THE SECRET OF LA SALETTE
A figurative re-commencement of the history of the world
THE apparition of September 19, 1846, on the mountainside of La Salette, hardly lasted more than half an hour; vouched for on the day itself by the children, it was carefully taken down from their dictation, before witnesses, on May 29, 1847, before being officially recognised by the Church. There is nothing to object to in all this; on the contrary, there is everything to accept, admire and love. As Msgr. Paulinier said on the occasion of the National Pilgrimage on August 21, 1872 : “ God Himself has given us three proofs of the truth of the apparition. The first being the miracles that have multiplied here… The second, the transformation of the mountain, the extension of the cult of Mary : the devotion of La Salette having become a Catholic devotion... The third, the fulfilment of the prophecies, “ the scourges with which France was threatened" and which we have experienced with the trials of this terrible year. ” (Giray, Les miracles de La Salette, vol. II, p. 410).
Even so, this apparition is different from the other apparitions of the Blessed Virgin. The repercussions it provoked in the Church make it a special, difficult and wonderful event. The contradictions it encountered are a sure sign for us of their importance in the history of the Church and of the world.
“ GREAT NEWS ”
“ Come, My children, do not be afraid; I am here to proclaim great news to you ”, the Beautiful Lady had said to the two seers before dictating to them, word for word, a message, which they then “ passed on to all Her people ”. We have decoded this as God’s address to our first and guilty parents, the words of Moses to his stiff necked people, those “ tribes of people ” spoken of in the Book of Numbers, the words of the prophets to a renegade and perverse Jerusalem before the chastisement. It is a sort of re-commencement of the religious history of mankind and the promise of a renewal of all things… through the gracious mediation of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, established as Legislator and Prophet for Her people, in the stead and in the place of God the Father.
She Herself says : “ I am charged to pray unceasingly for you. ” So, there are three Persons : He who charges the Blessed Virgin Mary to intervene is God Himself, our dearest heavenly Father, and He with whom she pleads is Her Son, whose arm is already raised against us. He showed in advance to Sister Marie de Saint-Pierre, His confidant, how His Mother had placed Herself between the arm of His wrath and guilty France, showing Him “ this breast that nourished Him ”, begging Him to “ allow His mercy to be shed over His other children. So that men might know that a new era would open for them, She “ came down on earth ” to announce it to them. That is “ the great news ” : reconciliation offered, the return to grace, salvation promised and final victory assured
The Heart of God has allowed Itself to be touched by the prayer of Mary’s Heart, and He has decided to entrust our salvation to Her ! That is what She will write in the sky of Pontmain on January 17, 1871 : “ But pray My children, God will hear you in a little while. My Son allows Himself to be touched. ” (cf. CRC no 283, English ed.)
But you see Her there, weeping… Already at the rue du Bac, She was in tears ! And later at Lourdes, at Pontmain and at Fatima, with what sadness Her face is marked ! It is not for Herself, that our Beautiful Shepherdess, with Her grief-stricken Heart of love, weeps, but for the ingratitude of Her children, deaf to Her appeals and to Her warnings and threatened with even worse chastisements if they do not convert.
“ How long I have suffered for you !... and you others, you take no notice !… never will you be able to recompense the trouble I have taken for you ! ”
It is at the sight of Her tears, of the sword piercing Her soul, that in the words of the prophecy of old Simeon, would be “ revealed the inner thoughts of many hearts ” (Lk 2.35). “ According to these words, whoever is moved by the wound of the Heart of Mary will be saved. Whoever despises or ignores the Sorrows of Mary will be condemned. ” (CRC 263, Eng. ed., p. 20) Let us fear for ourselves, let us be converted and console our dearest Mother by listening to Her.
