On September 19th, 1846, Our Lady appeared to two cow herders, in the French Alps in a place called LaSalette. The rather odd duo, Melanie and Maximin hardly ever thought of God, prayer or even Our Lady. But the Mother of God chose these two ordinary children to see the light on the mountain and carry her message of sorrow and mercy to the world.
Fr. John S. Kennedy's, S.J. book, Light on the Mountain, retells in sweeping narrative the story of the apparition at LaSalette.
Melanie Mathieu was fourteen when the apparition happened. She was the underdog at home. No one showed any love to her. She was practically the breadwinner in her family and they only looked forward to her bringing her paycheck and a meal home on the weekends. Of these meals, too, she most likely only ever received the scraps.
Maximin was eleven when the apparition changed his life. He was not like Melanie. These two did not have anything in common. In fact, the only thing that they could ever agree upon were the details surrounding the apparition. Where Melanie was treated little better than a slave, Maximin’s childhood was similar to that of the free range sheep he herded.
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On the 19th of September, Melanie and Maximin were tending cows when they suddenly saw a light on the mountain. It appeared to be a bright globe which opened and inside was a woman who was sitting on a rock crying.
Her garb was very peculiar to the region as she wore a crown on her head, and a white dress with a yellow apron over it. On her shawl was lined roses of many colors. On her breast she wore a crucifix with a hammer and pliers - the tools of the crucifixion- on either side.
When Melanie saw the woman, she thought that it was the devil going to take her to hell for having neglected her prayers.
Maximin’s thoughts were more practical. He thought that it was a mother whose children must have slapped her and she had come to the mountain to cry her heart out.
When the lady spoke to them, she warned of a coming chastisement. She warned that there would be a famine if the people did not stop working on Sundays and if they continued to curse and swear.
She said that the weight of her Son’s arm was too hard to restrain and that He would punish the world. She asked the children to share this message to the whole world.
Long before LaSalette, in a dream, St. Francis of Assisi saw Our Lord in Divine anger about to hurl a ball of flame at the world. Our Lady intervened and presented Our Lord with two men. She said that because of these two men the world would change to the better very soon.
St. Francis recognized himself as one of the men presented. The man beside him wore a white habit and a black cloak. Our Lord’s anger was appeased and He promised not to destroy the world for the sake of the great work these two men would perform. Later when St. Francis met St. Dominic, he recognized him as the second man in the dream.
Our Lady’s reference to restraining her Son’s arm to Melanie and Maximin sounds similar to St. Francis’ dream. Ever since the day she stood at the foot of the cross, Our Lady has never ceased to intercede for her children on earth.
Our Lady gave each of them a secret that they were not allowed to tell anyone. Later, the children were asked to share the secret with the Pope. After many distressing conversations, Melanie and Maximin agreed that they would write down the secrets to be shared with the Holy Father exclusively. After they had each written their letters, they felt like a great burden was taken from them.
Maximin remarked: Now, I’m free.
In recent years, the Vatican has released the secrets given to the children at LaSalette. Maximin was told that Europe would become very corrupt followed by a short time of peace at the end of which would emerge a monster.
Our Lady told Maximin that all these things would happen by the year 2000.
Melanie’s secret was unique from Maximin’s in terms of being of a more mature language and verbiage. Melanie refers to Maximin’s monster as being the Anti-Christ. It was disclosed to Melanie that these things would happen soon.
Here are the letters that Melanie and Maximin wrote in 1851 to the Holy Father which have been recently revealed by the Vatican:
On September 19, 1846, we saw a beautiful Lady. We never said that this lady was the Blessed Virgin but we always said that it was a beautiful Lady.
I do not know if it is the Blessed Virgin or another person. As for me, I believe today that it is the Blessed Virgin. Here is what this Lady said to me:
"If my people continue, what I will say to you will arrive earlier, if it changes a little, it will be a little later.
France has corrupted the universe, one day it will be punished. The faith will die out in France: three quarters of France will not practice religion anymore, or almost no more, the other part will practice it without really practicing it. Then, after, nations will convert, the faith will be rekindled everywhere. A great country, now Protestant, in the north of Europe, will be converted; by the support of this country all the other nations of the world will be converted.
Before all that arrives, great disorders will arrive, in the Church, and everywhere. Then, after, our Holy Father the Pope will be persecuted. His successor will be a pontiff that nobody expects.
Then, after, a great peace will come, but it will not last a long time. A monster will come to disturb it.
All that I tell you here will arrive in the other century, at the latest in the year two thousand."
(She told me to say it some time before.)
My Most Holy Father, your holy blessing to one of your sheep.
Grenoble, July 3,1851.
Secret which the Blessed Virgin gave me on the Mountain of La Salette on September 19, 1846
Mélanie, I will say something to you which you will not say to anybody:
The time of the God's wrath has arrived!
If, when you say to the people what I have said to you so far, and what I will still ask you to say, if, after that, they do not convert, (if they do not do penance, and they do not cease working on Sunday, and if they continue to blaspheme the Holy Name of God), in a word, if the face of the earth does not change, God will be avenged against the people ungrateful and slave of the demon.
My Son will make his power manifest! Paris, this city soiled by all kinds of crimes, will perish infallibly. Marseilles will be destroyed in a little time. When these things arrive, the disorder will be complete on the earth, the world will be given up to its impious passions.
The pope will be persecuted from all sides, they will shoot at him, they will want to put him to death, but no one will not be able to do it, the Vicar of God will triumph again this time.
The priests and the Sisters, and the true servants of my Son will be persecuted, and several will die for the faith of Jesus-Christ.
A famine will reign at the same time.
After all these will have arrived, many will recognize the hand of God on them, they will convert, and do penance for their sins.
A great king will go up on the throne, and will reign a few years. Religion will re-flourish and spread all over the world, and there will be a great abundance, the world, glad not to be lacking nothing, will fall again in its disorders, will give up God, and will be prone to its criminal passions.
God's ministers, and the Spouses of Jesus-Christ, there will be some who will go astray, and that will be the most terrible.
Lastly, hell will reign on earth. It will be then that the Antichrist will be born of a Sister, but woe to her! Many will believe in him, because he will claim to have come from heaven, woe to those who will believe in him!
That time is not far away, twice 50 years will not go by.
My child, you will not say what I have just said to you. (You will not say it to anybody, you will not say if you must say it one day, you will not say what that it concerns), finally you will say nothing anymore until I tell you to say it!
I pray to Our Holy Father the Pope to give me his holy blessing.
Mélanie Mathieu, Shepherdess of La Salette, Grenoble, July 6, 1851.
In the valley where the apparition took place, a spring that was once dry flowed full the day after the apparition and has done so ever since. This miraculous water has cured the sick and the dying who drink of it and pray a novena to Our Lady LaSalette.
If you ever have the grace to make a pilgrimage to LaSalette, make sure that you bring some of this water home with you.
We studied the apparition at La Salette as a history course. It lasted about 9-12 weeks. I read Light on the Mountain out loud while the kids colored a coloring book by Mary Fabyan Windeatt.
The pictures matched the chapters as we were reading Light on the Mountain.
We ended the course by reviewing some pictures that I had taken while I was on a pilgrimage to La Salette. This added a personal and solid understanding to the visual pictures provided in the novel.
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