THE STORY OF LA SALETTE
It was 1846 and France was suffering social and political upheaval. Catholic churches had been abandoned and the Sacraments neglected. But away from the cities, in a high meadow along the French Alps, two cattle herders reverently knelt before the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Eleven-year-old Maxim Giraud and fourteen-year-old Melanie Mathieu, employed separately by local farmers, met to graze livestock at a pasture in the small village La Salette. This particular Saturday afternoon, as the cattle grazed nearby, the two children shared bread and cheese alongside a ravine and then fell asleep. When they awoke Melanie noticed a light near the ravine and she called out to Maxim. Both beheld a luminous sphere, radiating like the sun, curiously unfolding before their eyes. gradually they made out a woman seated with her face in her hands, weeping. She slowly arose and crossed her arms on her breast, her head some what inclined.
The children were drawn immediately to the lady's tears that adorned her face like perfectly cut diamonds glimmering the in the sun's rays. Her dynamic features were framed delicately in a white-satin headdress, on which rested a crown of roses, a bouquet in all shades of reds and pinks. A crucifix with pincers on one end and a hammer on the opposite end hung over her satin shawl, which was lined with more roses. The Madonna wore a long ivory dress embroidered in precious pearls and a yellow apron tied neatly to her waist. Wearing pearl slippers that peeked out from underneath her satin robe, she sheltered herself atop a bouquet of roses.
"Come to me, my children," she tenderly addressed the two who stood afar, motionless. "Be not afraid. I am here to tell you something of the greatest importance."
As soon as they were in touching distance of her, she began to speak with the urgency of an ending world:
"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."
She told the children that her Son was especially concerned that people were not keeping holy the Sabbath, and that religion had lost its place in their country. "You will make this known to all my people," she repeated to them.
This they did, through five years of exhaustive interrogation by the Bishop of La Salette, who had commissioned several committees to research the apparition. As the children repeated their story time and time again in perfect consistency, people could not help but be convinced that the Blessed Virgin had appeared to the two. Churches began to to fill throughout the neighboring countryside and the Catholic faith resumed its former respect. A little more than five years after the apparition the Church officially approved of it and thirty years after that the basilica erected in the name of Our Lady of La Salette was completed. Maxim and Melanie were not canonized, but throughout the rest of their lives they served as witnesses to Our Lady's message.
THE MESSAGES OF LA SALETTE
Of all the Marian apparitions of the last two centuries, La Salette is not the best known although it must certainly be the most unique, not only for the "secrets" Our Lady told the two shepherd children, but because of the complexity involved in the series of Vatican interventions. The entire extract of the message to the children was not published until 1879, although Our Lady told Melanie that it could be publicized in 1858. Melanie published her part of the "secret" in Lecce Italy with the approval of the diocesan Bishop. The date of the original publication was Nov. 15 of that year. The apparition had occurred on September 19, 1846, the eve of the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, which was at that time being celebrated on the 20th of September, not the 15th the permanent day of the Feast.
Here are excerpts from Melanie Calvat's part:
"The priests, ministers of my Son, the priests, by their wicked lives, by their irreverence and their impiety in the celebration of the holy mysteries, by their love of money, their love of honors and pleasures, the priests have become cesspools of impurity. Yes, the priests are asking for vengeance, and vengeance is hanging over their heads. Woe to the priests and to those dedicated to God who by their unfaithfulness and their wicked lives are crucifying my son again! The sins of those dedicated to God cry out towards Heaven and call for vengeance, and now vengeance is at their door, for there is no one left to beg mercy and forgiveness for the people. There are no more generous souls, there is no one left worthy of offering a stainless sacrifice to the Eternal God for the sake of the world.
"God will strike in an unprecedented way. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth! God will exhaust His wrath upon them, and no one will be able to escape so many afflictions together. The chiefs, 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 old devil will drag along with his tail to make them perish. God will allow the old serpent to cause divisions among those who reign in every society and in every family. Physical and moral agonies will be suffered. God will abandon mankind to itself and will send punishments which will follow one after the other for more than thirty-five years.
