St. Francis of Assisi 1182 – 1226

St.Francis“Lord make me an instrument of they peace, where there is hatred let me sow love.
Patron of: animals, ecology, grace, green technology, light, love, merchants, nature, peace, pets, tapestry workers, harmony, dying alone
Type: Mystic

Love for God and everything in creation so consumed St. Francis of Assisi, that he was able to commune with the natural world on a divine level. Taming wolves, quieting flocks of birds and infusing peace and contentment to the humanity he interacted with, we call on Francis of Assisi to bring us into the harmonious rhythms of the universe, where all of nature and mankind are at one with the divine force of creation.

An unlikely mystic, Francis was born Giovanni Bernadone in the town of Assisi. His father, a proud member of the upper classes was a wealthy cloth merchant married to a woman from Provence. Because he frequently conversed in French with his mother, Giovanni was soon known as “Francesco” or “the Frenchman” by his friends and neighbors. Confident that his son would follow in his footsteps, the elder Bernadone indulged and catered to Francesco’s every whim and the youth enjoyed a pleasure filled existence in the company of others in his social caste. On a lark he set off with friends to take part in a war with Perugia. Much to his shock, he was taken prisoner and it took his family a year to ransom him back. Upon his return, he was bedridden and seriously ill. But in recovering his health, Francesco seems to have lost his identity. He suffered a great spiritual crisis as all interest in his old life and his father’s business waned and disappeared. While wandering the countryside he stopped into the deserted church of San Damiano and heard the crucifix say to him, “Francis, go and repair my house, which you see is falling down.” Happy to have some direction in his life, he took the request literally and began rebuilding the structure with his bare hands. Ultimately, his father disowned him and when Francis, renouncing his inheritance threw his clothing in the street, he donned the simple brown garment given him by the Bishop of Assisi.

Begging for supplies, Francis continued his work on San Damiano. Eventually he was joined by other disenchanted young men looking for a higher meaning in life. By simply following the exact tenets of Christ, this little band of friars, never owning anything, bartering labor for food and shelter began a movement of religious seekers that revolutionized the Church by the simple and loving way they spread the gospel. Instead of writing in church Latin he used colloquial Italian and in an effort to explain the story of Christ’s birth, he created a living tableau of animals and people – the first Christmas crèche.

A great poet and mystic, Francis was the first saint to receive the stigmata while in a meditative rapture. Filled with humility and though he founded one of the world’s greatest religious orders, Francis of Assisi was never ordained a priest. Upon his death he requested to be buried in the cemetery for criminals, but the people of Assisi so loved him that they took his body and interred it under the altar of their great cathedral. Just as popular with nonCatholics as Catholics, Francis has inspired great artists, composers and writers. Assisi, Italy remains a great pilgrimage site for those wishing to pay him tribute.

Prayer

O Beloved Saint Francis, gentle and poor, your obedience to God, and your simple, deep love for all God’s creatures led you to the heights of heavenly perfection and turned many hearts to follow God’s will. Now in our day, in our ministry to the many who come here searching for peace and intercede for us we come before the Lord with our special requests…

(Mention your special intentions here.)

O Blessed Saint of God, from your throne among the hosts of heaven, present our petitions before our faithful Lord. May your prayers on our behalf be heard and may God grant us the grace to lead good and faithful lives. Amen

Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us.

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PADRE PIO, MYSTIC AND WONDERWORKER

Image result for padre pio

1887-1968
Feast Day: September 23

Patron of: Forgiveness

Keywords: healing, miracles

Quote: “Pray, hope, and don’t worry.”

Symbols: crucifix, stigmata

Denounced by Vatican officials as a fraud, and his mystical gifts frequently viewed with suspicion by his immediate superiors, Pio of Pietracelina was sequestered away in the remote monastery of San Giovanni Rotondo where it was expected that he would labor as a monk in obscurity. His adeptness in both physical and spiritual healing and his ability to read hearts and minds while in confession made him wildly popular among the common people of that impoverished region of Italy. Today, the town of San Giovanni Rotondo is the second most visited place by religious pilgrims who venture there to pay homage to one of the most popular saints of the twentieth century, Padre Pio. Made a saint in 2002, Padre Pio has no official patronage. Because of his devotion to the powers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and his own suffering due to the mistrust of his superiors, he is frequently invoked to bring the grace of forgiveness to a situation.

