When one travels from Grenoble to La Salette, passing the town of La Mure and past the dizzying banks of Pont-Haut (High Bridge), one quickly arrives at the quiet little hamlet of Charlet.
In the early nineteenth century a local family founded this hamlet on a site which rich in water and a wooden construction built for a master baker and carpenter. This hamlet is part of the nearby municipality of Saint-Laurent in Beaumont. The local Fuzat household, the founders, had four children, with three boys, two of which went to war in 1870.
The third boy became a priest, and was pastor of Viriville at the foot of the Chambaran plateau in the region of Isère. That priest made a vow to build a chapel at Charlet on the pilgrimage route to the Holy Mountain of La Salette if his brothers returned safely from the war. That they did.
This chapel was therefore dedicated to Our Lady of La Salette. The façade of the chapel was crowned with the Conversation Scene of the Beautiful Lady of La Salette in conversation with the two little shepherds and can be seen from miles away.
This chapel was a place for Charlet family celebrations – Masses on the occasion of birthdays, baptisms, weddings – for family members as well as for the people of Charlet. The small chapel had everything needed to celebrate: a wooden altar, a tabernacle, the requisite missals, ornaments and storage facilities and still belongs to the heirs of the Charlet family.
Its interior was decorated with paintings, one of which depicts Melanie and Maximin meeting the Weeping Mother of La Salette. Having been repaired some forty years ago, it is once again in great need of restoration. But as a privately owned building, it can be supported by a Regional Association founded in 1901.
Hopefully this legal association can assist the Charlet family in the upkeep of this precious part of their local religious heritage.
Information for this article was provided by Ms. Monique Lefevre Nicolas and Judith and Roger Tessaro.
(Reprinted with permission from the La Salette Publication, Les Annales,
vol. 243, Nov-Dec, 2014, “Trois Petites Salettes”, pgs. 18-19, edited)