In the year 1846, the village of La Salette France had a population of roughly 800 and consisted of several scattered hamlets. The populations were mostly herders and farmers and the majority had either slowed down their devotion to attending mass or had stopped attending mass completely in the aftermath of the French revolution. We're told this time that cursing had become popular, praying had begun ceasing and the sacraments were being neglected heavily.
Two young children, Maximin Guiraud and Melanie Calvat (11 and 14 years old respectively) were taking care of a group of cows and had begun their descent from the mountain when they saw an immeasurably bright globe appear. In the middle of the globe, they could soon see a "beautiful lady" sitting with her elbows resting on her knees, face buried in her hands and weeping. She was described as wearing a headdress with a crown of roses, a dress with beams of light, slippers edged with roses and a golden crucifix necklace with one end of the cross beam containing a hammer and nails, the other a pincher.
The children were initially too afriad to move, and Mary quietly said to them
“Come to me, my children. Do not be afraid. I am here to tell something of the greatest importance.”
She continued (an excerpt from A Woman Clothed with the Sun, written by Msgr. John S Kennedy:
“If my people will not obey, I shall be compelled to loose my Son’s arm. It is so heavy, so pressing that I can no longer restrain it. How long I have suffered for you! If my Son is not to cast you off, I am obliged to entreat Him without ceasing. But you take not the least notice of that. No matter how well you pray in the future, no matter how well you act, you will never be able to make up to me what I have endured for your sake.
“I have appointed you six days for working. The seventh I have reserved for myself. And no one will give it to me. This it is which causes the weight of my Son’s arm to be crushing. The cart drivers cannot swear without bringing in my Son’s name. These are the two things which make my Son’s arms so burdernsome.
“If the harvest is spoiled, it is your own fault. I warned you last year by means of the potatoes. You paid no heed. Quite the reverse, when you discovered that the potatoes had rotted, you swore, you abused my Son’s name. They will continue to rot, and by Christmas this year there will be none left.
“If you have grain, it will do no good to sow it, for what you sow the beasts will devour, and any part of it that springs up will crumble into dust when you thresh it.
“A great famine is coming. But before that happens, the children under seven years of age will be seized with trembling and die in their parent’s arms. The grownups will pay for their sins by hunger. The grapes will rot, and the walnuts will turn bad.”
Mary then stood wand walked up a hill, where she disappeared. The two children ran down to the town and told their families what had happened. After Mass the following Sunday, the townspeople came to the spot where the children had seen Mary. A piece of the rock where Mary had sat broke off and a spring shot forth from the hole. The Spring is traditionally held to be the spot of many miracles. The townspeople began attending Mass faithfully and confessions increased a hundred fold. As the spot became a pilgrimage spot, Bishop Bruillard conducted an investigation to determine the validity of the story.
On September 19, 1851, Bishop Bruillard determined that the apparition
“bore in itself all the marks of truth and that the faithful are justified in believing it to be certain and indubitable.”
The Missionaries of La Salette, a new religious community was founded a year later and Bishop Bruillard laid the cornerstone of a new Basilica in the town.
Maximin Giraud died on March 1st, 1875 at the age of 39, and Melanie Calvat died as a Catholic nun at Altamura Italy in 1904.