Born Francesco Forlione in Pietracelina, a town north of Naples, he was named for his patron saint, Francis of Assisi. Coming from a religious family, he said he had spiritual visions of Christ and the Virgin Mary from a very young age. He never mentioned them to anyone as he assumed all people had such gifts. He was ordained as a Capuchin friar in 1910 taking the name Pio (meaning “Pious”) but was sent home due to a diagnosis of tuberculosis. While convalescing he offered himself as a conduit of suffering in exchange for the salvation of others. Eventually, in 1916 he was conscripted into the army where he contracted such a high fever that he was sent home to die. Upon his miraculous recovery from this illness, the Capuchin order sent him to the very remote monastery of Our Lady of Grace in San Giovanni Rotondo in Puglia, a province of Southern Italy. On September 20, 1918, while praying in the stillness of the church, Pio went into a trancelike state where he saw Christ standing before him bleeding from the wounds of the crucifixion. Pio’s heart almost burst in sympathy before coming out of the state in intense pain. Upon regaining consciousness he found himself to be afflicted with the same wounds of the crucifixion. It was this condition which only ended at his death in 1968, which would bring him under intense scrutiny by church officials for the rest of his life.

Pio’s talents for deciphering what people meant to tell him during confession but were too embarrassed or ashamed to bring up, became immediate apparent to the local townspeople and he developed a great following among them. They credited him with an incredible capacity of healing, mending physical ills, familial squabbles, and curing spiritual desolation. When Vatican Officials severely limited his official duties, the one mass he was allowed to say at 5 AM, had thousands lining up the night before so that they may be with him. Without ever leaving the monastery, he was known as “the living saint” as he sighted in hospitals and at sickbeds hundreds of miles away. The onset of World War Two spread his cult on an international level as soldiers from Australia, other parts of Europe, and the United States witnessed his miraculous abilities. By the late 1940’s he was receiving hundreds of international prayer requests per day. He eventually founded a hospital for the hopelessly ill, the internationally acclaimed House for the Relief of Suffering, which treats tens of thousands of people each year and survives solely on charitable donations.

The animosity that many Vatican officials had against Padre Pio was dissolved in 2002 when Pope John Paul II declared him a saint. This pope knew Pio’s powers firsthand as he had visited him fifty years before as a young seminarian in the hopes of obtaining a cure for a friend. Not only did his friend’s cancer go into remission, but Pio’s strange prediction of this obscure Polish priest’s rise to pope also came true.

Novena to Padre Pio

(It is important to note that Padre Pio himself recited the Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus for the intentions of those who requested his prayers every day.)

Dear God, Thou hast generously blessed Thy servant, St. Pio of Pietrelcina, with the gifts of the Spirit. Thou hast marked his body with the five wounds of Christ Crucified, as a powerful witness to the saving Passion and Death of Thy Son. Endowed with the gift of discernment, St. Pio labored endlessly in the confessional for the salvation of souls. With reverence and intense devotion in the celebration of Mass, he invited countless men and women to a greater union with Jesus Christ in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.

Through the intercession of St. Pio of Pietrelcina, I confidently beseech Thee to grant me the grace of (mention your intentions here). Amen.

Recite three Glorias.

from the Novena App

Read more about Padre Pio in “Saints: Ancient and Modern”

 

August Novena App: St. Clare of Assisi, Occupations: Patron of Television Workers

Image result for clare of assisi

1193-1254
Feast Date: August 11
Abbess and Founder of the Poor Clares
Patron of: Television Workers
Quote: “Totally love Him, Who gave Himself totally for your love.”
Keywords: clarity, blindness, embroiderers, eye diseases, gilders, goldsmiths, laundry workers, telephones, telegraphs, television
Symbols: monstrance, lamp, lily

Together with her mentor and friend, Francis of Assisi, St. Clare shook the foundations of Medieval society by revolutionizing religious expression. Her given name, Chiara means clarity and we call on St. Clare whenever we need to shine a light on a situation or to find a way to communicate more clearly. She is also invoked to protect the blind and to help those with eye trouble.

