“Our Lady of La Salette”
LA SALETTE, FRANCE (1846)
Maximin Giraud (11) and Melanie Mathieu (14), young cow herders, were headed for high pastures in the Alps on Saturday, September 19, 1846. They came from non-practicing Catholic families, disregarded church bells, and were not serious about their religion. Suddenly, around 3:00 p.m., they became stunned and mesmerized by a large, glowing circle of light —“like the sun” — shimmering like a diamond. Then it began to open, revealing a weeping woman inside, bent forward with her face buried in her hands, and her elbows resting on her knees, sitting on a large rock. The glowing globe faded away and the woman stood up, revealing her exquisite beauty in a long white dress that seemed to glitter with small pearls of light. She wore a translucent white headdress with a tall crown underneath. Across her shoulders was a shawl trimmed with roses. A large yellow apron was tied around her waist. A cross hung on a chain around her neck. The following details were extracted from the exact text written in 1878 by Melanie:
“The sight of the Holy Virgin was itself a perfect paradise. She was all beauty and love. The sight of her overwhelmed me. Everything radiated the majesty, the splendor, the magnificence of a Queen beyond compare. The word LOVE seemed to slip from her pure and silvery lips. She appeared to me like a good Mother, full of kindness, amiability, of love for us, of compassion and mercy. She had a beautiful crucifix hanging from her neck (the brightness in which she was enveloped seemed to come from the crucifix). At times the Christ on her cross appeared to be dead. At other times, He appeared to be alive – His head erect, His eyes open … He appeared to speak … showing that He was on the Cross for our sake.”
“The Holy Virgin was crying nearly the whole time she was speaking to me. Her tears flowed gently, one by one, down to her knees. Then – like sparks of light – they disappeared. They were glittering and full of love. … The eyes of our Mother cannot be described in human language. … They appeared thousands of times more beautiful than the rarest diamonds and precious stones. In her eyes, you could see paradise. They drew you to her.”
Then the Blessed Virgin spoke these words:
“Come to me, my children. Do not be afraid. I am here to tell you something of the greatest importance.” As they approached, the globe of shimmering light enveloped all of them. “If my people will not obey, I shall be compelled to loose my Son’s arm. It is so heavy, so pressing, that I can no longer restrain it. How long have I suffered for you! God is being dishonored with swearing. The price for such abuse would be costly. If the harvest is spoiled, it is your fault. A great famine is coming. Many young children will die from a serious disease.”
“Woe to the inhabitants of the earth! God will exhaust His wrath upon them. The leaders of the people of God have neglected prayer and penance, and the devil has bedimmed their intelligence. They have become wandering stars which the serpent will drag along with his tail to make them perish. … There will be bloody wars and famines, plagues and infectious diseases. There will be thunderstorms which will shake cities, earthquakes which will swallow countries. Voices will be heard in the air. The fire of heaven will fall and consume three cities.”
“In the year 1864, Lucifer, together with a large number of demons, will be unloosed from hell. They will put an end to faith, little by little, even in those dedicated to God.
Several religious institutions will lose all faith and will lose many souls. Evil books will be abundant on earth, and the spirit of darkness will spread everywhere a universal slackening in all that concerns the service of God.”
“The true faith of the Lord having been forgotten, they will abolish civil rights as well as ecclesiastical. All order and all justice will be trampled underfoot, and only homicides, hate, jealousy, lies, and dissension would be seen without love for country and family. All the civil governments will have one and the same plan – which will be to abolish and do away with every religious principle, to make way for materialism, atheism, spiritualism, and vice of all kinds.”
“The earth will be struck with calamities of all kinds. There will be a series of wars until the last war, which will then be fought by the ten kings of the anti-Christ, all of whom will have one and the same plan. Before this comes to pass, there will be a time of false peace in the world. People will think of nothing but amusement. The wicked will give themselves to all kinds of sins. And so, my children, make this known to all my people.”
Then she turned and spoke to each child individually without the other being able to hear her. When asked if they prayed, they admitted “hardly ever.” She encouraged them to do so every night and morning with at least an Our Father or Hail Mary during the day if rushed. She impressed Maximin with recounting an incident with him and his father, word for word, when he thought they had been alone. Then she turned and left, gliding over the ground and rising into the air in the globe of light again.
Upon returning to their families, their story seemed fantastic, yet, their details matched perfectly, and their manner was so sincere. Despite pressures, bribes, and threats from townspeople, they stuck to their story. About a week later, a spring gushed forth out beside the rock upon which the Virgin had sat. This place had only collected water previously whenever snows melted or after heavy rains. But now, the spring flowed steadily, incessantly, and fully — even in dry weather conditions. And it has never stopped since that time. Numerous miraculous cures have been attributed to the water.
On the anniversary of the sighting, 50-60,000 people gathered and held Mass at the site. Twenty-three people reported miraculous cures. The Vatican approved this apparition in 1851. A Basilica was eventually built on the original site, high in the Alps, in 1879 where their visitation took place.
Mary had correctly prophesized the great famine in Europe and the decline of religion and morals in the world. She also accurately predicted the American Civil War and the “great war” (World War I) that would follow.