IMPORTANT NOTES CONCERNING THE APPARITION OF OUR LADY OF LA SALETTE:
The shepherd children Maximino and Melanie saw our Blessed Mother Mary and received urgent messages for all humanity. The Virgin Mary mentioned specifically the need to renounce to two grave and very common sins:
2. Not honoring Sundays as days set aside for the Lord to rest and to attend Holy Mass.
She asked the children to pray, to sacrifice and to propagate the messages.
The Blessed Mother cried with her head in her hands, because men were ignoring the Cross of Jesus Christ.
Several religious congregations, inspired by the apparitions of La Salette, were founded. Among them are the Missionaries and the Sisters of Our Lady of La Salette, dedicated to promoting the message of reconciliation.
La Salette is one of the approved apparitions of the XX century.
JOHN PAUL II ON THE APPARITIONS OF LA SALETTE:
“In this place, Mary, the loving Mother appeared manifesting her pain for the moral evil caused by humanity. Her tears help us to understand the seriousness of sin and the rejection of God, and at the same time it is a manifestation of the passionate fidelity that her Son has for each person, even though His redemptive love is marked by the wounds of treason and abandonment by men.”
HISTORY OF LA SALETTE
This great event occurred on top of the mountainous area of southeastern France, near the village of La Salette. Two children, Maximino Giraud (11 years old) and Melanie Mathieu (15 years old), were caring for the sheep. Melanie had been doing this type of work since she was nine years old, but for Maximinio it was all new. His father had asked him to do it as an act of generosity toward a farmer whose worker was ill.
Here is a narration of the day before the apparitions, according to the visionary Melanie:
“On September 18th, 1846, on the eve of the apparition of Our Lady, I was alone as usual caring for my master’s cattle. Around 11:00 am in the morning I saw a boy coming towards me. A first I was afraid; I thought everyone knew I avoided all types of company. The boy got nearer and said to me: ‘Hey girl, I want to go with you, I’m from Corps.’ To these words, I reacted with my natural meanness and said, ‘I want to be alone.’ But he followed me and said, ‘My master sent me here to you to help with the cattle. I come from Corps.’ I was annoyed and departed from him, letting him know that I didn’t want anyone around me. After a certain distance, I sat down on the grass. Usually, while alone, I would talk to the flowers of the field or to the Good God.
“After a moment, Maximino was sitting behind me, and he told me very directly, ‘Let me be with you. I will behave.’ Against my will and feeling pity for him, I allowed him to stay. Upon hearing the bells from La Salette for the Angelus, I told him to elevate his soul to God. He took off his hat and stayed in silence for a moment. Later we walked and played together. At sun down we walked down the mountain and promised to return the next day to take the cattle.”
The following day Saturday, September 19th, 1846, was a very hot day and the children decided to eat their lunch in a shaded area. Melanie discovered that Maximino was a good child, simple and willing to talk about what she wanted. He was playful and flexible, but yet somewhat curious. They took the cattle to a small mountain opening and decided to stay and take a nap. Both slept deeply. Melanie was the first to awaken. She did not see the cattle, and she quickly awakened Maximino. Together they went in search for the cattle and found them resting in the pasture. The two children then returned to the spot near where they napped to get the utensils they had used for lunch. Suddenly, they saw a luminous globe that seemed to divide itself. Melanie asked Maximino if he saw what she was seeing. She exclaimed, “Oh, My God!” and dropped the stick she had been holding in her hand. Something unreal and inconceivable filled her at that moment. Full of profound respect and love, she felt attracted to this vision, and her heart began to beat rapidly.
Suddenly, they saw a woman sitting on an enormous rock. She had her face in her hands and was crying bitterly. Melanie and Maximino were frightened, but the Lady, rising slowly to her feet and crossing her arms softly, called them towards her and told them not to be afraid. She added that she had great and important news to communicate. Her gentle and soft words made the children go near to her with haste. Melanie recalls that at that moment her heart wanted to be close to the beautiful Lady.
The Lady was tall and with a majestic appearance. Her dress was white, with an apron around her waist. It seemed to be gold in color, but they could not say for certain because the fabric did not seem to be of the earth, and it shone more brilliantly than the sun. Over her arms she had a beautiful white shawl surrounded by a border containing many multicolored roses.