The lesson She gives at La Salette is simple and prosaic. To some, it will sound coarse and unworthy of the Queen of Heaven, but by such means, She makes Herself accessible to all, for She wants to start everything again from the beginning. Our Father made us understand this by analysing a part of the message word by word : “ It figures in a way an absolute re-commencement of religion. We are to start again from zero. Since you are debauched, since you have not obeyed, you have been punished : ‘ If the harvest is spoiled, it is only because of you. ’ But you did not understand : ‘ I made you see this last year with the potatoes, but you made little of it ’. You even hardened yourselves : ‘ Quite the contrary, when you found bad potatoes, you swore, using the name of My Son. ’ We see all that as though we were there. With every rotten potato, a swearword, a blasphemy ! Well, says the Blessed Virgin, I have come to warn you. If you do not convert, chastisements will fall upon you, and they will be terrible : ‘ They will continue to go bad, and at Christmas there will be no more. ’ That is Old Testament language, for sure, but the lesson is eternal from Genesis to the Apocalypse, from Jeremiah to Our Lord Jesus Christ, from La Salette to Fatima… Woe to those who do not hear it !
If La Salette really is an absolute re-beginning, one single apparition is insufficient; others will have to follow, and they will follow, always of the Blessed Virgin, “ charged ” with leading Her people, with educating them, making them pass from the Old to the New Testament, by gradually unveiling to them the will of Her Son concerning Her. There will be Lourdes, the apparition of the Immaculate Conception, already triumphant (cf. CRC 284, Eng. ed.), then Fatima, the total revelation of God’s grand design. Thus, in the divine orthodromy, La Salette and Fatima correspond and figuratively shed light on each other. The message of La Salette came as a forerunner, to prepare for the splendours of the revelation of the most loving and unique Heart of Jesus and Mary, at Fatima.
LA SALETTE ANNOUNCES FATIMA
1. The preparations. What a contrast between the two apparitions ! La Salette in 1846 is a little mountain village, surrounded by hamlets lost in their solitude, better preserved no doubt than the big town of Corps, but on all sides poverty has done its damage, and so has irreligion in the State and among the elites, spreading from there to the people in the course of fifty years. The clergy are in despair of ever remedying religious indifference, debauchery, and human respect among the Catholics themselves. The families of the two seers are no exception to this rule, and the children, placed with masters at a very early age, are practically abandoned to themselves. Maximin and Mélanie come together “ by chance ” on 19 September to guard the cows on the mountainside. They hardly get on together; the boy is certainly good-hearted and the girl is reserved, but they are both ignorant, coarse and half savage. Yet, it is their innocent voice, faithfully transmitting Heaven’s message, that will reawaken the people of France and draw them to this mountain. There were very many who recognised their crime, feared the chastisements and were converted, whilst the best generously entered on the path of reparation demanded by Heaven.
Fatima is also a small remote village, lost in the mountainous massif of the Serra da Aire. People lived poorly in the hamlet of Aljustrel in the 1910s, but not in destitution. It was country life, hard and simple, virtuous and joyful, wholly steeped in a solid piety and a profound faith. It is one of those regions that were loyal to Catholic and royal traditions, which will be the starting point for the reconquest of power by the Catholics in 1918. And then, it is the traditional village religion of this Christendom that Our Lady came to reawaken in the last century, in all her apparitions, beginning with La Salette. It is the charm of this traditional religion that captures us in the Memoirs of Sister Lucy, dedicated to the Marto and Dos Santos families : the parents were of excellent reputation, and the future little seers, three predestined children, in harmony, well instructed in their religion, forming an inseparable trio when they go out to graze their parents flocks. That is the first, charming, comforting and already enticing revelation of the predilections of the Heart of Mary (cf. Fatima, Joie Intime, Événement Mondial, p. 12-39).
2. The apparitions. At La Salette, the seers were favoured with no preparation; they were taken by surprise in the midst of their normal occupations. Placed in direct contact with the supernatural world, they were dazzled and enthralled, but they were not inwardly seized nor were they transformed : “ I felt nothing ”, Maximin was to admit. Whereas at Fatima, an angel prepared the children to be visited by the Queen of Heaven, teaching them to pray and to offer up their suffering. He introduced them into the light of God and told them : “ Make reparation for the crimes of sinners and console your God ! ”
Our Lady of La Salette appears “ within a light, the most brilliant light there is ”, which obviously reminds us of Fatima’s Lady “ more brilliant than the sun ”, all expressions in keeping with the vision of the “ Woman clothed in the sun ” of the 12th chapter of the Apocalypse. But whereas at La Salette only one apparition was sufficient for the Mother of God to remind Her people of Her Son’s law, through fear of chastisements, the six apparitions of Fatima are not too many to show the full scope of God’s design : to establish the universal royalty of Mary, through devotion to Her Immaculate Heart.
