|Our Lady of La Salette|
|Location||La Salette-Fallavaux, France|
|Date||19 September 1846|
|Approval||September 19, 1851|
Bishop Philibert de Bruillard
Diocese of Grenoble
|Shrine||Sanctuary of Our Lady of La Salette, La Salette, France|
|Patronage||La Salette-Fallavaux, Silang, Cavite|
On 19 September 1851, the local bishop formally approved the public devotion and prayers to Our Lady of La Salette. On 21 August 1879, Pope Leo XIII granted a canonical coronation to the image now located within the Basilica of Our Lady of La Salette. A Russian style tiara was granted to the image, instead of the solar-type tiara used in its traditional depictions of Our Lady during her apparitions.
Places dedicated to Our Lady of La Salette outside of France include a sanctuary in Oliveira de Azeméis, in Portugal, a national shrine in Attleboro, Massachusetts and a shrine in Enfield, New Hampshire in the United States, both known for their displays of Christmas lights, and a chapel in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, in México.
In 1846 the village of La Salette consisted of eight or nine scattered hamlets. The population was about 800, principally small farmers with their families and dependents. On the evening of Saturday, 19 September 1846, Maximin Giraud and Mélanie Calvat (called Mathieu) returned from the mountain where they had been minding cows and reported seeing "a beautiful lady" on Mount Sous-Les Baisses, weeping bitterly. They described her as sitting with her elbows resting on her knees and her face buried in her hands. She was clothed in a white robe studded with pearls; and a gold colored apron; white shoes and roses about her feet and high headdress. Around her neck she wore a crucifix suspended from a small chain.
According to their account, she continued to weep even as she spoke to them, first in French, then in their own dialect of Occitan. After giving a secret to each child, the apparition walked up a hill and vanished.
After five years of investigation, the Bishop of Grenoble, Philibert de Bruillard announced in 1851 that the apparition was likely to be a true revelation and authorised the commencement of the following of Our Lady of La Salette. This determination was later confirmed by his successor, Bishop Ginoulhiac.
According to the children's account, the message of the Virgin was a call for the people of the world to return to God. She equated the people's sinfulness to a harvest being spoiled.
John Vianney, John Bosco, and writer Joris-Karl Huysmans were all influenced by La Salette. The spirit of La Salette is said to be one of prayer, conversion, and commitment. René J. Butler of the La Salette Missionaries of North America says "The whole purpose of the Apparition of Our Lady of La Salette was reconciliation."
Pope John Paul II stated: "As I wrote on the occasion of the 150th anniversary, 'La Salette is a message of hope, for our hope is nourished by the intercession of her who is the Mother of mankind."
Sensation about Our Lady of La Salette arose when Mélanie and Maximin made their message public, which caused the bishop of Grenoble to investigate the apparition. During the investigation, a number of accusations were made against the visionaries, including the assertion that the apparition was actually just a middle-aged woman named La Merlière.
No mention of secrets is made in the children's first accounts. The children later reported that the Blessed Virgin had confided a special secret to each of them. These two secrets, which neither Mélanie nor Maximin ever made known to each other, were sent by them in 1851 to Pope Pius IX on the advice of de Bruillard. It is assumed that these secrets were of a personal nature. Maximin advised the Marquise de Monteyard, "Ah, it is good fortune."
Maximin Giraud, after an unhappy and wandering life, returned to Corps (Isère), his native village, and died on 1 March 1875 before turning 40. Mélanie Calvat died as a Catholic nun at Altamura, Italy, on 15 December 1904.
The U.S. National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette is located in Attleboro, Massachusetts. Known simply as "La Salette" locally, it is famous for its Festival of Lights, held annually during the Christmas season, where the grounds are decorated with elaborate Christmas light displays. The shrine is visited by over 1 million people per year and hosts many pilgrimages and retreats throughout the year.
1851 ... Bishop de Bruillard publishes the Doctrinal Statement of September 19: the Apparition is authentic; public worship is authorized; a church will be built on the site of the Apparition.
We judge that the Apparition of the Blessed Virgin to the two cowherds on the 19th of September, 1846, on a mountain of the chain of Alps, situated in the parish of LaSalette, in the archpresbytery of Corps, bears within Itself all the characteristics of truth, and that the faithful have grounds for believing it indubitable and certain.