Chiara Offreduccio, as the beautiful daughter of minor royalty was offered every worldly advantage available to one in her social class. When she heard St. Francis preach the Lenten service at her church in 1212, his simple message of living with complete trust in God inspired her to abandon going through with her arranged marriage in order to join the Franciscan movement. The first followers of Saint Francis were the wealthy sons of his town of Assisi. Their act of turning their backs on the material world to live at the mercy of the elements and on whatever alms they could beg was disturbing and controversial to both their families as well as to the church authorities. Attracted by the joyous way in which they comported themselves, as well as the enthusiasm they brought to religious worship, Clare was the first woman to join their order.

Fervently believing in a life devoted to the precepts of the gospel, the Franciscans did not believe in personal property. When Clare escaped her family to join them on Palm Sunday, Francis himself cut off her long blond hair and handed her the simple woolen robe worn by his followers. He then left her in the local Benedictine convent as there were no facilities in his order for women. It was not long before her entire family attempted an intervention type rescue of the girl. Revealing her shorn hair to her horrified father made them realize that she would never return to their world. Her younger sister, as well as other wellborn young women from the town soon followed her. In 1215, Saint Francis installed Clare as the Abbess of the Order of Poor Ladies. True to the Rule of St. Francis, they accepted no dowries from their families as other religious orders did. When they were left inheritances, the money was distributed to the poor. Highly intelligent, and known for the efficacy of her prayers, popes, cardinals, royalty and St. Francis himself came to her for spiritual advice. Her own correspondence shows her to be a clever, happy person.

Devoted to the eucharist and frequently immersed in prayer, the stories of miraculous occurrences around Clare abound. The most famous is that while she was ill, her convent which was outside of the walls of Assisi was attacked by the Saracen mercenaries of Frederick II . As the invaders stormed the walls with ladders, Clare calmly held up a monstrance containing the host. A child’s voice emanated from inside the monstrance, “I will always guard and defend you.” A feeling of dread overtook the invaders and they ran away from the town.
St. Clare was named the patron saint of television writers and workers due to a vision she had while too ill to attend Christmas Eve mass. She was able to view and hear the entire mass on the wall of her room. She spent much time embroidering linens for use in mass, so she is the patron of embroiderers. Because that trade is hard on the eyes and because of her name, she is the patron of those with eye problems and the blind.

Explanation:
Monstrance: Devoted to the Eucharist, Clare protected her convent by holding up a monstrance, which holds the host. Sometimes in art, this monstrance is re-interpreted as a lamp. Since Chiara means clarity, it is Clare shining the light of clarity.

NOVENA TO SAINT CLARE

O Glorious St. Clare! God has given you the power of working miracles continually, and the favor of answering the prayers of those who invoke your assistance in misfortune, anxiety, and distress. We beseech you, obtain from Jesus through Mary His Blessed Mother, what we beg of you so fervently and hopefully, (mention your petition) if it be for the greater honor and glory of God and for the good of our souls. Amen.

Excerpted from the Novena App

Read more about Saint Clare in “Saints: Ancient and Modern”

Novena App: OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE

Feast Day: December 12

Patron of: Motherly Comfort, Mexico, The Americas

Quote: “Am I not your mother?”

 

Keywords: the Americas, compassion, love, forgiveness, mercy, motherly comfort, protection

 

Symbols: mandorla (body halo), roses, stars, crescent moon, angel

 

This image of Mary is the preeminent cultural icon of Mexico and the American Southwest, cherished by Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Unlike other apparitions of Mary, where she sometimes issues warnings to mankind, in her visitation to the Aztec people, she promised hope, love and comfort at a time when their own way of life had been destroyed.   We invoke Our Lady of Guadalupe anytime we need the wisdom and comfort of a motherly force.

