“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.
The exact date of the discovery of the Madrid image is unknown, although it is known that it began when Spanish friars were traveling through the village of Traigueras on their way to Rome to gain approval for the Order of Minims, founded by St. Francis of Paola (1416-1507). When a furious storm descended upon them, they prayed for God’s guidance and help. Looking for shelter, they saw a mysterious light coming from a cave. They hurried to it and found the beautiful statue of the Virgin Mary holding the Child Jesus. Surrounding it was a shimmering light and a heavenly fragrance of flowers.
When nobody in Traigueras knew anything about the statue and did not claim it, the friars carried it with them to Rome. On arriving there, they met with Pope Paul V (1605-1621), who heard the story of the discovery – and not only venerated and blessed the statue, but also gratified the friars by granting full approval of their new Order of Minims.
The image was first placed in the Royal Hospital of Madrid where many miracles were granted. In fact, there were so many miracles that King Philip III ordered the construction of the Sanctuary of the Puerto del Sol where the image is found today, beautifully adorned and sumptuously enthroned.
The image of “Our Lady of Good Success” in Madrid was dear to the hearts of countless souls, including Sister Mariana of Jesus Torres, who, even as a child, received visits from the Blessed Mother. After joining the Order of the Immaculate Conception, Sister Mariana was sent from Spain to Quito, Ecuador to found another house of the Order — of which she became the Abbess. Her great devotion to Our Lady under this title was continued when she arrived in Quito, Ecuador.
It was there in Quito, on February 2, 1610, while she was praying to the Blessed Mother, that she was granted another heavenly visitation. Identifying herself as “Mary of Good Success,” the Virgin Mary asked that a statue be made to her likeness for the consolation and preservation of the convent – and for those faithful souls who would pray to her.
“It is now necessary that you have my holy statue made promptly, just as you see me, and that you make haste to place it in the place which I indicated to you. With this statue I will favor not only my convent, but also the people of Quito and all the people throughout the centuries.”
Mother Mariana responded with great humility:
“Beloved Mother of my soul, the tiny ant that thou hast before you will be unable to relate any of thy beautiful features … or thy height. It will be necessary that the three Archangels who accompany thee … would come to sculpt thy statue which thou askest me to have made, so that the work may be as thou wilt …”
Blessed Mary replied, in a calming manner,
“Do not be worried about any of this, dear daughter. The perfection of the work is my concern. Gabriel, Michael, and Raphael, with the whole Heavenly Court, will secretly take care of the making of the statue … Regarding my height, bring the cord here that you wear, and measure me without fear, since to a Mother like me, the confidence, respect, and humility of her daughters pleases her. Beloved daughter, put into my hands one of the ends of your cord, and I will place it upon my forehead, and you will apply the other end to my right foot.”
The three Archangels lifted the crown of the Queen of Heaven while she was placing the end of the cord on her head. But the cord was too short to reach to the ground. But the Child Jesus reached out from his Mother’s arms and miraculously stretched it to reach. Then Mother Mariana came out of her ecstasy and now had the exact measurements for the statue.
On February 5, 1610, she contacted a Spanish sculptor, Francisco del Castillo, and honored him with this special project that would be due for consecration on February 2, 1611. The bishop routinely inspected the work going on in the choir loft. On January 10, 1611, he noted that the statue only needed a final coat of paint before completion. The sculptor indicated that he must travel far to Pasto, Colombia to get the fine paints required, and so he left town.
At midnight, the first hour of January 16 (the day the sculptor was to return), Mother Mariana witnessed the choir loft and entire church illuminated with a supernatural light. The tabernacle opened by itself, and the three archangels, Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, placed themselves before the throne of God — and something was given to them. Choirs of angels united their voices in singing, “Blessed Mary, temple and tabernacle of the Blessed Trinity.” In the next instant, Mother Mariana saw the three archangels in the choir loft, illuminating the statue with their divine light. St. Francis of Assisi appeared and joined the three archangels as they approached the unfinished statue. The statue was transformed so rapidly that Mother Mariana could not perceive how it happened. St. Francis took the cord from around his waist and placed it around the statue’s waist. Then he and the archangels disappeared as the Blessed Virgin appeared and entered the statue herself while angels continued to sing the Latin hymn, Salva Sancta Parens.
At 3:30 a.m. Mother Mariana came out of her ecstasy and saw the statue still illuminated by Divine Light. When all of the convent sisters came to see the miraculous completion of the statue, they heard the angels still singing and saw the supernatural light still present. Later that day, when the sculptor returned, the nuns watched quietly as he approached the choir loft. As he approached the statue, he dropped to his knees and cried out, “This exquisite statue is not my work!” He wept as he realized that a miracle had been performed. He immediately composed a written statement testifying to the beautiful changes in the sculpting and painting that “were not of my hands.” The bishop was notified, and he, too, knelt and wept before the beautiful masterpiece, verifying the miraculous changes performed by angels that had completed the wooden statue in the sculptor’s absence.
During other apparitions to Sister Mariana, the Blessed Mother confided several prophecies, some of which have already taken place, thus validating her words. Many predictions are pertinent to the troubled times of the present. Some of these prophecies include a warning that Masons and other secret sects would have an influence – even within the Church. She warned:
“A worldwide campaign against the virtues of chastity and purity will succeed in corrupting the youth … evil will invade childhood innocence. The clergy will leave much to be desired because priests will become careless in their sacred duties … Faithful priests upholding, the Faith will suffer greatly and will be overwhelmed with vexations in order to stop them from fulfilling their ministry. The precious light of Faith will be extinguished in souls by the almost total corruption of customs.”
