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Our Lady of La Salette - A Short History

La Salette is a tiny village in the French Alps, with the Apparition site at an altitude of over 2000 metres above sea level. In 1846, on September 19th, eleven-year-old Maximin Giraud and fourteen-year-old Melanie Calvat were tending their cows on the mountain slopes. At noon, when the Angelus bells rang from the village Church, the children led the cows to drink at a small brook while they had a lunch of bread and cheese. Later in the afternoon, they saw a globe of fire appear on one of the stone benches near the brook. Within the light, a beautiful lady was sitting, head in her hands, elbows on her knees, weeping. Knowing that the children were afraid, Our Lady reassured them in French: “Come near, my children; don't be afraid. I am here to tell you great news.”

They went closer and saw that the beautiful Lady had a tear-streaked face. She was dressed like the women of the region, with a long cream-coloured dress, a yellow apron nearly as long as the dress, a shawl that was knotted in the back and a golden crown. There were garlands of pink and yellow roses around her waist and shoulders; a third garland surrounded her shoes. On her shoulders, she wore a heavy chain and from a smaller golden chain hung a Crucifix with a hammer and pincers placed on each side, a little beyond the nailed Hands.

Our Lady of La Salette spoke to the children about how people's actions and lifestyles were hurting her Son; she told them that she didn't know how much longer she could uphold her Son's arm. The three things that were most displeasing to the Lord were:

  • not keeping the Sabbath day holy
  • using the Lord's Name in vain
  • going to the butcher shop like dogs, especially during Lent

She reminded the children that it was very important to pray, at least in the morning and at night. Our Lady told them that if the people converted, the stones would become mounds of wheat and the potatoes would grow without being sown. However, she also warned that if the people did not become reconciled to the Lord, they would experience a severe famine: wheat would crumble into dust, potatoes would rot in the fields and walnuts would become worm-eaten.

After speaking to the children, she glided over the grass without touching it. She paused for a few seconds and then slowly rose to a height of a metre and a half. She remained suspended in the air, raised her eyes to Heaven and then disappeared from their sight.

A short five years later, on September 19, 1851 the Apparition was declared authentic in a Doctrinal Statement published by Bishop de Bruillard; at that time, it was announced that public worship was authorized and that a Church would be built on the site of the Apparition.

Today, thousands of missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette are scattered in various parts of the world including Angola, Argentina, Brazil, France, Italy, Madagascar, the Philippines, Poland, Switzerland and the United States.

For more information, you may wish to visit the following web-sites:


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