 

In December of 1531, the world of the once great Aztec civilization lay in ruins. The native inhabitants of what would become Mexico City were suffering brutally under the domination of Spanish Colonialists who had first invaded in 1519. Within two short years the forces of Hernan Cortes, with the help of native enemies of the Aztecs had completely overrun and destroyed a dual culture of light and dark, one of gracious cities and blood filled temples. Believing that their superiority and way of life depended on feeding their gods human sacrifices, the Aztecs routinely invaded neighboring tribes, sacrificing tens of thousands of captives a week. Gradually, the images of their own gods, particularly the female ones, took on more monstrous and grotesque features. The Spanish responded  to these sacred sites by wreaking havoc and destruction upon them. Within ten years the remaining Aztec residents were heart-sick, depressed and dying off.

 

On December 9, 1531, and Aztec convert to Catholicism called Juan Diego, was on his way to mass. Distracted by the singing of birds on a hillside, he stopped. He then heard the kindly calling of his name in his native Nahuatl language. He approached the noble Aztec woman n the hill and was stunned at the heightened glow of her surroundings. She introduced herself as the perfect maiden Saint Mary, honorable mother of the true God. She asked him to go to the bishop and request a temple be built to her on the hill. She added, “I am the compassionate mother of you and your people, here in this land and of all the people who love me, search for me and confide in me…”  After a long wait, the bishop told Juan Diego that he needed a sign proving that this was a true appearance of Mary. In subsequent days, when Juan Diego again saw the woman on the hill, he begged her to get someone who the bishop would respect more to deliver her request. She kindly replied that he was the perfect one for her message. The next day Juan Diego walked another way into town in order to avoid the woman as his uncle was sick and he did not want to waste any time doing her errands. Nonplussed, she came down from the other side of the hill to meet him. Flustered, he told her he had to tend to his uncle and had no time to wait for the bishop who did not believe him anyway. The woman assured him that his uncle was already well and then told him to gather roses among the rocks.  This being winter he was amazed at how many roses were in full bloom. The woman arranged the roses in his cloak and again sent him off to the bishop. When he was finally granted this audience, it was the bishop’s turn to gasp in amazement. As Juan Diego unwrapped his cloak of roses, there imprinted on his cloak was the exact image of the lady on the hill. The bishop fell to his knees and begged Juan’s forgiveness. Today, tens of millions of pilgrims flock to Mexico City to see this original cloth which is in the cathedral named after this apparition of Mary, Our  Lady of Guadalupe.

 

The Virgin Mary appears to each visionary as a member of their own culture.  This image of a kindly, loving mother figure so impressed the native people of Mexico, that thousands of them came to be baptized within the first few months of the cloth being put on display.

 

Explanation of images:

Mandorla: a body halo which signifies that Mary is wrapped in the grace of God.

Robe of stars: By wearing the stars she is showing that her God is more powerful than the stars. Blue is the color of royalty and virginity.

Crescent Moon: to Christians, Mary’s virginity. To Indian’s Mary is stronger than the moon god, the god of darkness.

Angel:  Carried there by heaven.

 

 

 

Novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe

 

Our Lady of Guadalupe, according to your message in Mexico I venerate you as “the Virgin Mother Of the true God for whom we live, the Creator of all the world, maker of heaven and earth.” In spirit I kneel before your most holy image which you miraculously imprinted

upon the cloak of the Indian Juan Diego. And with the faith of the countless numbers of pilgrims

who visit your shrine, I beg you for this favor: (mention your request).

 

Remember, O Immaculate Virgin, the words you spoke to your devout client, “I am a merciful Mother to you and to all your people who love me and trust in me and invoke my help. I listen to their lamentations and solace all their sorrows and their sufferings.” I beg you to be a merciful Mother to me, because I sincerely love you and trust in you and invoke your help. I entreat you, Our Lady of Guadalupe, to grant my request, if this should be the will of God, in order that I may

bear witness to your love, your compassion, your help and protection. Do not forsake me in my needs. Amen.