A chain with a crucifix hung from her neck. Two items hung over the crossbar of the crucifix– on one side a hammer, and on the other side pliers. A crown of roses on her head radiated luminous rays, like a diadem. Tears from her beautiful eyes flowed over her cheeks. A light more brilliant then the sun, but somehow different, surrounded her.
To explain her tears, she told the children that the hand of her Son was so heavy and strong that she could no longer sustain it. It would only change if people would do penance and obey the laws of God. If they did not, they would have to suffer much. She said, “People do not observe the Day of the Lord. They continue to work with out ceasing on Sundays. Only some older women go to Mass in the summer. And in the winter, when there is nothing else to do, they go to Church to ridicule religion. Lenten time is ignored. Men swear, taking the Name of God in vain. The disobedience and disregard of God’s commandments are the things that make the hand of My Son heavier.”
The Lady continued conversing with the children, and she foretold them of a terrible famine and food shortage. She also explained that the potato harvest had gone bad for the same reasons the previous year. When the men had found the rotten potatoes, they swore and blasphemed against the Name of God and more. Our Lady said that in the coming year, the harvest would go bad again. The corn and wheat would become dust when touched, the nuts would spoil and the grapes would be rotten. Later, the Lady communicated to each child a secret that they were not to reveal to anyone, except the Holy Father through a special petition that he himself would make.
The Lady added that if the people would convert, the rocks and stones would become wheat and potatoes would be found planted on the earth. Then she asked the children, “Do you do your prayers well, my children?” They both responded, “Oh no, my Lady; not too well.”
She answered, “Oh, my children! You have to say them well at night time and in the morning. When you cannot pray them well, pray an Our Father and a Hail Mary; and when you have time and can, pray more.” With her maternal voice, she ended: “Well, my children, tell all this to my people.” She then moved toward the place where the children had went to look for the cattle. Her feet glided, touching only the tips of the grass without bending it. On the mountain the Lady stopped. Melanie and Maximino ran towards her rapidly to see where she was heading. Our Lady elevated slowly. She stayed elevated a few minutes a few meters up (aprox. 3-5m). She then looked up to heaven, to her right (towards Rome), to her left (France), and last, into the eyes of the children. Then, intermingled with the globe of light, she rose until she disappeared in the firmament.
After the Apparition
Only a few believed what the children saw and heard. The farmers who came into contact with the children where amazed at them. They were so ignorant, and yet they were able to transmit and communicate, in French, a complicated message which they did not understand well. As well, they were able to do this clearly and with precise descriptions.
The following morning Melanie and Maximino were taken to see the pastor. He was an older priest, very generous and respected. The priest, upon interrogating the children and hearing of the events, was very surprised and believed they were telling the truth.
The following Sunday at Mass the priest spoke about the visit of the Lady and her petition. When the news that the pastor spoke about an apparition from the pulpit reached the bishop, he was reprimanded and replaced by another priest. This is not surprising, given that the Church is very prudent in not making hasty judgments on apparitions.
Melanie and Maximino were constantly interrogated by curious people as well as very devoted ones. They simplely said the same story, repeating it over and over. To those interested in going up the mountain, they take them to the place where Our Lady appeared. On several occasions, they were threatened with jail if they did not deny the alleged apparitions and if they continued to speak about them. Without fear or hesitation, they continued to report all the messages that Our Lady gave them.
Soon after, a fountain emerged near the place where Our Lady appeared. The water from the fountain ran down to the stream below. Many miracles started to occur. The terrible calamities foretold started to happen. The terrible potato famine of 1846 occurred, especially bad in Ireland where many died. The shortage of wheat and corn was very severe; more then one million people in Europe died of hunger. A disease affected the grapes throughout all of France. Most likely the punishment would have been worse without the messages of La Salette.
However, as a result, many people started to go to Mass. The businesses began to close on Sundays, and people stopped working unnecessarily. The bad words and blasphemies started to diminish.
The Bishop of La Salette named two theologians to investigate the apparitions and all the healings that had occured. For five years detailed investigations took place. In approximately 80 different places throughout France, bishops named canon lawyers to investigate the miraculous healings that had occurred as a result of prayers to Our Lady of La Salette and from the water of the fountain. Hundreds of miracles were registered.
