La Salette Water

Editor: The La Salette Apparition happened so many years ago yet many miracles have been attributed to faith in Our Lady of La Salette. In a reprint of an article first published in November of 1940, Fr. Clement Merrigan, M.S., writes about an authentic cure – happening soon after the Apparition – in which water from the La Salette Spring in France is connected with a miraculous cure.

The Language of God
Untitled-1This ex voto painting depicts the cure of a young girl through the intercession of Our Lady of La Salette on October 2, 1866 Monsignor Rousselot, Canon and Honorary Vicar-General of the Diocese of Grenoble, says: "Miracles were performed after the event at La Salette, with the usage of the water from the La Salette Spring." He also says: "The truth of a miracle proves the truth of a cause: the miracle is the language of God." That language was used in describing Marie-Antoinette Bollenat's cure, soon after the Apparition.

Miss Bollenat's cure was pronounced a miracle, on March 4,1849, by Mellon Jolly, the Archbishop of Sens… let us look at some of the evidence which was presented.

A Very Sick Child
(We now consider) the canonical decision of the Venerable Archbishop of Sens with the report which was made by Doctor Gagniard, a member of the Medical Faculty of Paris. The Doctor attended Miss Bollenat from 1830 to 1847.

When Miss Bollenat was a child of 12, she was thrown on the ground and severely beaten by a woman, who at the same time violently pressed her knee against the child's chest and epigastrium. From then on, Marie-Antoinette suffered from stomach trouble, and until 1843 rarely ceased vomiting.

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La Salette Spiritual Food Chain

Untitled-1View of the west end of Shuswap Lake, British Columbia, Canada. Recently, the Belgian population was faced with hardly an ordinary question, “What should we eat?” Steak, poultry, mussels and waffles had disappeared from the shelves of grocery stores and supermarkets due to poisoning of the food chain. People were threatened by cancer because of the contamination of animal feed with dioxin. The bottom line of the story suggests: make sure the food chain remains clean and uncontaminated.

In similar fashion, contemporary religious life is built on elements of a spiritual food chain which feed on each other – for better or for worse. There exist essentially three elements in this spiritual food chain: restructuring, refounding and commitment.

1) Restructuring

This corresponds to the practical need of administrative liposuction and organizational trimming. It also holds the unspecified promise of renewal and new life. However, we need to take a closer look to see and understand that restructuring will be meaningful only if it is motivated by the deeper and more comprehensive challenge of refounding.

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La Salette Harmony and Contrast

Untitled-1Do other apparitions of Our Blessed Lady, as recorded in the annals of her heavenly favors, match or rival the varied charm, the wealth of meaning and the poignant appeal contained in the merciful Vision of La Salette? It is from all viewpoints a masterpiece of exquisite design and harmony. It blends stern austerity with lavish display; it joins artless utterance with moving drama, it reveals depths of mystery through the finest veil of symbols.


From Heaven to Earth

When we consider the main phases of this miracle of motherly love, we are impressed by several features which, at first glance, may prove disconcerting. Yet, in each apparent confusion of traits there is a hidden alliance of elements, a delicate balance of parts and a merging of singular aims. Mary at La Salette strove to accommodate herself to our earthly condition, stooping gently to our lowly state. She executed a premeditated scheme, pondered her course and measured the appropriateness of her words and actions. Every detail of the apparition was perfectly adapted to the purpose she had in view and in exact conformity with the mystery of her tears.


Setting the Scene

The very lay of the land where the apparition was staged by the Mother of God is indicative of her forethought. The place chosen is the sublime amphitheater of the Alps in Dauphiny, France. The nature of the country, its difficulty of access, scarcity of vegetation, changing climate, retreat and solitude, withdrew the locality from the prying curiosity of worldly tourists and made it a shrine for the select few, the penitent and contemplative souls.

