A Brief History
On September 19, 1846, two shepherd children in La Salette-Fallavaux, France experienced a vision or an encounter with what has officially been recognized by the Catholic Church as a meeting with the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus Christ. The event, known as Our Lady of La Salette became an important influence on religious thought, influencing such theologians as Saint John Bosco, Saint John Vianney, and writer JK Huysmans.
The encounter began as the 2 children, Maximin Giraud and Melanie Calvat, were returning from a local mountain where they had been tending to their families’ cows. On the mountain they saw what they described as a “beautiful lady” clad in a white robe adorned with pearls, wearing a crucifix around her neck, a gold colored apron, white shoes, and roses about her headdress and feet. The lady was weeping. As the children approached, the lady continued to weep, but told each of them a separate secret, first in French and then in Occitan, the native language of the children. The mysterious lady then walked away and disappeared.
The children returned home to tell of their experience, and a written account of the event was recorded. The children related that the lady told them of the need to respect the “seventh day” (sabbath), respect “the name of God” and that failure to do so would bring a potato famine as punishment from God. The ensuing harsh winter of 1846-1847 and the potato famine in Ireland that followed convinced many people of the veracity of the account of the meeting between the children and what became assumed to be Mary, Mother of Christ.
A five year investigation by the local Bishop verified the accounts, and the Catholic Church accepts the event as a blessed encounter. The 2 secrets related to the children were relayed to the Pope, but never revealed publicly, nor did the children tell each other of the secret told to them.
An order called the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette still operates in 25 countries, and a shrine called the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette exists in Attleboro, Massachusetts, where they set up an extravagant display of Christmas lights each year.
Question for students (and subscribers): Presuming the children were truthful about their experience, could this incident have been anything other than a Christian miracle encounter with the actual Virgin Mary? Could it have been some sort of ghost or apparition, or even a ET? A time traveler? Tell us what you think about what happened that day in 1846 in the comments section below this article.
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For more information, please see…
Lord, Bob and Penny Lord. Our Lady of La Salette (Many Faces of Mary Book I). 2011.