"The society of men is on the eve of the most terrible scourges and of gravest events. Mankind must expect to be ruled with an iron rod and to drink from the chalice of the wrath of God. May the curate of my Son, Pope Pius IX, never leave Rome again after 1859; may he, however, be steadfast and noble, may he fight with the weapons of faith and love. I will be at his side. May he be on his guard against Napoleon: he is two-faced, and when he wishes to make himself Pope as well as Emperor, God will soon draw back from him. He is the master-mind who, always wanting to ascend further, will fall on the sword he wished to use to force his people to be raised up.
"Italy will be punished for her ambition in wanting to shake off the yoke of the Lord of Lords. And so she will be left to fight a war; blood will flow on all sides. Churches will be locked up or desecrated. Priests and religious orders will be hunted down, and made to die a cruel death. Several will abandon the faith, and a great number of priests and members of religious orders will break away from the true religion; among these people there will even be bishops.
"May the Pope guard against the performers of miracles. For the time has come when the most astonishing wonders will take place on the earth and in the air.
"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. They will blind them in such a way, that, unless they are blessed with a special grace, these people will take on the spirit of these angels of Hell; several religious institutions will lose all faith and will lose many souls.
"Evil books will be abundant on earth and the spirits of darkness will spread everywhere a universal slackening in all that concerns the service of God. They will have great power over nature: there will be churches built to serve these spirits. People will be transported from one place to another by these evil spirits, even priests, for they will not have been guided by the good spirit of the Gospel, which is a spirit of humility, charity and zeal for the glory of God. On occasions, the dead and the righteous will be brought back to life. [That is to say that these dead will take on the form of righteous souls which had lived on earth, in order to lead men further astray; these so-called resurrected dead, who will be nothing but the devil in this form, will preach another gospel contrary to that of the true Christ Jesus, denying the existence of Heaven; that is also to say, the souls of the damned. All these souls will appear as if fixed to their bodies].
". . . The Vicar of my Son will suffer a great deal, because for a while the Church will yield to large persecution, a time of darkness, and the Church will witness a frightful crisis. The true faith of the Lord having been forgotten, each individual will want to be on his own and be superior to people of the same identity. They will abolish civil rights as well as ecclesiastical, all order and all justice would be trampled underfoot and only homicides, hate, jealousy, lies and dissension would be seen without love for country or family.
"The Holy Father will suffer a great deal. I will be with him until the end and receive his sacrifice.
"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. In the year 1865, there will be desecration of holy places. In convents, the . . . devil will make himself like the king of all hearts. May those in charge of religious communities be on their guard against the people they must receive, for the devil will resort to all this evil tricks to introduce sinners in to religious orders, for disorder and the love of carnal pleasures will be spread all over the earth.
". . . France, Italy, Spain and England will be at war. Blood will flow in the streets. Frenchman will fight Frenchman, Italian will fight Italian. A general war will follow which will be appalling. For a time, God will cease to remember France and Italy because the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been forgotten. The wicked will make use of all their evil ways. Men will kill each other, massacre each other even in their homes. At the first blow of His thundering sword, the mountains and all nature will tremble in terror, for the disorders and crimes of men have pierced the vault of the heavens. Paris will burn and Marseilles will be engulfed. Several cities will be shaken down and swallowed up by earthquakes. People will believe that all is lost. Nothing will be seen but murder, nothing will be heard but the clash of arms and blasphemy.
"The righteous will suffer greatly. Their prayers, their penances and their tears will rise up to Heaven and all of God's people will beg for forgiveness and mercy and will plead for my help and intercession. And then Jesus Christ, in an act of His justice and His great mercy will command His angels to have all His enemies put to death. Suddenly, the persecutors of the Church of Jesus Christ and all those given over to sin will perish and the earth will become desert-like. And then peace will be made, and man will be reconciled with God. Jesus Christ will be served, worshipped, and glorified. Charity will flourish everywhere. The new kings will be the right arm of the holy Church, which will be strong, humble, pious, poor but fervent in the imitation of the virtues of Jesus Christ. The Gospel will be preached everywhere and mankind will make great progress in its faith, for there will be unity among the workers of Jesus Christ and man will live in fear of God.
"This peace among men will be short-lived. Twenty-five years of plentiful harvests will make them forget that the sins of men are the cause of all the troubles on this earth. A forerunner of the Antichrist, with his troops gathered from several nations, will fight against the true Christ, the only Savior of the world. He will shed much blood and will want to annihilate the worship of God to make himself be looked upon as a God.
