Our Lady of La Salette reminds us keep holy the Sabbath

by Donal Anthony Foley –

The feast of Our Lady of La Salette commemorates the apparition of the Blessed Virgin to two French children, 11-year-old Maximin Giraud and 14-year-old Mélanie Mathieu, which took place on a mountain near the village of La Salette-Fallavaux on Saturday, Sept. 19, 1846. The two children worked as shepherds and lived in the nearby town of Corps in southeastern France.

On that day, they went to pasture their herds on the mountain, driving their cows ahead of them. It was a beautiful warm autumn day with a clear blue sky. After their meager lunch and a midday nap, Melanie saw an astonishing sight – a dazzling globe of light. She called to Maximin in fright, and both children shaded their eyes from the glare of the globe as it grew bigger and began to open, revealing a seated woman with her head in her hands.

She then stood up and spoke to them: “Come, my children. Do not be afraid. I am here to tell you great news.” Her voice reassured them and they ran towards her, close enough to see all the details of her appearance. They later described her as very tall and beautiful and wearing a long white, pearl-studded, sleeved dress, and a white shawl, with a tiara or crown on her head. The whole effect was as if she was made of light and indeed the children could see through her, although neither she nor they cast a shadow.

Mélanie could look at the face of the Lady, but her radiance was too much for Maximin, although he could hear her words. Both remarked that she was in tears the whole time she spoke to them. She told them that she was no longer able to restrain the hand of her Son, because of people working on Sundays and because of widespread blasphemy.

The Lady then went on to speak about the coming punishments for these sins, including crop blights and famine, at one point switching from French, which the children did not understand very well, to the local patois dialect. Then she spoke to Maximin alone, imparting a secret to him that Mélanie could not hear, before turning to her to give a secret that Maximin likewise couldn’t hear.

Presently she again spoke to both, saying that if the people were converted, the fields would produce self-sown potatoes and the stones would become wheat. She then asked a significant question: “Do you say your prayers well, my children?” They replied that they hardly prayed, and she told them they should say at least their morning and night prayers, before continuing: “Only a few rather old women go to Mass in the summer. Everyone else works every Sunday all summer long. And in the winter, when they don’t know what else to do, they go to Mass only to scoff at religion. During Lent, they go to the butcher shops like dogs.”

She then asked the children if they had ever seen spoiled wheat and when both replied that they had not, the Lady reminded Maximin that he had once seen it when on a visit to a nearby hamlet with his father; he then remembered that what she said was true.

Finally, the Lady spoke to them in French. “Well, my children, you will make this known to all my people,” before moving forward between them. She went on a few yards and reemphasized her message to them without turning around. “Now, my children, be sure to make this known to all my people.”

She continued to move away from them up the slope, hovering over the ground, and then stopping near the summit of the mountain she turned towards the southeast, towards Italy and Rome, no longer crying now, but with a look of great sadness. Then she began to disappear into a light similar to that which had initially encircled her, and in a few moments, she was gone. The globe of light then dissolved into the autumn sunshine.

It was only at this point that Maximin and Mélanie fully realized that the Lady was more than an ordinary human being, and they began to wonder if she was some great saint.

The children spoke to each other about her, and realized that both had been given a secret that was not to be revealed. They continued to talk as they drove their cattle homewards, little realizing that the moment they spoke about what had happened their lives would be completely transformed.

The Prophecy Comes True

Archbishop William Ullathorne of Birmingham, England, went to La Salette in May 1854, nearly eight years after the apparition had been approved by the local bishop, and was able to verify for himself that there had been a failure of the potato crop in the autumn of 1846, leading to widespread hunger in the mountain areas.

He was of the opinion that the warnings given at La Salette were one of the major reasons for a general religious revival in the south of France, especially with regard to keeping Sunday holy and eliminating blasphemy.

Surely the message for our time from the events at La Salette and the warnings Our Lady gave there, is that sins of Sabbath-breaking and blasphemy are very serious and merit grave punishment.

These 19th century problems in localized areas have become epidemics in the 21st, as the greater part of modern society disregards the sanctity of Sundays and treats as a joke the idea that blasphemy is a sin.

The fact remains, however, that these are the second and third commandments and thus very important and binding on mankind. The first commandment is the prohibition against idolatry, the worship of false gods and goddesses. This is present in the modern world under the guise of worship of money, fame, entertainment, sensuality and so on.

Could the increasingly chaotic weather we are experiencing, whether it be heatwaves, droughts or hurricanes, have more to do with the sinfulness of modern mankind than unproven theories about man-made climate change? That is a question worth asking.


Donal Anthony Foley is the author of a number of books on Marian Apparitions, including Marian Apparitions, the Bible, and the Modern World, and maintains a related website at www.theotokos.org.uk. He has also a written a time-travel/adventure book for young people – details can be found in our Gift Shop.



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  1. Our Lady of La Salette – Pray for us.

  2. Sun-day is the day of the Sun… it is not the Sabbath.

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