The Holy Father, Pius IX, approved the devotion to Our Lady of La Salette. He requested that the children send him the events of the apparition in writing. Some time later the Holy Father said: “These are the secrets of La Salette; if the world does not repent, all will perish.”
PROCLAMATION OF MIRACLES
March 4th, 1849
Mellon Joli, Archbishop of Sens, Bishop of Auxerre, Primate Bishop of las Galias y de Germany:
“I have seen the report from the named Commission on January 24th, 1848 for the legal investigation about the healing that extraordinarily occurred in Avallon on November 12th, 1847 to the person of Antoinette Bollenat after praying a novena to the Virgin Mary, invoking the name of Our Lady of La Salette. Seeing the interrogations made to the witnesses and doctors . . .and having asked the opinion of my Council, and invoking the Name of God, we declare for the Glory of God, the glorification of the Blessed Virgin Mary and for the edification of the faithful, that such healing presents all the conditions and miraculous characteristics.”
August 1st, 1849
Luis Rossat, Bishop of Verdún:
“We declare the event of instant healing certain and unquestionable, since April 1, 1849 until today, in the person of Martin, student of our major Seminary. According to the relations we ordered, very difficult to explain by only natural means, we are surprised that the students of our seminary unanimously attribute the healing to the supernatural intervention of the Blessed Virgin Mary.”
The account aforementioned, signed by the Superior of the Seminary, the accountant and three professors, affirm that M. Martin is an edifying minor cleric, of intact confidence. During the course until April 1st, he hardly was able to lean on his left leg without continuous pain, disabling him from continuing his community obligations. The Bishop decided not to admit him to minor orders until he was completely cured. On April 1st he started a novena to Our Lady of La Salette, and his spiritual director at 6pm gave him a glass of water from La Salette to drink. At 7pm he was walking, going up and down, running through the stairs. The healing strongly impressed the seminary."
January 12th, 1855
Clemente, Bishop of la Rochelle and of Saintes:
“I have heard the testimonies of many people about the sudden healing of Madame Bonnet of an incurable disease, as a consequence to a novena she did to Our Lady of La Salette. Attentively examining the verbal process requested to Dr. M. Kemmerer who testifies the impossibility of a cure by human means, consulting our Council, and invoking light from the Holy Spirit, we pronounce that it can only be attributed to a supernatural intervention.”
A beautiful basilica was constructed on the place of the apparitions, six thousand feet above sea level. Today, next to the basilica, is a center for welcoming, receiving and accommodating pilgrims.
A new congregation of priests was founded: Missionary Priests of Our Lady of La Salette. They have houses and schools around the world. To promote their work and to contribute to the propagation of the messages of Our Lady of penance, a confraternity was founded and elevated immediately to a congregation.
A congregation of religious, the Sisters of Our Lady of La Salette, was established to help pilgrim women and the sick. Many pilgrims visit the Basilica annually, and with a penitent spirit, climb the mountain. Many miracles of body and soul occur, depending on the devotion of the faithful and God’s grace.
THE MESSAGES AND THEIR SIGNIFICANCE
Our Lady of La SaletteIf we ask ourselves about the significance and the grace given to humanity on September 19th, 1846, we find in the Word of God important aspects to ponder, given to us in the messages from heaven through Our Lady of La Salette. Following are verses and points to ponder that relate to the apparitions. These have great evangelical significance to our times.
“To see and understand.”
“That is why I speak to them in parables, because they look and do not see; they hear, but they do not listen or understand.” (Mt. 13:13)
Before speaking, the Lady communicated with signals. Mary, Mother of Jesus and our Mother, irradiated the light of the Resurrection. The brilliance of her face was so much that Maximino was unable to look permanently, and Melanie was dazzled by her presence. Her vestments, like Christ on the mountain the day of the Transfiguration, were resplendent with light. The light came from the big Crucifix on her chest. Through her appearance at La Salette, Mary continues to carry her mission received at the foot of the Cross: embrace suffering and pain for us, to give us life in the faith.
“For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” (1Cor 2:2).