On May 13, 1917, the expression of the Lady all clothed in white, “ I am from Heaven ”, reminds us of Her declaration at a Salette, which so greatly astonished us : “ I gave you six days... ” Mystery of Her pre-existence, before all centuries ?… Then She requests the daily recitation of the Rosary, and even much more for Francisco ! whereas Maximin and Mélanie had to recite with difficulty one Pater and one Ave ! There has to be a beginning to everything, but the goal is clear : it is a question of honouring Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary ever more greatly. Then, Our Lady of Fatima opens Her hands and infuses into the children’s hearts and souls that divine grace of which She is the mediatrix, making them see themselves in God, wholly illumined by His Presence and burning with His Love; what intimate renewal !
The same “ positive ” grace on June 13, this time introducing them into the great mystery : at La Salette, Our Lady bore a living crucifix, “ as though embedded in Her chest ”, whence floods of light shone forth; the same vision, but more sorrowful, at Pontmain. At Fatima, Jesus seems to withdraw and, from within the same light, there appears the Immaculate Heart of Mary, wreathed in thorns and demanding reparation. There could not be a clearer manifestation of God’s Will to establish in the world this devotion, which is closest to His Heart, so as to renew all things through Her.
The secret of July 13, prepared and announced by the secret of La Salette, tells of its urgency : souls, nations, even the Church are in great danger ! So can Mary save everything ? Is everything subject to Her ? Yes, for She has taken great pains : “ Try as you may, you will never be able to recompense Me for the trouble I have taken over you ”.
The atmospheric miracles of September 13 figure Paradise regained, for She has also received power to make everything reburgeon, flower in virtue and bear much fruit.
Finally, the miracle of October 13 witnesses to Her all-powerfulness. “ I shall work a great miracle which all shall see so that they may believe ”. “ Opening Her hands, Our Lady makes them reflect the sun ”, bringing about its terrifying fall and its saving re-establishment. This unprecedented miracle vouches for the truth of this new, unique and marvellous grace, which fulfils every law !
3. The seers and their secret. The life of the seers is in itself an illustration of the differences and perfections of the two apparitions, thus marking the stages of this renewal.
Maximin and Mélanie make a very pitiful Adam and Eve : they announce the Beautiful Lady’s message, whilst keeping the blemish of original sin and their own imperfections and faults. Having been entrusted with a secret that is too heavy for him to bear, poor Maximin aspires only to be free of it. Nevertheless, he will faithfully guard it intact until his death; Mélanie, on the other hand, invents another; she constructs for herself a world apart, full of illusions, to escape from the terrible daily round… Both of them are figures of this poor humanity stretching out its hands towards its liberator, sometimes submissive, at other times rebellious. They thus testify negatively, in a shade mixed with light, to the wisdom of God’s designs.
THE THREE PHASES
OF THE APPARITION OF LA SALETTE :
THE RELIGION OF ALL TIME.
“ Maria Rosa dos Santos, Lucy’s mother, used to read to her children the Missao abreviada, a religious manual for country people, intended to 'prolong the fruits of the missions'. It taught a strict religion, but of exact doctrine and solid devotion (it contained the Litanies of the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of Mary, a devotion from the Archconfraternity of Our Lady of Victories AND A WHOLE CHAPTER WAS DEVOTED TO THE APPARITION OF LA SALETTE); it went straight to the essential and all the truths of faith were to be found there in their full light. ”
“ When Our Lady comes to the Cova da Iria, She will offer no other ideal. And Fatima is primarily this : the most urgent reminder ever that the true religion which is pleasing to God and which saves souls is indeed this traditional religion… ”
“ Tomorrow, when a new Christendom will arise by the grace of Our Lady of Fatima and in accordance with Her promise, the same dogmas, the same devotions, the same morality will be its soul and its essential. There is to be found the source of true peace and of happiness... ”
By contrast, how wonderful is the radiant and ardent life of the three little shepherds of Fatima, regenerated and introduced through grace into this Paradise regained by devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Their souls will be so profoundly marked by the Secret communicated to them that the deeply moving story of their life will convert the greatest sinners tomorrow and will kindle in every heart the fire of love with which they were consumed : there is Francisco, the model of those who console the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and little Jacinta, heroically co-operating with Jesus and Mary to snatch souls from hell.
