APPARITION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN ON THE MOUNTAIN OF LA SALETTE
September 19, 1846
Part III of III
Then the Holy Virgin gave me, also in French, THE RULE OF A NEW RELIGIOUS ORDER. When She had given me the Rule of this new religious Order, the Holy Virgin continued the speech in the same manner3:
"If they convert, the stones and rocks will change into wheat, and potatoes will be found sown in the earth. Do you say your prayers properly, My children?"
We both replied: "Oh! no, Madame, not so much."
"Oh! My children, you must say them morning and evening. When you can do no more, say a Pater and an Ave Maria; and when you have the time to do better, you will say more.
"Only a few old women go to Mass; in the summer, the rest work all day Sunday and in the winter, when they are at a loose end, they only go to Mass to make fun of religion. During Lent, they go to the butcher's like hungry dogs.
"Have you ever seen any spoilt wheat, My children?"
We both answered: "Oh no, Madame."
The Holy Virgin turned to Maximin, saying:
"But you, My child, you must have seen some once near le 'Coin', with your father. The farmer said to your father: 'Come and see how my wheat's gone bad!' You went to see. Your father took two or three ears in his hand, rubbed them, and they fell to dust. Then, on your way back, when you were no more than half an hour away from Corps, your father gave you a piece of bread, and said: 'Take it, eat it while you can, my son, for I don't know who will be eating anything next year if the wheat is spoiled like that!'
Maximin replied: "It's quite true, Madame, I didn't remember."
The Most Holy Virgin brought Her speech to an end in French.
"AND SO, MY CHILDREN, YOU WILL PASS THIS ON TO ALL MY PEOPLE."
The most beautiful Lady crossed the stream, and after two more steps, without turning back towards us, who were following Her (for we were drawn to Her by Her brilliance and even more by Her kindness which elated me, which seemed to melt my heart), She repeated to us:
"AND SO, MY CHILDREN, YOU WILL PASS THIS ON TO ALL MY PEOPLE."
Then, She walked on up to the place where I had gone to see our cows. Her feet touched nothing but the tips of the grass and without bending them. Once on the top of the little mound, the beautiful Lady stopped, and I hurried to stand in front of Her to look at Her so, so closely, and try and see which path She was most inclined to take. For it was all over for me. I had forgotten both my cows and the masters I worked for. I had linked myself forever and unconditionally to my Lady. Yes, I wanted never, never to leave Her. I followed Her with no other motive and fully disposed to serve Her for the rest of my life.
In the presence of my Lady, I felt I had forgotten paradise. I thought of nothing more but to serve Her in every way possible; and I felt I could have done everything She could have asked me to do, for it seemed to me that She had a great deal of power. She looked at me with a tender kindness which drew me to Her. I could have thrown myself into Her arms with my eyes closed. She did not give me the time to do so. She rose imperceptibly from the ground to a height of around four feet or more; and, hanging thus in the air for a split second, my beautiful Lady looked up to Heaven, then down on the earth to Her right and then Her left4, then She looked at me with Her eyes so soft, so kind and so good that I felt She was drawing me inside Her, and my heart seemed to open up to Hers.
And as my heart melted away, sweetly gladdened, the beautiful face of my good Lady disappeared little by little. It seemed to me that the light in motion was growing stronger, or rather condensing around the Most Holy Virgin, to prevent me from seeing Her any longer.
And thus light took the place of the parts of Her body which were disappearing in front of my eyes, or rather it seemed to me that the body of my Lady was melting into light. Thus the sphere of light rose gently towards the right. I cannot say whether the volume of light decreased as She rose, or whether the growing distance made me see less and less light as She rose. What I do know, is that I was a long time with my head raised up, staring at the light, even after the light, which kept getting further away and decreasing in volume, had finally disappeared. I take my eyes from the firmament, I look around me.
I see Maximin looking at me, and I say to him:
"Maxi, that must have been my father's Good Lord, or the Holy Virgin, or some other great saint"5. And Maximin throws his arms into the air and says: "Oh! If only I'd known!"