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La Salette Lay Brothers

Introduction: This article, based on the information aptly gathered in 1952 by Bro. Hubert Raymond, M.S., was probably an assignment from the “La Salette Learning Circle”, a group of La Salette Scholastics who took extra courses in La Salette Studies from our La Salette Professors in our Major Seminary in Attleboro, MA.
Untitled-1(l to r) Frs. Robert Vachon, M.S.
and Hubert Raymond, M.S.

This brief history of the La Salette Brothers (referred to initially as “Coadjutor Brothers”) was first presented on the 100th anniversary honoring those several diocesan priests who, at the invitation of Bp. Philippe de Bruillard, founder of the [diocesan] Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette, came to serve at the Mountain of La Salette in France in 1852. Thanks to Fr. Robert Vachon, M.S. and the gift of his papers to our Province Archives, we have copies of many old and valued articles on “things La Salette”.

1858: The First Rule of the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette

There have not always been Coadjutor (or Lay) Brothers in our Congregation. In fact, our very first Constitutions – those that Mgr. Ginouilhac approved in 1858 – exclude Coadjutor Brothers in the following description:

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God Frees His People

Untitled-1The compassion of God entered our world in response to the cry of his people who were enslaved in Egypt. God saw their pain. He came to free them, to led them to a land of peace, liberty and dignity. Great is our God. He frees his people and proclaims the Good News to us.


The book of Exodus reminds us of the call and commission of Moses…


But the Lord said: I have witnessed the affliction of my people in Egypt and have heard their cry against their taskmasters, so I know well what they are suffering. Therefore I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and lead them up from that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey… 

Now indeed the outcry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen how the Egyptians are oppressing them. Now, go! I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt. But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

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What is La Salette?

Editor: Most of this summary is based on a pamphlet originally published in 1946 by the Diocese of Grenoble, France, in honor of the 100th anniversary of the La Salette Apparition (edited).


What is the Event of La Salette?

A Mountain – an Apparition – a Place of Pilgrimage

1) La Salette is a mountain – Towering some 1,810 meters – almost 6,000 feet – above sea level, it is Untitled-1General overview of Holy Mountain in France located in southeastern France. It resides in the department of Isère and Canton of Corps, between the Drac and Valbonnais Passes, above the small village of La Salette, from which the apparition takes it name. It is a majestic and severe site, grandiose and barren, conducive to meditation on the power of the Creator and the drama of redemption. Many poets have spoken of it as a new Sinai, a new Calvary.

2) La Salette is an apparition – In the afternoon of September 19, 1846, two small cowherders from Corps, Maximin Giraud and Melanie Mathieu, were guarding their herd on the mountaintop, near a ravine called Sézia. Suddenly there appeared a swirling globe of light. Within it they could see a "Beautiful Lady" in tears, seated, beautifully clothed, wearing a crucifix radiating light. She stood and spoke to them for half an hour, and then left, rising and disappearing into the sky.

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Poetry about La Salette

As I learned in High School English Class when reading William Wordsworth, “Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.” Robert Frost has his own description: “Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.”

Whatever we believe about poetry, it can have many possible sources – truth, beauty, faith, emotions. The following are poems about the Apparition of Our Lady of La Salette. Some of these were also put to song and are in the pantheon of La Salette Hymns.

We invite you to read the following poems and see what these words stir up in your heart.


From Fr. James P. O’Reilly, M.S. (1913-2008)
as listed in Cyril Rober’s, Our Lady's Praise in Poetry.
(Poughkeepsie, New York: Marist Press, 1944):


A Song of La Salette
by Fr. James P. O’Reilly, M.S.

Untitled-1-RecoveredOn flower-enamelled peak of Dauphine
The lilting voice of nature's Mistress rings,
And quickly a sweet water-music springs
From streamlet sadly mute until this day.
Nature unfolds a carpet blue and green
Before this light which makes the sun to pale,
Forget-me-not, blue gentian, violet frail,
A color-rhapsody sing to their Queen.