As for Lucy, Jesus has made use of her “ to make His Mother’s Heart known and loved ”. To this day, she still pursues this mission in perfect fidelity : “ To make this ray of light always to shine before souls, to show them this harbour of salvation, ever ready to welcome all the shipwrecked of this world… As for me, whilst savouring the delicious fruits of this beautiful garden, I strive to make it easy for souls to gain access to this garden, where they may satisfy their hunger and quench their thirst for grace, comfort and help. ” Her testimony is transparent : she writes only in obedience, does not tell stories as Mélanie did, and does not talk about herself. Her last two “ Memoirs ” are dedicated uniquely to her father and her mother.
In one thing could the two seers be likened : the difficulties they experienced in writing their secret. Mélanie’s terror and tears in July 1851 inevitably make us think of Sister Lucy’s mysterious and terrible agony from October 1943 to January 1944 – a terror and an agony proportionate to the apocalyptic drama they both had to announce on Heaven’s behalf. But thereafter, their lives diverge : Mélanie’s fabrications break with her initial message, whereas the revelations of Pontevedra and of Tuy are in perfect continuity with the revelations of Fatima. Mélanie, daughter of Eve, is a mythomaniac, disobedient and unbalanced – which excuses her in part… – her “ prophecies ” were invalidated by events : the years 1864 and 1865 did not mark the unchaining of the forces of Evil, as she had announced, despite every attempt to explain this on the part of her supporters. Sister Mary-Lucy of the Immaculate Heart, on the other hand, a child of Mary and Her living image, is still to this day a well balanced religious, obedient and radiant; she has always recalled Our Lady’s requests at the most favourable hour, and all the known part of the Secret has been fulfilled and is being fulfilled.
If Mélanie of La Salette anticipated in herself the “ diabolical disorientation ” denounced by Lucy of Fatima, the latter personifies the fidelity which the new Eve has come to recreate on earth.
FATIMA SHEDS LIGHT ON LA SALETTE
Just as the Gospel sheds a new light on the Old Testament by fulfilling it, so Fatima, which is the completion of God’s design, reveals the meaning of the previous apparitions. Thus it was that a special revelation to Lucy taught us that the requests of the Sacred Heart to King Louis XIV, made through the intermediary of Saint Margaret-Mary, had not been satisfied.
Let us try, therefore, in the light of Fatima and its Secret, to isolate the true Secret of La Salette from every gross counterfeit.
The peerless expert on Fatima, Father Alonso, can help us here : “ It is quite probable that the text of the third secret makes concrete allusions to the crisis of faith in the Church and to the negligence of the Pastors themselves. Very possibly, the Secret does not speak only of a veritable crisis of faith in the Church during this intermediary period, but also contains, as for example does the secret of La Salette, more concrete references to internal conflicts among Catholics or to the failings of priests, religious, and the Church’s top Hierarchy. ” (cf. Brother François, p. 403)
Father Alonso based his thinking on the known part of the Secret : “ In Portugal, the dogma of the faith will always be preserved, etc. ” In Portugal… and in Rome will the dogma of the faith be preserved ? This little phrase, purposely unveiled by Sister Lucy, leads one to think not.
On the other hand, there is the question of the “ mystery of iniquity ”, which Saint Paul speaks of in order to designate the times of Antichrist : “ It is necessary that there come a revolt first, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and who is lifted up above all that is called God or that is worshipped, to the extent of sitting in the temple of God, showing himself as if he were God. (II Thess 2.3-4) And in referring us to chapter XIII of the Apocalypse, Sister Lucy clearly intends to signify that we have entered this great battle of the last times, from which the Blessed Virgin will emerge victorious !
