette Lay Ministry Summit.” About 2,000 people were involved with this wonderful four day gathering, with keynotes for each day, prayer and learning/sharing sessions provided. This Summit was designed to gather laity and La Salettes from around the United States to hear about the La Salette message and learn how to “do ministry” using the La Salette charism of reconciliation as their guide.

 

The second meeting of La Salette Laity was an international one held on the Holy Mountain of La Salette on Sept. 1-10, 2011. Its purpose was similar to the Atlanta meeting but with an extended experience, and an opportunity to meet at the very sight of the Apparition. Each area where La Salettes minister (12 in number) will be represented by at least two laypersons and an accompanying La Salette. The representatives from the United States are: Ellen Herrell from St. Ann’s Parish in Marietta, GA; Isabel Dion (with her husband, Paul, a La Salette alumnus) from St. Christopher’s Parish in Moreno Valley, CA; and myself, Fr. Ron Gagne, M.S., from Attleboro, MA. We spent ten very full days together on the Holy Mountain.

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La Salette Missionaries, Province of Mary, Mother of the Americas

Our Community: The Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette are deeply rooted in the Apparition of Our Lady of La Salette which occurred near the hamlet of La Salette in southeastern France on Sept. 19, 1846. The Missionaries were founded in 1852 by Bp. Philbert de Bruillard, Bishop of Grenoble, France, and presently serve in some 25 countries.

Our Province: The Province of Mary, Mother of the Americas, was founded in 2000AD and is one of several provinces in the congregation. The members of this Province serve mainly in the countries of Canada, the United States and the Region of Argentina/Bolivia.

Our Mission: Our La Salette ministry of reconciliation responds to the broad vision given by Mary at La Salette as well as in response to the needs of the Church. As reconcilers, we together with the laity take seriously Mary’s mandate: “You will make (Mary’s) message known to all (her) people.”