Today, September 19, we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of La Salette.
On Saturday, September 19, 1846, on the feast day of Our Lady of Sorrows. about three o'clock in the afternoon, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared on the mountain in La Salette, France to fifteen-year-old Melanie Calvat and eleven-year-old Maximin Giraud, two young shepherds. Mary appeared in a resplendent light as a beautiful woman dressed in a strange costume, seated on a stone, her face buried in her hands, crying. The beautiful lady then stood up and crossed her arms. She told the children not to be afraid but reassured them that she had great news to share. She gave them both a public message and asked them to make her message known to all her people. Our Lady called the townspeople to repent of their sins and to turn back to Christ.
The Blessed Mother told them: "If my people do not wish to submit themselves, I am forced to let go of the hand of my Son. It is so heavy and weighs me down so much I can no longer keep hold of it." She lamented with tears those who do not keep Sunday holy and those who take the name of the Lord in vain. She went on to speak of the hope of divine mercy if the people amended their lives, and encouraged the children to say their prayers regularly. She told them:"You should say them well, at night and in the morning, even if you say only an Our Father and a Hail Mary when you can't do better. When you can do better, say more." Our Lady then shared a private secret with each of the children.
Blessed Melanie Calvat was instructed to found a new religious order, the Order of the Mother of God, which would associate under one single common rule more than one community.
In 1851, both secrets were written down and handed to Pope Pius IX. The apparition at La Salette was approved at this time. It was also at this time that the miracles began. The first year after the apparition, twenty-three cures were approved. Since that time, hundreds of additional miraculous cures have been reported.
In 1858, the Blessed Mother asked Melanie to make her secret known. In 1888, the secret was published.
Three-quarters of France will lose the Faith.
A Protestant nation in the North shall repent and return to God.
The Church shall grow once more.
The peace will be destroyed by a "monster" [Communism] at the end of the 19th Century or beginning of the 20th century.
The children did not share their secrets with one another and Maxim's secret was not published as he died before so doing.
For more information on this apparition and the religious order founded by Blessed Melanie Calvat, please see the official site of the La Salette Missionaries.
The Relevance of the Message Today:
Although this apparition occurred more than 150 years ago, its message is still relevant today. Our Blessed Mother desires only the best for us -- the salvation of our souls. We can do this only by changing our ways, rejecting sin, and turning back to God. We also need to stay committed to him. She asks that we do this by praying our prayers fervently and devoutly, both morning and night. Both our words and our actions, done with love, are the way to her Son and Mary always leads us to Jesus.
Pope St. John Paul II Quote on La Salette:
"As I wrote on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady: 'La Salette is a message of hope, for our hope is nourished by the intercession of her who is the Mother of mankind'."
-- Pope John Paul II in his Address to the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette on May 4, 2000