The evening of the 19th of September, we went back down a little earlier than usual. When I arrived at my master's farm, I was busy tying up my cows and tidying up in the stable, and had not yet finished when my mistress came up to me in tears and said:
"Why, my child, why didn't you come and tell me what happened on the mountain?"
Maximin, not having found his masters who were still at work, had come over to mine and recounted everything he had seen and heard. I replied:
"I did want to tell you, but I wanted to get my work finished first." A moment later, I walked over to the house and my mistress said to me:
"Tell me what you have seen. De Bruite, the shepherd (that was the nickname of Pierre Selme, Maximin's master), has told me everything."
I began, and towards the middle of the account, my master arrived back from the fields. My mistress, who was in tears at hearing the complaints and threats of our sweet Mother, said: "Ah! You were going to harvest the wheat tomorrow (Sunday). Take great care. Come and hear what happened today to this child and Pierre Selme's shepherd-boy." And turning to me, she said:
"Repeat everything you have said."
I started again, and when I had finished, my master said:
"It was the Holy Virgin or else a great saint, who has come on behalf of the Good Lord, but it's as if the Good Lord had come Himself. We must do what this Saint said. How are you going to manage to tell that to all Her people?"
"You tell me how I must go about it, and I will do it." Then, looking at his mother, wife, and brother, he added:
"I'll have to think about that". Then everyone went back to their business.
After supper, Maximin and his masters came over to see my masters and to recount what Maximin had told them, and decide what was to be done.
"For, they said, it seems to us that it was the Holy Virgin sent by the Good Lord. The words which She spoke convince us of this. And she told them to pass it on to all of Her people. Perhaps these children will have to travel the world over to make it known that everyone must observe the commandments of the Good Lord, lest great misfortunes come upon us."
After a moment's silence, my master said to Maximin and I:
"Do you know what you must do, my children? Tomorrow, you must get up early and both of you go and see the priest and tell him everything you have seen and heard. Tell him carefully how it all happened. He will tell you what you have to do."
The 20th of September, the day after the Apparition, I left early in the morning with Maximin. When we reached the presbytery, I knocked at the door. The priest's housekeeper came and opened the door and asked us what we wanted. I said to her (in French, and I, who had never spoken French),
"We would like to speak to Father Perrin."
"And what have you got to say to him?" she asked.
"We wish to tell him, Miss, that yesterday we went up to watch over our cows on Baisses Mountain, and after dinner, etc. ... etc. We recounted a good piece of the Most Holy Virgin's words. Then the church-bell rang: it was the final call for Mass. Father Perrin, the parish priest of La Salette, who had heard us, flung open his door, he was in tears and was beating his chest. He said to us:
"My children, we are lost, God will punish us. Oh! Good Lord! It was the Holy Virgin who appeared to you! And he left to say Holy Mass. We looked at each other, Maximin, the housekeeper, and I. Then Maximin said to me:
"Me, I'm off home to my father in Corps", and we parted company.
As my masters had not told me to return to work immediately after speaking to Father Perrin, I saw no harm in going to Mass. And so I was in church. Mass begins and after the first reading from the Gospel, Father Perrin turns to the congregation and tries to recount to his parishioners, the story of the Apparition which had just taken place, the day before, on one of their mountains, and he urges them to stop working on Sundays. His voice was broken with sobs, and all the congregation was greatly moved. After Holy Mass, I went back to my master's to work. Mr. Peytard, who still today is the mayor of La Salette6, came to question me on the Apparition, and when he had made sure that I was speaking the truth, he went away convinced.
I stayed on in the service of my masters until All Saint's Day. Then I was boarded with the nuns of Providence, in my home town of Corps.