Then Our Lady of Good Success continues to complain that:
“Those who have the financial means to help the Church will do nothing. Their miserly attitude toward God and His Church will allow evil to seemingly triumph.”
Many other prophecies were given which depict the future as being very troublesome for the Church.
The Pope’s “infallibility will be declared a dogma of Faith by the same Pope chosen to proclaim the dogma of the mystery of my Immaculate Conception. He will be persecuted and imprisoned in the Vatican through the usurpation of the Pontifical States and through the malice, envy, and avarice of an earthly monarch.”
“Unbridled passions will give way to a total corruption of customs because Satan will reign through the Masonic sects, targeting the children in particular to insure general corruption.
“Unhappy, the children of those times! Seldom will they receive the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. As for the sacrament of Penance, they will confess only while attending Catholic schools, which the devil will do his utmost to destroy by means of persons in authority.
“The same will occur with Holy Communion. Oh, how it hurts me to tell you that there will be many and enormous public and hidden sacrileges!
“In those times, the sacrament of Extreme Unction will be largely ignored.… Many will die without receiving it, being thereby deprived of innumerable graces, consolation, and strength in the great leap from time to eternity.
“The sacrament of Matrimony, which symbolizes the union of Christ with the Church, will be thoroughly attacked and profaned. Masonry, then reigning, will implement iniquitous laws aimed at extinguishing this sacrament. They will make it easy for all to live in sin, thus multiplying the birth of illegitimate children without the Church’s blessing….
“Secular education will contribute to a scarcity of priestly and religious vocations.”
“The holy sacrament of Holy Orders will be ridiculed, oppressed, and despised, for in this both the Church and God Himself are oppressed and reviled, since He is represented by His priests.
“The devil will work to persecute the ministers of the Lord in every way, working with baneful cunning to destroy the spirit of their vocation and corrupting many. Those who will thus scandalize the Christian flock will bring upon all priests the hatred of bad Christians and the enemies of the One, Holy, Roman Catholic, and Apostolic Church. This apparent triumph of Satan will cause enormous suffering to the good pastors of the Church…and to the Supreme Pastor and Vicar of Christ on earth who, a prisoner in the Vatican, will shed secret and bitter tears in the presence of God Our Lord, asking for light, sanctity, and perfection for all the clergy of the world, to whom he is King and Father.”
“Unhappy times will come wherein those who should fearlessly defend the rights of the Church will instead, blinded despite the light, give their hand to the Church’s enemies and do their bidding. But when [evil] seems triumphant and when authority abuses its power, committing all manner of injustice and oppressing the weak, their ruin shall be near. They will fall and crash to the ground.
“Then will the Church, joyful and triumphant like a young girl, reawaken and be comfortably cradled in the arms of my most dear and elect son of those times. If he lends an ear to the inspirations of grace–one of which will be the reading of these great mercies that my Son and I have had toward you–we shall fill him with graces and very special gifts and will make him great on earth and much greater in Heaven. There we have reserved a precious seat for him because, heedless of men, he will have fought for truth and ceaselessly defended the rights of the Church, deserving to be called ‘martyr.’”
“At the end of the nineteenth century and throughout a great part of the twentieth, many heresies will be propagated in these lands.…
“The small number of souls who will secretly safeguard the treasure of Faith and virtues will suffer a cruel, unspeakable, and long martyrdom. Many will descend to their graves through the violence of suffering and will be counted among the martyrs who sacrificed themselves for the country and the Church.
“To be delivered from the slavery of these heresies, those whom the merciful love of my Son has destined for this restoration will need great will-power, perseverance, courage, and confidence in God. To try the faith and trust of these just ones, there will be times when all will seem lost and paralyzed. It will then be the happy beginning of the complete restoration….
“In those times the atmosphere will be saturated with the spirit of impurity which, like a filthy sea, will engulf the streets and public places with incredible license.… Innocence will scarcely be found in children, or modesty in women.
“He who should speak seasonably will remain silent.
“There shall be scarcely any virgin souls in the world. The delicate flower of virginity will seek refuge in the cloisters.…Without virginity, fire from heaven will be needed to purify these lands.…
“Sects, having permeated all social classes, will find ways of introducing themselves into the very heart of homes to corrupt the innocence of children. The children’s hearts will be dainty morsels to regale the devil.…
“Religious communities will remain to sustain the Church and work with courage for the salvation of souls.… The secular clergy will fall far short of what is expected of them because they will not pursue their sacred duty. Losing the divine compass, they will stray from the way of priestly ministry mapped out for them by God and will become devoted to money, seeking it too earnestly.
“Pray constantly, implore tirelessly, and weep bitter tears in the seclusion of your heart, beseeching the Eucharistic Heart of my most holy Son to take pity on His ministers and to end as soon as possible these unhappy times by sending to His Church the Prelate who shall restore the spirit of her priests.”
Mother Mariana of Jesus Torres died on January 16, 1635, after receiving the Holy Eucharist and the Sacraments of the Church. After three hundred years, in 1906, when the church was being remodeled, her tomb was opened. They were stunned to find her body perfectly intact with no decay after three hundred years! This divinely incorrupt body is now kept in a small chapel in the lower level of the cloistered convent. Her Cause for beatification was opened on the diocesan level by the local bishop. At the conclusion of the investigation of her heroic virtues, she was given the title, Servant of God.
At the request of Blessed Mary, her statue was placed above the Abbess’ chair in the upper choir of the convent because she desired to be Abbess of the convent “until the end of time.” Unlike the statue in Madrid which depicts the Baby Jesus on the left arm, while the right hand of the Virgin holds a queenly scepter. The statue in Quito also has the Baby Jesus on the left arm, while the right hand holds a crosier and the keys of the convent – not a royal scepter. The crosier denotes her authority as Abbess.