 

Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us.

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Saint: Ancient & Modern

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Saints is now an ebook on Amazon, please take a look at http://www.amazon.com/Saints-Ancient-Modern-Barbara-Calamari-ebook/dp/B00S6PS1FC/ref=sr_1_3_twi_1_kin?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1433273932&sr=1-3&keywords=barbara+calamari

Visions of Mary: Our Lady of Czestochowa

Matka Boska CzestockowskaOur Lady of Czestochowa is the patroness of Poland.
Her feast day is August 26.

Our Lady of Czestochowa is the most well known and most revered of the many Black Madonna icons found in the East. Not only is this image honored in the traditional way as an icon, but like Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Czestochowa has earned the dedication of an entire nation. She has been credited several times with saving Poland from invaders and providing a national identity when that country was divided. The Polish people not only admire her as an aspect of the Virgin Mary, but they relate to her as their queen and credit their existence as a nation to her help.

Like the majority of the Black Madonna statues, it is said that Our Lady of Czestochowa was created by Saint Luke. The historical legend of this painting is that the Virgin Mary actually sat for it after the Crucifixion when she was living in the house of Saint John the Evangelist. The cedar wood the icon was painted on was from a table made by Jesus Christ when he was a carpenter. During the destruction of Jerusalem in a.d. 70, the early Christians hid the painting away. It was rediscovered in a.d. 326 when Saint Helena, the elderly mother of Constantine made her trip to the Holy Land in her search for the True Cross. Among the relics she brought back with her to Constantinople was this icon. Constantine erected a church to house the image, and it was revered by the citizens of that city. The icon remained in Constantinople for five centuries, escaping destruction during the reign of the Iconoclasts (746–843). This was a movement in the Eastern Church that strictly forbade the existence of religious images. All icons and holy pictures were ordered painted over or destroyed. It is said that the wife of the emperor who ordered it burned, hid the icon away instead. In the ninth century Constantinople’s emperor offered Charlemagne any treasure he wanted in the city in gratitude for his help in defending them against the Saracen invaders. He chose this icon and later presented it to Prince Leo of Ruthenia. It remained in his castle at Belz, Russia, for the next five hundred years. In 1349, an invasion mounted by the Tartars from the east threatened Belz. Prince Ladislaus, the town’s ruler decided to take the icon to a safer place. As he was making his plans, an arrow fired by the invaders came through the window and embedded itself in the painting. It was the prince’s intention to take the painting to his birthplace in Opala. While he stopped to rest in the town called Czestochowa, the image was brought to Jasna Gora (“bright hill”) and temporarily placed in the Church of the Assumption. On August 26, 1382, when the prince attempted to continue his journey, the painting became too heavy for his servants to carry. He took this as a sign from the Virgin Mary that this painting should remain in Czestochowa. Searching for the holiest men he could find to create a shrine, he brought in an order of Hungarian monks dedicated to Saint Paul the Hermit to guard the icon. This is also where the first writings on the painting start to be recorded.
The followers of a heretic priest John Hus of Prague stormed the church in 1430. In an attempt to rob the jewels embedded in the icon, one of the men started slashing at the icon’s face. As he was about to slash it the third time he fell dead. This terrified the invaders into leaving. The icon, however, fell and broke into three pieces. Grecian painters familiar with the style of iconic painting were brought in to restore it, and by 1434 it was virtually completely repainted. However, the two slashes in the face have continually reappeared despite repeated attempts to repair them.

In 1655 a small army of three hundred Polish soldiers were gathered at the foot of the monastery. They were challenged by a force of twelve thousand Swedish invaders. In one of the greatest victories in European history, the small army of Poles successfully routed the invasion. Though the image of Our Lady of Czestochowa had always been regarded as special and miraculous, this victory was considered spectacular proof of the intercession of Mary through the icon. On April 1, 1656, King John Casimir proclaimed Our Lady of Czestochowa as Queen of Poland and said vows putting the country under her patronage and protection. On September 3, 1717, the apostolic delegate staged a national coronation of the icon. A crown, given to Poland as a gift from the pope was created to fit on the head in the image. In the late eighteenth century, Poland had a very weak central government and it was gradually separated and divided up by Russia, Austria and Prussia. Throughout this time, under foreign domination, almost every Polish church had a copy of Our Lady of Czestochowa and the people consistently referred to her as the Queen of Poland. Until the country’s restoration in 1918, the shrine at Jasna Gora served as a spiritual capital and a vital link for the Polish people with their true homeland.