The crucifix is between a hammer and pliers, two instruments of the Passion. From the shoulders of the beautiful Lady, a long chain fell down, a biblical symbol of sin and the injustices committed by us against our brothers and sisters. Parallel to the chains, at the borders of her shawl, the beautiful Lady had many beautiful roses of different colors. This reminds us of the rosary. In all of this she shows us the consequences of sin. However, this image also shows us our redemption gained through the cross, and the glory that will come if we embrace it.
Also she has roses around her head and feet, like a diadem of light. “I took root in the people God has favored, in the land of the Lord, in their inheritance. I grew like palm trees in Engedi and the rosebuds of Jericho “ (Sirach 24:12-14).
The meaning of her chains can be enlightened by the following passage from the Dogmatic Constitution, Gaudium et Spes, of the Second Vatican Council: From here man is divided in himself. That is why all human life, individual or collective is presented as a dynamic struggle, between evil and good, between darkness and light. More so man finds himself incapacitated to resist efficiently by himself the attacks of evil, feeling trapped in chains” (GS 13).
Hear and Put Into Practice (Luke 6:46, 8:21, 11: 28, James 1:25-27).
The Lord instructed that we must put into practice what we hear. "Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' but not do what I command?” (Luke 6:46)
The maternal charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary intercedes, cares, and continues to bring the gifts of eternal salvation to us, brothers of Her Son, who are still on our journey, surrounded with dangers and difficulties until the day we enter the Promised Land. The Blessed Mother speaks the language of her people. The Virgin is a “daughter of Israel,” who lived in a specific culture, but she appeared communicating according to the culture of her children. Mary, as a daughter of Israel, teaches us to discover, in all events and situations of life, the discrete presence of God who “does marvelous things“ and who “remembers His love for His people.” She calls us to urgent conversion. Because of her immense love for us, she worries about our religious indifference and our sins, but also for our problems and hopes.
The Virgin is placed in the tradition of the prophets. A prophet is someone who God entrusts with a mission to speak in His Name to the people, to reveal, in the temporary events of this world, the call to a greater love. In La Salette the Virgin takes in account the actual situation of the crops and the harvest: the wheat, the potatoes, grapes and nuts. She starts with the pessimistic prediction to the farmers; the famine and premature death of the wheat if things do not change. She tells us “we do not pay attention” and later challenges our hearts: “If you convert.” She reminds us of the call of Him who is the Word:
“The time has come; the kingdom of God is at hand. Change your ways and believe the Good News” (Mk 1:15).
“Set your heart first on the kingdom of God and all these things will also be given to you“ (Mt. 6:33).
In reality it is a call from the Gospel perhaps forgotten, and the Blessed Mother reminds us. Meditating on her messages can help us recall the great truths found in the Gospels. All is united in Christ: Christ crucified and resurrected. The role of Mary in respect to all believers is to unite us to Jesus. In our struggles, battles and sacrifices we have the daily opportunity to be transfigured in Christ.
“In the Name of Christ we implore you” (John 20:31; Acts 4:12)
The Blessed Virgin Mary, modeled in the Resurrected Christ, comes with a message of peace, which is the fruit of a life lived in the Gospel. The Virgin comes imploring for us to return to Jesus. She asks us also, in union with her, to become missionaries. The Good News needs to be proclaimed, heard and diffused.
The Virgin said: “If my people does not want to summit. . . “ In these modern times is difficult to hear the words of warning. But the Virgin does not come to take away our liberty, nor to threaten us, but to invite us to live in the kingdom and leadership of Christ, in communion with His will. This submission, which is communion with God, is what Mary, the humble servant of the Lord, lived from the Annunciation to the Crucifixion and Pentecost. That is why all generations will call her blessed ( Luke 1:48).
We can never give recompense for the sufferings of Mary for us, but that is the reason why we should respond more generously. “The entire body of the faithful pours forth urgent supplications to the Mother of God and of men that she, who aided the beginnings of the Church by her prayers, may now, exalted as she is above all the angels and saints, intercede before her Son in the fellowship of all the saints” (Lumen Gentium, 69).