To come back to La Salette : there is one phrase that stands out from the great Secret published by Mélanie in 1879, and which we hold to be authentic : “ Rome will lose the faith and become the seat of the Antichrist. ” We recognise here, in fact, one of the three words that escaped from the draft of 1851 : “ Antichrist ”. It is impossible for this key phrase, of such amazing force and clarity, to have been invented by Mélanie, because there was such a cult of Rome at the time that it would have been absolutely unthinkable that the apostasy could come from there one day. Furthermore, this was a conviction shared by Mélanie, whose admiration for the Pope, whether it be Pius IX or Leo XIII, whom she claimed to have won over to her cause, was boundless.
The other three words, known to be authentic add some light to this essential revelation :
“ infailliblement ” : Mélanie will explain later that this word applies to predicted events, which were to “ happen ‘ infailliblement ’ ” or without fail (Voilin, p. 78), but should we believe her ? For the term applies more especially to the truths of faith which have to be defined “ infailliblement ” – infallibly.
“ villes souillées ” – sullied towns : It is the image and the consequence of their apostasy. For that, they deserve a hundred times over the chastisement of Sodom and Gomorrha, unless… repenting and turning their eyes towards the Immaculate Virgin, they are healed through Her positive purity of all impurity and pride !
“ Pontife ” – Pontiff : The role of the Sovereign Pontiff is decisive for the success of the providential great design revealed at Fatima, as at La Salette. “ It is not without reason that the Church is called militant, and that you see here her Captain ”, said Pius IX after reading the Secret. “ And if the Secret concerned the Pope himself ? ” said Mélanie one day; Maximin too, often returned to the Pope’s duty to defend dogma and to condemn errors (Msgr. Giray, p. 424).
The Secret of Fatima speaks of persecution against the Church and the Holy Father, no doubt the one who, in Rome, will restore the faith and consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary ? One remembers how ardently the children of Fatima, Jacinta in particular, prayed and made sacrifices for the Holy Father. At this point, let us quote an astonishing remark made by Pius IX, who was often inspired by the two secrets of La Salette in his public speeches : “ In 1871, on the 25th anniversary of his election, he said to a French deputation presided over by Msgr. Forcade of Nevers : ‘ There will be a great wonder that will astonish the whole world. This wonder, however, has to be preceded by the triumph of the Revolution. The Church will have much to suffer : her ministers and head first and foremost will be dishonoured, persecuted and martyred. ’ ” (Le Hidec, p. 87)
The link that our Father has established between La Salette and Fatima had been unimaginable until today. Nor could it have been imagined, since Rome, under Benedict XV in 1915, put a stop to any further controversy being stirred up by Mélanie’s great Secret by settling the matter bluntly, too bluntly : “ … The Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office orders all the faithful, whatever country they may belong to, to abstain from dealing with or discussing the matter in question… ” (Le Hidec, p. 123) By banning all commentary, Rome shut herself off from any profound understanding of Heaven’s intentions. And so, for want of having understood La Salette which was preparing the way, Rome could not understand Fatima : she did not have the key, either religious or political, of the events to come...
And so we conclude these pages, which call for many others, with a sort of radiant equation, which we owe entirely, as a light on our path at the end of this century, to our venerable and unique Father :
“ Mélanie, Eve of the last times, seems to prefigure the modernist and conciliar Church, going to the extremes of atheist gnosticism and yet preserving the dogma of the faith, with great difficulty and through torments, for her persecuted children. Maximin, a modest and superseded Adam, seems to be, as he was seen by the holy Pope Pius IX, the honest representative of the real France, the legitimist people, ‘ catholique et français toujours ’, to whom the Blessed Virgin Mary secretly announced the return of the Lily, the coming of the Great Monarch, in the happy days of the crowning of the Holy Pontiff, the restorer of all things through the grace of the most holy and unique Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary. ”
That is why we hope for the publication of the Secret of La Salette as well as for that of Fatima, and it would not surprise us if Our Lady made an allusion revealing the connection between Her two apparitions, Her two messages, thus unveiling the tragic but grandiose orthodromy of our 20th century which must end with the universal triumph of and world-wide devotion to Her Immaculate Heart, as God so wills – “ Dieu le veut ! ”