In the last century, on September 14, 1920, the Russian army was gathered at the river Vistula in preparation for an invasion of Warsaw. The Polish people prayed to Our Lady of Czestochowa for a miracle. The Russians dispersed the next day when they saw the image of the Virgin Mary in the clouds over Warsaw. In Polish history books this is known as the Miracle of Vistula.

The Pauline Fathers at Jasna Gora keep archives of all the individual claims of healings and miracles due to the intercession of Our Lady of Czestochowa. National devotion to her remains very strong, and her shrine has been a popular pilgrimage site since her arrival in the late fourteenth century. As the people of that country suffered through division and annexation, the Nazi invasion and Communist rule, they have always remained steadfast in keeping her feast day.

Many people are puzzled as to why Our Lady of Czestochowa is dark-skinned. Different explanations are given: the ancient paints have darkened over time, or it was made darker when it was overpainted in the fifteenth century, or that centuries of candle smoke have blackened the image. It is also commonly said that when the original shrine at Jasna Gora was destroyed by fire, though the painting, miraculously, did not burn, it was darkened by the flames and smoke and from that day on it has been known as the Black Madonna.

In the early part of the twentieth century the original crown for the icon was taken by thieves, but an elaborate new crown was created to replace it. In some images, Our Lady of Czestochowa wears this elaborate crown and in others, she wears the royal blue veil of the Virgin Mary.

 

Visions of Mary: Our Lady of La Salette

LaSall3Patroness of France
Feast: September 19

One of the most controversial of the Church-approved apparitions of Mary is her visit to La Salette in the French Alps. The seers who saw her were two poor shepherd children, half wild, unwanted by their parents and unschooled. They had little credibility with the people in their region and even less with the local clergy. Yet because of the complete conversion or change of heart of the little town, this apparition was approved within four years.

On September 19, 1846, two shepherds, fourteen-year-old Melanie Calvat and eleven-year-old Maximin Giraud were tending their cows in the Alpine hamlet of La Salette, France, approximately 6,000 feet above sea level. Both children had only recently met, the younger of the two, Maximin, was outgoing and friendly. He had insisted on their working together in order to stave off the boredom and loneliness of their tedious job. Melanie Calvat begrudgingly accepted his company. She was known to have a difficult and taciturn nature. She had worked as a shepherd from the time of her tenth birthday, and her master considered her disobedient and lazy. She was the fourth of tenth children, and many people in the village remember her mother as abusive and violent. On this Saturday afternoon in September the children had only been working together for a few days. They had taken a nap after lunch and upon awakening realized that their cows had wandered off. As they scrambled up into the pasture to retrieve them, they saw what seemed to them to be a globe of fire near a little hollow, which looked “as though the sun had fallen on that spot.” Upon closer inspection, the light took on a form and the figure of a beautiful woman weeping could be made out. The woman was sitting on a rock with her face buried in her hands. She saw the children and got up, saying, “Come near, my children, do not be afraid. I am here to tell you great news.”
Reassured and extremely curious, Maximin and Melanie ran over to the woman. They later reported that she was tall and everything about her radiated light. She wore clothing typical of the women of that area; a long dress with an apron, and a shawl crossed over her breast and tied around her back. Her dress, however was studded in pearls, and her bonnet was a strange crown-shaped hat that exuded bright rays. Hanging from her neck she wore a large crucifix with a figure of Christ on it. Beneath the arms of the cross there were, to the left a hammer, and to the right, pincers. An even brighter radiance emanated from this crucifix. There were garlands of roses around her head, the edge of her shawl and around her feet. Throughout her conversation with the children the woman continually wept.