“Reconcile with God” (Mt 5:23; Mc.11:24; 2Cor 5:18; Ef 2:15 )
Our Lady specifies the two reasons for rejection: “The two things that make the hand of my Son so heavy” are:
1. Disrespect on the Day of the Lord. This helps us recall the two first books of the Bible, Genesis and Exodus, remembering that since the beginning Christians celebrated Sunday as the day of the Resurrection. How do I honor the day the Lord has reserved for Himself? Do I really treat as a day of repose and a day to assist at Holy Mass?
2. Disrespect to the Name of my Son. Those who disrespect and speak against the Name of Christ in the midst of the least adversity are trying to place the responsibility of their situations on God. When we are going through trials, we center on ourselves in selfish ways that only leads us to despair. The Blessed Mother comes to remind us again: “Holy is His Name.” As is says in Acts 4:12, “There is no salvation in anyone else, for there is no other Name given to humankind all over the world by which we may be saved.”
“And whatever you do or say, do it in the Name of Jesus, the Lord, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col 3:17).
“Often refusing to acknowledge God as his source, man has also upset the relationship which should link him to his last end; and at the same time he has broken the right order that should reign within himself as well as between himself and other men and all creatures.” (Gaudium et Spes, 13)
Things that Decay ( Mt 6:19; Luke 12,13; James 5:3)
Rebellion against God means “death of God in us”. The absence of God in us inevitably leads us to death and the breaking off with the universe. This break is cause of our decay, our corruption. To redeem us of this evil, Jesus Christ came to the world. In La Salette, the Blessed Virgin doesn’t take us away us from reality. On the contrary, she gives us an urgent call to recognize the dangers in which we live and to embrace the redemption that her Son gives us. The harvest and rotten potatoes, the wheat that becomes dust, the empty nuts, the ruined grapes, the famine and epidemic – all this is caused by sin.
Our precarious situation and our short lives here on earth are motives leading us to conversion, challenging us to follow Christ to Calvary in our daily lives. This is the fountain of our confidence.
Today two thirds of humanity suffer from hunger and malnutrition. Where human rights are ignored, injustice and risk of destruction increase. May all this allow us to meditate on “the signs of God “ and help lead us to Him. In this way we will act as true brothers and sisters, especially with those less fortunate.
“If you convert” (Ez 18:30; 1R 8:35; Mk 1:15; Luc 15; Acts 2:38, 3:19)
The call to conversion is at the heart of the message of La Salette. All is directed toward this end: the tears and the crucifix, the light and the roses, the attitude of the beautiful Lady, her walk on the mountain, especially her words: “Return to God with all your heart.“ He is the only fountain of life. “All creation is eagerly expecting the birth in glory of the children of God “(Rom 8:19).
In the messages, Our Lady shows us three important ways of conversion: (Mt. 6:5; Mk. 14:32; Lk 18:1; Jn 17)
1. Persevering in profound prayer. She asked the children, “Do you do well your prayers?” They responded, “Not too well, My Lady.” Perhaps this is also our response. The Blessed Virgin Mary exhorts us to pray daily, morning and evening. “Stay awake and pray, so that you man not fall into temptation” (Mt 26:41). The Blessed Mother indicated the minimum to pray – one Our Father and one Hail Mary – but she exhorts to go beyond this when we can. “Therefore all the disciples of Christ, persevering in prayer and praising God, (Acts 2:42) should present themselves as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God (Rom 12:1). Everywhere on earth they must bear witness to Christ and give an answer to those who seek an account of that hope of eternal life which is in them (1Pt 3:15)” (Lumen Gentium, 10).
2. Participation in Holy Mass. “During the summer only a few older women assist Holy Mass.” It is of vital importance to participate together weekly as Christians in the celebration of Sunday Mass. The Word of God nourishes our faith. Contact with God in the Eucharist, the bread of life for a new and redeemed world, is the fountain of life. Communion with His Body offered for us and His Blood shed for us reminds us that we should be prepared to offer our lives for all. We participate in this mystery, and we are strengthened with His Spirit. We are connected by our blindness and apathy in the midst of this passing world; the Church, in the Eucharistic celebration, understands and announces that the new world, inaugurated by the Resurrected Christ, is really present among us. It is necessary for us to be witnesses in our daily lives, through our individual conduct and as members of society. The Eucharist is the fountain of our hope and joy, and no one can take it away (Lk 21:14; Jn 13:1, 20:19-26).
