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And Mary Said: "If My People Refuse to Submit"

The two little witnesses at La Salette stood so close to their heavenly Visitor that a third person, they tell us, could not have passed between them and her, and in that delightful proximity to the Queen of Heaven, they listened eagerly to her heavenly message.
Untitled 1
Later on, Maximin was to say that his first impression when he beheld Mary weeping at La Salette was that she was some poor mother who had been beaten by her children and had fled for safety to the mountains. The little boy in his guileless way all but expressed the reality.

Our Need for Submission…

The first words the Blessed Mother spoke to the shepherds after inviting them to come near, were of her disobedient children… "If my people will not submit…" And these opening words of her message give the purpose of the whole Apparition at La Salette. It is a protest against sin—the non-submission of humans to their God.

In the modern trend toward unbelief, there is a growing tendency to scoff at the notion of sin as though it were an old-fashioned idea that present-day education had exploded. Humans believe themselves self-sufficient and independent, and any system that involves submission and subservience to a higher authority, outside the material universe, is smiled on patronizingly as though it were good folk lore for children, or the superstitious cant of the ignorant and gullible.

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Cowbells and Church Bells:

The Apparition at La Salette

A Play by Fr. Donald Paradis, M.S.

Mary at La Salette

  • The Lady
  • Maximin
  • Melanie
  • Pierre Selme
  • Narrator One
  • Narrator Two
Notes for the director and players:
1. This play is easy enough to be understood by children and adults;
2. For reference purposes, the script provides number-references for every spoken line;
3. Stage directions, suggestions, pronunciation guides and the visual’s numbers are printed in blue;

Walking With Christ

(At the end of her Apparition at La Salette, Mary) began to walk... She took a few steps alongside the brook, then turned in the direction of the Collet, stepped on a stone in the midst of the brook and passed beyond. At two feet from the stream, without turning back towards us, she said a second time, again in French: "Well, my children you will make this known to all my people!" 

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Is La Salette True?

Editor: We are most grateful to a young Fr. Jim O’Reilly, M.S., for his article, first published in May, 1940, in the La Salette publication, Our Lady’s Missionary (pgs. 105-107). His prose is elegant and his message faith-filled.Untitled-1(from left:) Fr. James P. O'Reilly, M.S.; Most Rev. William Ullathorne, Bp. of Birmingham, England (1806-1889); his early book on La Salette.
Wrote Bishop William Ullathorne in The Holy Mountain of La Salette, a book which contains his loving tribute of faith in the Apparition of Our Lady to two humble shepherds of the Alps:

"While it is of Catholic Faith that miracles and prophecies, according to the promise of Christ, continue to be manifest in the Church of God, the particular instances in which this divine intervention is exercised, are left free for the examination and the criticism of the individual members of the Church, to be received and believed or not, according to the evidence."

We are here concerned with one of such manifestations.

Since Sept. 19, 1846, to our own times, hundreds of thousands of bishops and theologians, canonized saints like St. John Vianney, the Curé of Ars and St. John Bosco, priests and pious faithful, on every continent, have long considered the fact of a miracle well established. The glory of God, the honor of his Mother and the salvation of souls shall be greatly promoted if, having first shown beyond all reasonable doubt the supernatural origin of the event, we proclaim everywhere this new "revelation of the love and pity which reigns for us in Heaven."

A Convincing Report

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La Salette – a Biblical Apparition Filled with Symbols

Editor: This article was originally presented at the First International Encounter of La Salette Laity, held on the Holy Mountain of La Salette from Sept. 1-10, 2011. It was translated from Portuguese to English by Fr. Norman Butler, M.S. This is the first of three articles.


Symbols and Questions


Untitled-1Fr. Isidro Perin, M.S., La Salette Superior General from 1994-2006In the La Salette event, two apparently contradictory questions challenge us human beings: "Do you say your prayers well my children?" and "Have you never seen ruined wheat?” These questions that Mary posed to Maximin and Melanie and that she poses to us today call our attention to two essential realities of human life: our relationship to God, cultivated in prayer, and our relation to the material world with its socio-economic and political dimensions implied in the need for daily bread to sustain the life of every human being.

The two questions Mary poses in her apparition remind us of two fundamental dimensions of Christian spirituality: a) contemplation of the loving presence of the Lord and b) transforming human action based on justice and solidarity. Mary shows us that these are two intertwined realities. The modern mind tends to contrast spirit with matter. In biblical Hebrew there are two complementary expressions: "ruah (the breath of life)” and "shekinah (the loving presence of the Lord)".

The term spirituality comes from 'spirit' and, in a common understanding, 'spirit' is opposed to matter. However in biblical language, 'spirit' is not opposed to matter or the body. It is opposed to the 'flesh' (that is, the fragility which is destined for death); it is opposed to the law (that is, imposition, fear and punishment). So in this semantic context, spirit means life, construction, strength, action and freedom.

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La Salette and the Concerns of 1846

Editor: This is the first part of a major presentation given by Fr. Henryk Przeździecki to a group of European La Salette Laity, gathered at the La Salette Shine in Dębowiec, Poland, Sept. 11-15 of 2014.

The Apparition of La Salette is a special event that happened in 1846 but certainly did not happen in a vacuum. The world around effected and was included in the Apparition because they were burning concerns of “her people.”