“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 no 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.”

Then the woman pointed out how no one in the village took Sunday off from work. She added, “The cart drivers cannot swear without bringing in my Son’s name. These are the two things which make my Son’s arms so burdensome.”
She went on to say that if the village continued to act impiously there would be a great famine coming and it would be the people’s own fault. She added that if the people would change their ways, the rocks would become piles of wheat and the potatoes would sow themselves. Melanie later reported that since the lady was speaking French and she was not familiar with the French word for “potato,” the lady stopped what she was saying and added, “Ah, but you do not speak French!” and she continued her dialogue to them in the local patois. She then gave each child a secret that the other could not hear. She questioned them on whether they said their prayers. When they answered “no,” she said, “Ah, my children, it is very important to say them, at night and in the morning. When you don’t have time at least say an ‘Our Father’ and a ‘Hail Mary.’ When you can, say more.” She continued in a tearful voice: “Only a few old women go to mass in the summer. All the rest work every Sunday throughout the summer. And in winter, when they don’t know what to do with themselves, they go to mass only to poke fun at religion. During Lent they flock to the butcher shop like dogs.”
The lady went on to ask if either of them had ever seen spoiled grain before. Maximin quickly answered, “No.”

The lady reminded him that this was not so, “But my child, you must have seen it once near Coin, with your papa. The owner of a field said to your papa, ‘Come and see my spoiled grain.’ The two of you went. You took two or three ears of grain in your fingers. You rubbed them, and they crumbled to dust. Then you came back from Coin. When you were but a half hour away from Corps, your papa gave you a piece of bread and said, ‘Well, my son, eat some bread this year, anyhow. I don’t know who will be eating any next year, if the grain goes on spoiling like that.’”
Maximin immediately recalled this experience but was astounded as to how this lady could know it.

In French the lady said, “My children, you will make this known to all my people.” She turned from them and started to glide away. She stopped and paused, repeating one more time, “My children, you will make this known to all my people.”
The children returned with their cows at the end of the day. Melanie was not inclined to tell anyone of their adventure with the lady. Maximin however, told his employer all about it. When both children were questioned independently, they told the same story. The priest and the town officials were doubtful. To them, these were just two ignorant children making up a fantasy. But there was something in the tone of the story that affected the people of the town. This lady was not using religious metaphors, she was speaking in an accessible, straightforward manner. When the villagers went to visit the spot where the lady appeared, a spring had started flowing. It was thought at first that this was a coincidence, since it had rained the day before and it was common for small springs to appear for a day or so than dry up. But this spring behaved differently, freely flowing no matter what the weather. People who drank from the spring reported dramatic healing activity. The demeanor of the village totally changed. By 1846, France, once a nation dedicated to the Virgin Mary, was now actively a nation trying to live without religious conviction. In the search for material wealth, spiritual values had fallen by the wayside. Though La Salette had only five hundred inhabitants, they, too, had adapted the slack lifestyle of the bigger cities. The lady was right; religious devotion had become a joke. Recognizing the truth in the lady’s examples of their behavior, the village church started to fill up with earnest worshipers, and most of the village began honoring Sunday as the Sabbath. The spring itself, became a pilgrimage site with devotees of Mary coming from far distances. It is thought that Mary speaking her final words in French was a message to the French nation to reform themselves and their values. La Salette became an approved apparition in 1851.

The seers of La Salette went on to lead troubled lives. Maximin drifted in and out of employment and died by his fortieth birthday. Melanie became a nun. She reveled in the attention she received for being a visionary and felt neglected by the local clergy. In 1879 she published a book alleging what her secret had been. It was a gruesome description of Satan let loose upon the world in 1864 and predictions of mass destruction and the anti-Christ. Because she had fallen under the influence of apocalyptic books and various conspiracy theorists, her book was thought to be purely imaginative and was not sanctioned by the Church. She continually had a small band of followers who believed in these later visions. She died in 1904.

In 1879 a magnificent basilica, Our Lady of La Salette was consecrated on the site of the apparition.

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