3. To recover our dignity living as Christians. “During Holy Week you go to the butcher like dogs.” Far from scandalizing us, Our Ladies words should pierce our consciences. In Holy Scripture, when the people are compared to dogs, it means that they have lost the sense their dignity. (Phil 3:2; Mt. 7:6). What can we do with our dignity as sons and daughters of God when we waste the nourishment that perhaps others need? To recover our dignity we are to recognize that not from bread does man live; the efforts we do to help and share our gifts with others put us in communion with the Son of God, from whom all dignity comes. “Truly I say to you: whenever you did this to these little ones who are my brothers and sisters, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40).
Each year the Church presents us with the testimony given by Jesus during His Passion (1 Tim 6) as a reminder that we should never “sell” our dignity. The power of the resurrection is among us, working and making us sons and daughters of God. Therefore, we should never allow falsehood, error, injustice, riches or power to compromise ourselves or our integrity. We no longer live like dogs, but all our being and our goods are for the will of the Father.
In the Farm of "Coins" (Jer 23:24; Hosea 6:1; Mt 28:20; Lk 24:29; 2Cor 6:16)
The beautiful Lady mentioned to Maximino an event seemingly of little importance: A small favor given to his father. For a long time, Mr. Giraud didn’t attend Church and was indifferent to religion. On September 20th when he heard the narration on the apparitions, he reacted by prohibiting his son from repeating such nonsense. Days later, bothered by the people coming and going, trying to see Maximino and ask him questions, he threatened to punish him severely if it continued. “But, Papa She spoke to me about you,” the boy exclaimed. He reminded his father of the episode of the ruined wheat in the farm of Coins. In this instant, his father had been worried that his son would have nothing to eat because the crop of wheat had been ruined. However, on Maximino’s trip back home to Corps, someone had given Maximino some bread. Maximino had forgotten the incident, the same way his father had forgotten. Mr. Giraud was surprised; he believed that he had expelled God out of his life. With this incident, he realized that that God never ceases, not even for an instant, to hear the hopes and anxieties of His children, even the fear of not having bread to give to his son. This discovery was the beginning of an authentic conversion, which intensified later with the miraculous healing of his chronic asthma.
We can ask ourselves if we are really conscience of the presence of God wherever we go. When we share our bread with others in need, anywhere in our lives, the Father in heaven is there, for He is the fountain of life.
Urgent Missionary Dimension (Mt 28:18; Lk 10:1; Jn 17:18; 20:21; Rom 10:13)
“Well my children, say all this to my people.” The missionary dimension is essential for every Christian and Our Lady reminds us. Christ our Lord, came to create new conditions of life, through reconciliation with God and neighbor. We should dedicate ourselves to a life of reconciliation in the midst of a divided world. Reconciliation is the vital force capable of opening the future to all people, renewing broken bonds or weakened ones caused by selfishness and fear. We are to strive to be missionaries in a world where all work, construct, suffer and hope.
Many pilgrims come to the mountain and the apparition site of La Salette. All individually feel called by the beautiful Lady who reminds us that God is “rich in mercy“ and is present in each of our lives.
How can we not answer to such tenderness? How can we resist the unceasing tears of Mary that cry and intercede for us? She is near us with her maternal attention, in each detail and incident of our lives. Mary most Holy, faithful to her mission received in Calvary, never ceases to remind us of the ways necessary to return to her Son; without her help we cannot construct new lives or a new world. To reject Her graces brings grave consequences. Mary, our advocate and reconciler came to La Salette to remind us of this truth.
We have forgotten the truths of the Gospel. Upon contemplating her apparition and meditating on her words, we should be moved to respond to her call, to alleviate her pain, to dry her tears, to return to God with all our hearts through her Son Jesus Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He was crucified for our sins and resurrected among the dead for our salvation. Jesus, our peace and reconciliation.