European Social Environment in the Mid-Nineteenth Century

Untitled-1engraving title, The Famine in Ireland, funeral at Skibbreen, from a sketch by Mr. H. Smith, 1847Since the 1830s, Europe saw a huge growth industry, but suffered from overproduction. It was not possible to sell the products, despite falling prices. Many factories were forced to close. Common laborers in the factories were working 12-16 hours – including children. The quality of life of the workers was scandalous but there were no means of protest.

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La Salette – A Triumph of Truth

Untitled-1Bp. Philibert de BruillardJust five days after the news of the alleged appearance of Mary on Sept. 19, 1846, on the mountain of La Salette reaches the episcopal palace, Philbert de Bruillard, Bishop of Grenoble, quickly sends out a mandate and sternly orders all his priests in clear, canonical words:

"Monsieur le Curé, we forbid under the penalty of suspension incurred ipso facto to declare, to print or publish any new miracle, under any pretense of knowledge that it may be, if not from the authority of the Holy See or ours after an examination which cannot be but exact and severe."


In view of this alleged appearance, Bishop de Bruillard describes the precise conduct for his clergy – absolute silence. Despite this external silence, the event then opens to the bishop, eighty-two years of age, five years of intense work, and almost incessant activity. His Excellency is given the unusual burden of verifying the truth of this “visit from heaven.”

The Bishop reads and examines

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Mary’s Concern for Our Entire Life

The apparition of Our Lady of La Salette, the first of the modern-day Marian apparitions, has some special qualities. It is the most biblical of Marian apparitions and, being an experience of faith, is centered on Mary’s Son, Jesus. Not only her words but her attitudes are noteworthy and show her interest not only in faith matters but also the concerns of our daily life.

There are three basic elements which stand out in her discourse with the two children that warrant our attention.

First: the Lady is concerned with the socalled
“impractical” or faith-centered aspects of our life…


From a secular point of view, what could be more impractical than submission to the will of God; more “impractical” than going to Mass, saying one Our Father and one Hail Mary, doing penance and not going to the butcher shop. What could be more impractical than abstaining from taking the name of Christ and making sure to honor him on the Lord's Day?

This view of the Lady's message can also be taken as the discourse of pure praise. It is “impractical” inasmuch as it is pure praise, glory of God. Sunday, prayer, Mass, the Name of Christ – all of these point to the discourse as praise of the Lord himself. There is food for thought in all of this. We see ourselves as advancing in the spiritual life; making efforts at cancelling out or eliminating faults; improving our inner selves with a strong emphasis on spirituality that is psychologically aware.

 We need to give the Lord the praise by our reverent presence to God, since Christ did not die for my sins, nor for my prayer, nor for my sacrifices, nor for my good works, but for me. Mary’s own attitude of being present to the two children mirrors God’s concern for each of us individually. After all, the end-purpose of submission is total presence to God in obedience. And, of course, obedience means to “ob-audire (to listen)”, as in “being present to”.

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She Came to Show Us Her Son

Pantocrator, by Arcabas: La Salette
Basilica, France, sanctuary ceiling.

All the light came from the appearance crucifix she wore on her chest. Before speaking, our Weeping Mother appears to Maximin and Melanie showing them her Son on the cross, radiant with the light of the resurrection.

An attractive face

From the front doors of the Basilica on the Holy Mountain in France, you can see clearly the imposing face of Christ in glory, painted onto the ceiling of the sanctuary by the artist, Arcabas. It fills the center of the apse and seems to look directly at us no matter where we move. It is an invitation for us to approach him. But the closer we get, the more his face lengthens and becomes human (due to the proportions of the dome on which it is painted). Of course this is an optical illusion but what a marvelous image for us! It is the experience into which each of us can immerse ourselves when we read the Word of God.

The closer we get to Christ, the less overwhelming and the more human he becomes. That's the One, "her Son," whom Mary came to introduce us to at La Salette. He opens for us the Great News News that his mother speaks of in her message. We know from his incarnation that nothing human is alien to him. His own name, Jesus, means "the Lord saves". and he lives in a free and responsible humans, in passionately loving and foolish people like us.

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La Salette – the Teaching Apparition

Icon of the three phases
of the La Salette
Apparition  - seated,
standing, and ascending.

At La Salette, Mary is not only speaking a message, she is also doing some multi-level communication. She is ministering, speaking to people, exhibiting behavior, showing an attitude, manifesting a mood, reaching out, teaching how to give reproach. She is giving us a lesson in proclaiming Christ.

She is also being herself. She is sad, angry and she is not hiding it. She is also revealing Christ's disappointment and displeasure. She is fulfilling a responsibility, answering a call, and through it all, manifesting a deep affection toward her people.

1) In her apparition she is showing involvement, responsibility, empathy, lively interest. We are thus clearly invited to manifest all of these in our own lives, following her witness and conduct.

2) She is manifesting interest in people – "my people" – their concerns and worries, especially over food which is often mentioned in the discourse.

3) She is exhibiting presence to people. She came. She spoke. She chose two small children from among the people.

4) She is communicating broadness of mind and an all-encompassing viewpoint: "You will make this known to all my people". She is manifesting interest in their daily, workaday lives, as well as in their spiritual lives – and showing how the two really blend together.

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