On September 19, 1846 the Mother of God appeared to Maximin Giraud, age 11, and Melanie Mathieu, age 14, on a mountain near the village of La Salette, in the French Alps. The children first noticed the “Beautiful Lady” as she was seated on a stone, weeping. An intense light surrounded her. The Lady arose and came toward the children saying "Come near, my children, do not be afraid. I am here to tell you great news. They run to meet her. Then she went on:
"If my people refuse to submit, I shall be forced to let go the arm of my Son. It is so strong and so heavy, I can no longer hold it. How long a time I have suffered for you! If I want my Son not to abandon you, I must plead with him without ceasing. And as for you, you pay no heed! However much you pray, however much you do, you will never be able to repay the pains 1 have taken for you. I gave you six days to work: I kept the seventh for myself and they will not give it to me. This is what makes the arm of my Son so heavy. And then, those who drive the carts cannot swear without bringing in my Son’s name.
These are the two things which make the arm of my Son so heavy. 1f the harvest is spoiled. it is only on your account. I warned you a last year by means of the potatoes. You paid no heed. Instead, when you found the potatoes spoiled, you swore, and took the name of my Son in vain. They are going to continue to spoil, and by Christmas this year there will be none left. "
The Beautiful Lady had been speaking French but Melanie, not knowing the French word for potatoes, turned towards Maximin to ask him if he knew what "pommes de terre" meant. The Lady interrupted: "Don’t you understand, my children? Let me find another way to say it. " Then speaking in the local dialect, she continued: "If you have wheat, it is useless to sow it. Anything you sow the insects will eat, and whatever does come up will fall into dust when you thresh it. A great famine is coming. Before the famine comes, children under seven will be seized with trembling and they will die in the arms of the persons who hold them. The rest will do penance through the famine. The walnuts will become worm-eaten, the grapes will rot. " The Lady then confided a separate secret to each of the children. Although each child noticed her lips moving, neither of them heard what was being said to the other. Having entrusted these secrets, she continued: "If they are converted, rocks and stones will turn into heaps of wheat, and potatoes will be self sown in the fields."
Then she asked: "Do you say your prayers well, my V children?" “Not very well, Madame?” "Ah! My children, you must say them well at night and in the morning. even if you say only an Our Father and a Hail Mary. When you can do better. say more.
In the summer, only a few rather elderly women go to Mass. The rest work on Sundays all summer long. In the winter, when they do not know what to do, they go to Mass only to make fun of religion. In Lent they go to the butcher shop like dogs. Have you ever seen wheat that is spoiled, my children?" "No. Madame." "But you, my child." addressing Maximin, "surely you must have seen some once, at Coin, with your father. The owner of the field told your father to go and see his spoiled wheat. And then you went, and you took two or three ears of wheat in your hands, you rubbed them together. and it all crumbled into dust. On your way back when you were no more than a half hour away from Corps, your father gave you a piece of bread and said to you: 'Here, my child, eat some bread while we still have it this year. because I don’t know who will eat any next year if the wheat keeps up like that. ” "Oh, yes, I remember. Just then. I didn't recall." "Well, my children, you will make this known to all my people. " Then she walked slowly to the top of the hill and rose more than a yard in the air. There she turned, and gazed in the direction of Rome and said once again: "Very well. my Children make this known to all my people. " Then she gradually disappeared. The light alone remained, but in an instant it too was gone. That evening the children returned home and spoke about what they had seen and heard. The first visitors to the scene remarked that a spring had sprung where Our Weeping Mother’s feet had rested.
After five years of careful study and investigation the Bishop of Grenoble, gave his approbation in a formal declaration: “We judge that the Apparition of the Blessed Virgin to two shepherds, September 19, 1846, on a mountain in the Alps, in the parish of La Salette... shows all the signs of the truth and the faithful have grounds for believing it indubitable and certain”
Remember, Our Lady of La Salette, true Mother of Sorrows, the tears you shed for me on Calvary. Remember also the care you have always taken to keep me faithful to Christ your Son. After having done so much for your child, you will not now abandon me. Inspired by this consoling thought, I come to cast myself at your feet in spite of my infidelities and ingratitude. Do not reject my prayer, 0 merciful Virgin, but intercede for my conversion, obtain for me the grace to love Jesus above all things, and to console you by a holy life, that I may one day see you in heaven. Amen.
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