THE VISIONARIES AFTER THE APPARITIONS
Maximino tried to become a priest and entered the minor seminary. He had difficulty learning, had many doubts about his vocation, and left the seminary. Many ask why? Did he not receive the grace of a vocation or did he not respond to it? We can only say that the life of each soul, the graces and the response given, is a mystery.
Many affirm that Maximino had profound faith and solidly possessed the virtue of chastity. “When one has seen Our Lady, we can no longer thing of women.” He worked in the hospital for some time, later became a soldier, and finally ended up administrating a small religious store.
There has been some confusion concerning an encounter between St. John Vianney (Cure of Ars) and Maximino. The young man visited the Saint when he had the vocational crises. The Cure of Ars, at that moment, misinterpreted him and believed that Maximino had denied seeing Our Lady. St. John Vianney, being obedient, submitted it to authority of the Bishop and the Pope, who eventually approved the apparitions. “God does not confirms with miracles a superstition, nor the Church enrich it with indulgences” (Journal d́une Institutrice, page 117). Maximino, on his part, denied that he retracted. According to the explanation from Maximino, the Cure of Ars was hard of hearing and understood wrong, and he was only able to speak to him in the confessional. It became a confusion: Maximino said he confessed to lying on occasions, and St. John Vianney understood he was talking about the apparitions . . . Years later the Saint received a confirmation from God concerning the authenticity of the apparitions of La Salette. (Even though it was not necessary because of the Church’s approval.) All of this confusion, however, was all providential, for the newspapers and other periodicals printed the news. The news reached Archbishop of Lyon and Pope Pius IX, who from all this, received the secret and officially approved the apparition.
Regardless of all this, by God’s divine providence, Maximino lived through many moments of suffering, poverty, sickness and calamities. Maximino gained much merit here on earth, and without a doubt, has reached the glory of heaven. He died in state of grace at age 38.
Melanie also tried to enter religious life. She visited several communities, but never stayed for very long. Community life was very difficult for her. She was persecuted for being selected to communicate Our Lady’s messages. She courageously rejected the offenses against her. Even though she faced many contradictions, she admirably maintained constancy with the content and transmission of the messages of Our Lady of La Salette.
Her prayer life was intense, and some miracles were attributed to her while she was still living. One of the miracles concerns the illness of Rev. Combe, who was healed the day after Melanie visited him and told him he will be well and live to an old age. The priest, astounded, asked her, “What did you say to Our Lady?” Melanie answered, “Well, I only prayed to Our Lady and told her: ‘My Mother, Father Combe is very ill; he works for you and you have left him like this.’” Father Combe lived to be 82 years old.
In June 1904, Melanie left France to a small town called Altamura, south of Italy. Bishop Cecchini, O.P. was her friend and welcomed her with affection. She found a house outside of the city and settled there. She was tranquil and happy in her solitude. She went daily to the Cathedral. However, on December 15th she did not appear at the Cathedral. She had died during the night of December 14th. They entered her house by force and found her lying on the floor, completely dressed. She was 72 years old.
In February 1903 she had prophesied that her door of her house would be forced open and she would be found dead, somewhere in an unknown place of Italy. Two neighbors in Altamura related that the previous evening they had heard the beautiful Tantum Ergo hymn sung in the room of the French lady, as well as the ring of a small bell used to accompany the Sacred Viaticum taken to the dying. The people of Altamura believe Holy Communion was given to Melanie by the Lord Himself.
IMPORTANT NOTES ABOUT THE SECRET GIVEN TO MELANIE BY OUR LADY
The Beautiful Lady of La Salette communicated a secret to be revealed years later. Maximino assured that Our Lady said something to Melanie that he did not hear. This secret, however, is not included in the Church approval of the apparition because it was posthumously revealed.
Melanie: “What I’m to say to you will not always be a secret; you can announce it in 1858. Priests, my Son's ministers, priests, by their evil life, by their irreverences and their impiety in celebrating the holy mysteries, love of money, love of honor and pleasures, priests have become sewers of impurity. Yes, priests call forth vengeance, and vengeance is suspended over their heads. Woe to priests, and to persons consecrated to God, who by their infidelities and their evil life are crucifying my son anew! The sins of persons consecrated to God cry to heaven and call for vengeance, and now here is vengeance at their very doors, for no longer is anyone found to beg mercy and pardon for the people; there are no more generous souls, there is now no one worthy of offering the spotless Victim to the Eternal on the worlds behalf.