The Most Holy Virgin was tall and well-proportioned. She seemed so light that a mere breath could have stirred Her, yet She was motionless and perfectly balanced. Her face was majestic, imposing, but not imposing in the manner of the lords here below. She compelled a respectful fear. At the same time as Her Majesty compelled respect mingled with love, She drew me to Her. Her gaze was soft and penetrating. Her eyes seemed to speak to mine, but the conversation came out of a deep and vivid feeling of love for this ravishing beauty who was liquefying me. The softness of Her gaze, Her air of incomprehensible goodness made me understand and feel that She was drawing me to Her and wanted to give Herself. It was an expression of love which cannot be expressed with the tongue of the flesh, nor with the letters of the alphabet.
The clothing of the Most Holy Virgin was silver white and quite brilliant. It was quite intangible. It was made up of light and glory, sparkling and dazzling. There is no expression nor comparison to be found on earth.
The Holy Virgin was all beauty and all love; the sight of Her overwhelmed me. In Her finery as in Her person, everything radiated the majesty, the splendor, the magnificence of a Queen beyond compare. She seemed as white, immaculate, crystallized, dazzling, heavenly, fresh and new as a virgin. The word LOVE seemed to slip from Her pure and silvery lips. She appeared to me like a good Mother, full of kindness, amiability, of love for us, of compassion and mercy.
The crown of roses which She had placed on Her head was so beautiful, so brilliant, that it defies imagination. The different coloured roses were not of this earth; it was a joining together of flowers which crowned the head of the Most Holy Virgin. But the roses kept changing and replacing each other, and then, from the heart of each rose, there shone a beautiful entrancing light, which gave the roses a shimmering beauty. From the crown of roses there seemed to arise golden branches and a number of little flowers mingled with the shining ones. The whole thing formed a most beautiful diadem, which alone shone brighter than our earth's sun.
The Holy Virgin had a most beautiful cross hanging round Her neck. This cross seemed golden, (I say golden rather than gold-plated, for I have sometimes seen objects which were golden with varying shades of gold, which had a much more beautiful effect on my eyes than simple gold-plate). On this shining, beautiful cross, there was a Christ, it was Our Lord on the Cross. Near both ends of the cross there was a hammer, and at the other end, a pair of tongs. Christ was skin-coloured, but He shone dazzlingly; and the light that shone forth from His holy body seemed like brightly shining darts which pierced my heart with the desire to melt inside Him. At times, Christ appeared to be dead. His head was bent forward and His body seemed to give way, as if about to fall, had He not been held back by the nails which held Him to the Cross.
I felt a deep compassion and would have liked to tell His unknown love to the whole world, and to let seep into mortal souls the most heartfelt love and gratitude towards a God who had no need whatsoever of us to be everything He is, was and always will be. And yet, O love that men cannot understand, He made Himself man, and wanted to die, yes, die, so as to better inscribe in our souls and in our memory, the passionate love He has for us! Oh, how wretched am I to find myself so poor in my expression of the love of our good Savior for us! But, in another way, how happy we are to be able to feel more deeply that which we cannot express!
At other times, Christ appeared to be alive. His head was erect, His eyes open, and He seemed to be on the cross of His own accord. At times too, He appeared to speak: He seemed to show that He was on the cross for our sake, out of love for us, to draw us to His love, and that He always has more love to give us, that His love in the beginning and in the year 33 is always that of today and will be forever more.
The Holy Virgin was crying nearly the whole time She was speaking to me. Her tears flowed gently, one by one, down to Her knees, then, like sparks of light, they disappeared. They were glittering and full of love. I would have liked to comfort Her and stop Her tears. But it seemed to me that She needed the tears to show better Her love forgotten by men. I would have liked to throw myself into Her arms and say to Her:
"My kind Mother, do not cry! I want to love You for all men on earth." But She seemed to be saying to me:
"There are so many who know Me not!"
I was in between life and death, and on one side, I saw so much desire by this Mother to be loved, and on another side, so much cold and indifference... Oh! my Mother, most beautiful and lovable Mother, my love, heart of my heart!