"The earth will be struck by calamities of all kinds (in addition to plague and famine which will be widespread). There will be a series of wars until the last war, which will then be fought by the ten kings of the Antichrist, all of whom will have one and the same plan and will be the only rulers of the world. Before this comes to pass, there will be a kind of false peace in the world. People will think of nothing but amusement. The wicked will give themselves over to all kinds of sin. But the children of the holy Church, the children of my faith, my true followers, they will grow in their love for God and in all the virtues most precious to me. Blessed are the souls humbly guided by the Holy Spirit! I shall fight at their side until they reach a fullness of years.
"Nature is asking for vengeance because of man, and she trembles with dread at what must happen to the earth stained with crime. Tremble, earth, and you who proclaim yourselves as serving Jesus Christ and who, on the inside, only adore yourselves, tremble, for God will hand you over to His enemy because the holy places are in the state of corruption . . . It will be during this time that the Antichrist will be born of a Hebrew nun, a false virgin who will communicate with the old serpent, the master of impurity, his father will be B. At birth, he will spew out blasphemy; he will have teeth, in a word, he will be the devil incarnate. He will scream horribly, he will perform wonders, he will feed on nothing but impurity. He will have brothers who, although not devils incarnate like him, will be children of evil. At the age of twelve, they will draw attention upon themselves by the gallant victories they will have won; soon they will each lead armies, aided by the legions of Hell.
"The seasons will be altered, the earth will produce nothing but bad fruit, the stars will lose their regular motion, the moon will only reflect a faint reddish glow. Water and fire will give the earth's globe convulsions and terrible earthquakes which will swallow up mountains, cities.... Rome will lose the faith and become the seat of the Antichrist.
"The demons of the air together with the Antichrist will perform great wonders on earth and in the atmosphere, and men will become more and more perverted. God will take care of his faithful servants and men of good will. The Gospel will be preached everywhere, and all peoples of all nations will get to know the truth.
"I make an urgent appeal to the earth. I call on the true disciples of the living God who reigns in Heaven; I call on the true followers of Christ made man, the only true Savior of men; I call on my children, the true faithful, those who have given themselves to me so that I may lead them to my divine Son . . . Finally, I call on the apostles of the Last Days, the faithful disciples of Jesus Christ who have lived in scorn for the world and for themselves, in poverty and in humility, in union with God, in suffering unknown to the world. It is time they came out and filled the world with light. Go and reveal yourselves to be my cherished children. I am at your side and within you, provided that your faith is the light which shines upon you in these unhappy days. May your zeal make you famished for the glory and the honor of Jesus Christ. Fight, children of light, you, the few who can see. For now is the time of all times, the end of all ends.
"The Church will be in eclipse, the world will be in dismay. But now Enoch and Eli will come, filled with the spirit of God. They will preach with the might of god, and men of good will believe in God, and many souls will be comforted. They will make great steps forward through the virtue of the Holy Spirit and will condemn the devilish lapses of the Antichrist. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth! There will be bloody wars and famines, plagues and infectious diseases. It will rain with a fearful hail of animals. There will be thunderstorms which will shake cities, earthquakes which will swallow up countries. Voices will be heard in the air. Men will beat their heads against walls, call for their death, an on another side death will be their torment. Blood will flow on all sides. Who will be the victor if God does not shorten the length of the test? All the blood, the tears and the prayers of the righteous, God will relent. Enoch and Eli will be put to death. Pagan Rome will disappear. The fire of Heaven will fall and consume three cities. All the universe will be struck with terror and many will let themselves be led astray because they have not worshipped the true Christ who lives among them. It is time; the sun is darkening; only faith will survive.
"...Now is the time; the abyss is opening. Here is the king of kings of darkness, here is the Beast with his subjects, calling himself the Savior of the world. He will rise proudly into the air to go to Heaven. He will be smothered by the breath of the Archangel Saint Michael. He will fall, and the earth, which will have been in a continuous series of evolutions for three days, will open up its fiery bowels; and he will have plunged for eternity with all his followers into the everlasting chasms of Hell. And then water and fire will purge the earth and consume all the works of men's pride and all will be renewed. God will be served and glorified."