Visionaries Melanie Mathieu and Maximin Giraud
In the years 1845 to 1850 were troubling times for Europe of epic proportions as we will discover. This was a time when many in Europe were still feeling the effects of the the French Revolution, which devastated France and sent tremors into neighbouring countries.
But it is the year 1846 that we will focus on, for this was the year when Our Lady appeared to two illiterate youths, namely Melanie Mathieu and Maximin Giraud.
These were two simple children, who's main job was to protect the cattle on the pasture above La Salette, for their employers. These two children had received very little in the way of education and came from very poor families.
But it was on Saturday 12th September 1846 that would irrevocably change the lives of these two youths forever, for it was on this day that the two children would see a beautiful Lady of indescribable beauty.
This beautiful Lady appeared to them as if on a circle of light, and when the light opened it revealed this most beautiful Lady sitting on a rock with her head in her hands as she wept inconsolably. She seemed to be wearing a long, white dress with pearls studded on it and also a white shawl, hanging from her neck was a crucifix and upon her head a Crown.
The two children were very upset to see one so beautiful, weeping so bitterly and both were also a little afraid, when confronted with this most wondrous Lady, they did not know what to do nor how to console her.
Our Lady looked at both children and still weeping she told them to warn the people that unless they changed their way, great tribulations would strike the population, for she could no longer hold back the Hand of her Son.
The children were horrified at what Our Lady was to reveal to them, and also overwhelmed. She warned of a coming famine that would corrupt cropts and bring untold misery and tragedy to many families. Our Lady told the children the reason why such punishment would come, as nearly all people had lost sight of God and were dismissive of Him, even unto blaspheming His Holy Name!
Our Lady told the children these words, "If my people do not obey, I shall be compelled to loose my Son's arm. It is so heavy I can no longer restrain it. How long have I suffered for you! If my son is not to abandon you, I am obliged to entreat Him without ceasing. But you take no heed 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 on your behalf. I have given you six days to work. The seventh I have reserved for myself, yet no one will give it to me. This is what causes the weight of my Son's arm to be so crushing. The cart drivers cannot swear without bringing in my Son's name. These are the two things which make my son's arm so heavy."
Our Lady then went on to ask the children, "Do you say your prayers well, my children?" Both Melanie and Maximin told the truth and declared they did not pray much at all, Our Lady beseeched them to practice and keep a good prayer life, she also said that so few practiced prayer nor attended any type of Worship, except for a very few elderly people in the villages.
She once again warned both children of the coming Chastisements if people did not ammend their ways or repent of their sins. Our Lady also imparted secrets to each child and recommended that both children share with the world her message of grief and to warn people to once again embrace God, or they would face a great Tribulation!
When the children told the local community and the Presiding Bishop they both faced much opposition and at times open ridicule leading to persecution, not too many people wanted to hear of coming chastisements. But even though Melanie nor Maximin had great education, they both remained steadfast and resolute in warning the world of what Our Lady had commissioned them to do!
Unfortunately what Our Lady predicted came to pass in the Great Potato Famine which spread from Europe to Ireland with untold and unparalelled tragedy. During the years 1845 to 1850, more than a million Irish people starved to death, and millions more left the shores of Ireland never to return to their homeland again.
The children eventually confided the secrets given to each of them privately to the Reigning Pontiff Pope Pius1X, at his request. The Pope was later heard to exclaim, " These are the secrets of La Salette: Unless the world repent, it shall perish!"
Later Mgr de Bruillard as Bishop of Grenoble released this statement:"We declare that the apparition of the Blessed Virgin to two shepherds, on September 19, 1846, on a mountain in the Alps in the parish of La Salette, bears in itself all the marks of truth and that the faithful are justified in believing without question in its truth. And so, to mark our lively gratitude to God and the glorious Virgin Mary, we authorise the cult of Our Lady of La Salette."
As for both Melanie and Maximin they were to lead complicated lives, both tried to enter religious communities which they failed at. Maximin after trying to gain employment, eventually started his own religious shop selling devout items, due to many unsrupulous people, there were questions raised about his level of business acumen. Maximin died a holy death at only 38 years old.
Melanie herself also tried different religious Orders none of which worked out. Being of an outspoken nature, Melanie did not attract large groups of friends, Melanie possessed a deep honesty but little personal 'charm'. She eventually died alone in Italy at the age of 73.
The message of La Salette still holds true for today, and I would encourage all to read of this momentous Vision, our Lady of La Salette.