All round, the vast and snow-capped mountains rise
Like stairs that beckon to eternal halls;
Beyond the birds and trees their purple walls
Go steeply up into the noonday skies.
Below, the cataracting torrents lead
Down craters dense with fir and silver pine;
On sloping meadows browse the peaceful kine,
The fertile loam lies harrowed for the seed.

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Mary – Mother of Mercy

In his inspiring book, Mercy: the Essence of the Gospel and the Key to Christian People, Cardinal Walter Casper speaks about mercy, giving us a widened and deepened appreciation of the concept and pastoral reality of God’s mercy.
Untitled-1Cardinal Walter Casper, well-respected German Roman Catholic theologian, born in 1933.
My own experience of having been brought up in a La Salette Parish from my earliest years meant that I heard the phrase, “Mary’s merciful apparition at La Salette”, literally thousands of times during sermons, Novenas, Stations of the Cross, and in our Catholic Grammar School classroom.

Yet as I progressed through Catechism classes and entered the nearby La Salette Seminary, it did seem quite beyond my understanding that God is all-powerful and yet is also just and merciful. Of course, the problem of evil continued to bother me; namely, if God is omnipotent and so merciful, then why do people – even good people – suffer? How can God be just and yet be “rich in mercy” (Ephesians 2:4)?


Recent Popes on Mercy

 Pope John XXIII during the speech to open the Second Vatican Council, said: “Nowadays… the Spouse of Christ prefers to make use of the medicine of mercy rather than that of severity.” 

Pope St. John Paul II’s second encyclical, Dives in Misericordia (Rich in Mercy), was published in 1980 and reminded us that “justice alone is not enough” (#12). It needs to balanced by mercy. Early in his encyclical he also acknowledged that “Mary is also the one who obtained mercy in a particular and exceptional way, as no other person has” (#9).

Pope Francis, in his Angelus Message of March 17, 2013 said:

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What Makes Us La Salettes?

Editor: This is part two (of two) of a presentation given by Fr. Donald Paradis, M.S., in October of 2005 to a gathering of La Salette Formation Personnel at our Shrine in Attleboro, MA. The first presentation is titled, “Our La Salette DNA”.
Untitled-1Fr. Donald Paradis, M.S., (1932-2015)
Without putting the text of our present Constitutions and Norms into a computer along with all the Rules in our jagged La Salette history, let us ask what elements of significance – as distinctive to our religious La Salette family – have come down to us intact, or perhaps merely clothed in slightly different language?

Exploring our Call and Mission as La Salettes

What about “refounding” – about which much was said by religious in the late twentieth century but which experts in the matter were quick to qualify as extremely difficult to bring about?

Concerning obstacles to our proper centering of and exploration of our life and charism, Fr. François Denaz (1811-1857), an early La Salette, had listed three principal ills, reminiscent of those presented in 1 John 2:15-16:


“Do not love the world or the things of the world. For all that is in the world, sensual lust, enticement for the eye, and a pretentious life, is not from the Father but is from the world.

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Our La Salette DNA

Untitled-1 Bishop Philippe de Bruillard blesses the Apparition in 1851Editor: This is part one (of two) of a presentation given by Fr. Donald Paradis, M.S., in October of 2005 to a gathering of La Salette Formation Personnel at our Shrine in Attleboro, MA. His second presentation is titled, “What Makes a La Salette?”

More than a century and half after the La Salette Apparition, we are asking questions and wondering. But we are here. How did we get here? Is the roadmap bequeathed to us somehow incomplete?


Our La Salette Legacy


What carried our heroic La Salette predecessors in their day? Was it new ministries? When they migrated to the United States in 1892, in no significant way did the La Salette Missionaries innovate where their ministries were concerned. With the possible exception of their greater willingness to take on the pastoral care of the faithful in parishes, they did not step out of the familiar and time-tested parameters? Should they have been expected to do so?

What has been handed down to us? What is our “La Salette DNA”? It seems that a number of distinctive traits are discernable. Among these are:


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