"God will strike in an unparalleled manner. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth! God will exhaust His anger, and no one will be able to escape so many evils at once. The heads, the leaders of the people of God, have neglected prayer and penance, and the devil has darkened their minds; they have become those wandering stars which the ancient devil will drag with his tail to destruction. God will permit the ancient serpent to sow divisions among rulers, in all societies and in all families; both physical and moral punishments will be suffered. God will abandon men to themselves and will send chastisements one after the other for over 35 years.
"Society is on the very eve of most terrible scourges and greatest events; one must expect to be governed by a rod of iron and to drink the chalice of God's wrath.
"In the year 1864 Lucifer, together with a great number of devils, will be loosed from hell; little by little they will abolish the faith, and that even in persons consecrated to God; they will so blind them, that without a special grace, these persons will take on the spirit of these evil angels; a number of religious houses will lose the faith entirely and cause many souls to be damned.
"Bad books will abound over the earth, and the spirits of darkness will everywhere spread universal relaxation in everything concerning God's service: they will have very great power over nature; there will be churches to serve these spirits. People will be transported form one place to another by these evil spirits, and even priests, because they will not have lived by the good spirit of the gospel, which is a spirit of humility, charity and zeal for the glory of God.
"There will be extraordinary wonders every place because the true faith has been extinguished and false light illumines the world. Woe to the princes of the church who will be occupied only with piling up riches upon riches, with guarding their authority and lording with pride!
“Because of the abandonment of the Holy Faith in God, each individual would want to guide himself and to be superior to his neighbor. "The Holy Father will suffer greatly. I shall be with him till the end to receive his sacrifice. "The wicked will make a number of attempts on his life without being able to harm him; but neither he nor his successor will see the triumph of God's Church.
"Civil governments will all have the same objective, which will be to abolish and make every religious principle disappear, to make way for materialism, atheism, spiritism and vices of all kinds.
“In the convents the flowers of the Church will putrefy, and the devil will establish himself as king of all hearts. Let those who are at the head of religious communities be on their guard concerning the persons they are to receive, because the devil will use all his malice to introduce into religious orders persons given to sin, for disorders and love of carnal pleasures will be widespread over the whole earth.
“The righteous will suffer greatly; their prayers, their penances and their tears will rise to heaven and all God's people will ask pardon and mercy and will ask my help and intercession. Then Jesus Christ, by an act of His justice and His great mercy toward the righteous, will command His angels to put all His enemies to death.
“At one blow the persecutors of the Church of Jesus Christ and all men given to sin will perish, and the earth will become like a desert. Then there will be peace, the reconciliation of God with men; Jesus Christ will be served, adored and glorified; charity will flourish everywhere. The new kings will be the right arm of Holy Church, which will be strong, humble, pious, poor, zealous and imitative of the virtues of Jesus Christ. The Gospel will be preached everywhere, and men will make great strides in the faith, because there will be unity among Jesus Christ's workers and men will live in the fear of God.
"This peace among men will not last long: 25 years of abundant harvests will make them forget that the sins of men are the cause of all the woes which happen on earth."
"I address a pressing appeal to the earth: I call upon the true disciples of the God living and reigning in the heavens; I call upon the true imitators of Christ made man, the one true Savior of men; I call upon my children, my true devotees, those who have given themselves o me so that I may lead them to my Divine Son, those whom I bear as it were in my arms, those who have lived in my spirit; finally, I call upon the Apostles of the Latter Times, the faithful disciples of Jesus Christ who have lived in contempt of the world and of themselves, in poverty and humility, in contempt and silence, in prayer and mortification, in chastity and in union with God, in suffering, and unknown to the world. It is time for them to emerge and come enlighten the earth. Go, show yourselves to be my dear children; I am with you and in you, provided your faith is the light enlightening you in these evil times. May your zeal make your famished for the glory and honor of Jesus Christ. Do battle, children of light, you, the few who see thereby; for the time of times, the end of ends, is at hand.”
The Blessed Mother predicted events to be fulfilled at specific dates, affecting nations, the Church and the whole world.