The tears of our sweet Mother, far from lessening her air of majesty, of a Queen and a Mistress, seemed, on the contrary, to embellish Her, to make Her more beautiful, more powerful, more filled with love, more maternal, more ravishing, and I could have wiped away Her tears which made my heart leap with compassion and love. To see a mother cry, and such a Mother, without doing everything possible to comfort Her and change Ver grief to joy, is that possible? Oh! Mother, who is more than good, You have been formed with all the prerogatives God is able to make; You have married the power of God, so to speak; You are good, and more, You are good with the goodness of God Himself. God has extended Himself by making You His terrestrial and celestial masterpiece.
The Most Holy Virgin had a yellow pinafore. What am I saying, yellow? She had a pinafore more brilliant than several suns put together. It was not a tangible material, it was composed of glory, and this glory was scintillating, and ravishingly beautiful. Everything in the Holy Virgin carried me firmly and made me kind of slide into the adoration and love of my Jesus in every state of His mortal life.
The Most Holy Virgin had two chains, one a little wider than the other. From the narrower one hung the cross which I mentioned earlier. These chains (since they must be given the name of chains) were like rays of brightly shining glory, sparkling and dazzling. Her shoes (since they must be called shoes) were white, but a silvery brilliant white. There were roses around them. These roses were dazzlingly beautiful, and from the heart of each rose there shone forth a flame of very beautiful and pleasing light. On Her shoes there was a buckle of gold, not the gold of this earth, but rather the gold of paradise.
The sight of the Holy Virgin was itself a perfect paradise. She had everything needed to satisfy, for earth had been forgotten. The Holy Virgin was surrounded by two lights. The first light, the nearer to the Most Holy Virgin, reached as far as us. It shone most beautifully and scintillatingly.
The second light shone out a little around the Beautiful Lady and we found ourselves bathed in it. It was motionless (that is to say it wasn't scintillating) but much more brilliant than our poor sun on earth. All this light did not harm nor tire the eyes in any way.
In addition to all these lights, all this splendour, there shone forth concentrations or beams of light and single rays of light from the body of the Holy Virgin, from Her clothes and from all over Her.
The voice of the Beautiful Lady was soft. It was enchanting, ravishing, warming to the heart. It satisfied, enhanced every obstacle, it soothed and softened. It seemed to me I could never stop eating up Her beautiful voice, and my heart seemed to dance or want to go towards Her and melt inside Her.
The eyes of the most Holy Virgin, our Sweet Mother, cannot be described in human language. To speak of them, you would need a seraph, you would need more than that, you would need the language of God Himself, of the God who formed the Immaculate Virgin, the masterpiece of His omnipotence. The eyes of the majestic Mary appeared thousands of times more beautiful than the rarest brilliants, diamonds and precious stones. They shone like two suns; they were soft, softness itself, as clear as a mirror. In Her eyes, you could see paradise. They drew you to Her, She seemed to want to draw and give Herself.
The more I looked, the more I wanted to see; the more I saw, the more I loved Her and I loved Her with all my might.
The eyes of the beautiful Immaculate One were like the door to God's Kingdom, from which you could see all that can elate the soul. When my eyes met those of the Mother of God and of myself, I felt inside me a happy revolution of love and a declaration that I love Her and am melting with love. As we looked at each other, our eyes spoke to each other in their fashion, and I loved Her so much I could have kissed Her in the middle of Her eyes, which touched my soul and seemed to draw it towards them and make it melt into Hers. Her eyes set up a sweet trembling in all my being; and I was afraid to make the slightest movement which might cause Her the smallest displeasure.
Just the sight of the eyes of the purest of Virgins would have been enough to make the heaven of a blessed creature, enough to fill the soul with the will of the Most High amid the events which occur in the course of mortal life, enough to make the soul perform continual acts of praise, of thanksgiving, of atonement and expiation. Just this sight focuses the soul on God, and makes it like a living-death, looking upon all the things of this earth, even the things which seem the most serious, as nothing but children's playthings. The soul would want to hear no one speaking unless they spoke of God, and of that which affects His Glory.
Sin is the only evil She sees on earth. She will die of grief unless God sustains Her.
MARIA OF THE CROSS, Victim of Jesus
née MELANIE CALVAT, Shepherdess of La Salette
Castellamare, 21st of November 1878.
"I anticipate with great pleasure the "Secret" circulating at full extent; the more it spreads the more it will arouse salutary fear and numerous returns to God. Mary will bless those who help with the diffusion of it as She absolutely wants this passed on to all of the people. We are punished for having neglected this absolute order from the Mother of God."
relating to the Secret of La Salette.
3. In patois.
4. "In which direction had the Holy Virgin turned when She rose?" —"That way (she pointed to the East) ... I know that Rome is in that direction." (Conversation with Melanie, Miss des Brulais, 8th Sept. 1849.)
5. My Father's Good Lord: this is the Crucifix, this living crucifix which the beautiful Lady wears round Her neck, and which seemed to talk to Her. The Holy Virgin ... Melanie does not seem to have doubted for a moment that it was Her, this comes out in the account, however, she does not dare to be the first to state it: it is for the Church of Jesus Christ to do so, she has this intuition. In effect, the next morning, it is the parish priest of La Salette who cries out, at the account of the two children:
"It was the Holy Virgin who appeared to you", and from the pulpit, will announce this to his parishioners, and to all the faithful ones among them.
6. Today: 21st of November 1878, when this account was written.
Additional words of Melanie:
"The great chastisement will come, because men will not be converted; yet it is only their conversion that can hinder these scourges. God will begin to strike men by inflicting lighter punishments in order to open their eyes; then He will stop, or may repeat His former warnings to give place for repentance. But sinners will not avail themselves of these opportunities; He will, in consequence, send more severe castigations, anxious to move sinners to repentance, but all in vain. Finally, the obduracy of sinners shall draw upon their heads the greatest and most terrible calamities.
"We are all guilty! Penance is not done, and sin increases daily. Those who should come forward to do good are retained by fear. Evil is great. A moderate punishment serves only to irritate the spirits, because they view all things with human eyes. God could work a miracle to convert and change the aspect of the earth without chastisement. God will work a miracle; it will be a stroke of His mercy; but after the wicked shall have inebriated themselves with blood, the scourge shall arrive.
"What countries shall be preserved from such calamities? Where shall we go for refuge? I, in my turn, shall ask, What is the country that observes the commandments of God? What country is not influenced by human fear where the interest of the Church and the glory of God are at stake? (Ah, indeed! What country, what nation upon earth?) On behalf of my Superior and myself, I have often asked myself where we could go for refuge, had we the means for the journey and for our subsistence, on condition that no person were to know it? But I renounce these useless thoughts. We are very guilty! In consequence of this, it is necessary that a very great and terrible scourge should come to revive our faith, and to restore to us our very reason, which we have almost entirely lost. Wicked men are devoured by a thirst for exercising their cruelty; but when they shall have reached the uttermost point of barbarity, God Himself shall extend His hand to stop them, and very soon after, a complete change shall be effected in all surviving persons. Then they will sing the Te Deum Laudamus with the most lively gratitude and love. The Virgin Mary, our Mother, shall be our liberatrix. Peace shall reign, and the charity of Jesus Christ shall unite all hearts ... Let us pray; let us pray. God does not wish to chastise us severely. He speaks to us in so many, so many ways to make us return to Him. How long shall we remain stubborn? Let us pray, let us pray; let us never cease praying and doing penance. Let us pray for our Holy Father the Pope, the only light for the faithful in these times of darkness. O yes, let us by all means pray much. Let us pray to good, sweet, merciful Virgin Mary; for we stand in great need of Her powerful hands over our heads."
Words of Maximin:
"In this time the Antichrist will be born of a nun of Hebraic descent, a false virgin, who will have intercourse with the ancient serpent, with the master of impurity and putrefaction. His father will be a bishop. He will perform false miracles and subsist only on vitiating faith. He will have brethren, who will be children of evil but not incarnate devils like himself. Soon they will be at the head of armies, supported by the legions of hell."