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The Authentic Message of La Salette

Daniel J. Castellano

(2007)

1. The Public Message
2. Maximin’s Secret
3. Melanie’s Secret
4. False Version of Melanie’s Secret
Conclusion

The apparition of the Virgin Mary witnessed by Maximin Giraud and Melanie Calvat at La Salette on 19 September 1846 has been one of the more controversial ecclesiastically approved private revelations, in part because there is so much misinformation regarding the content of the message imparted to the children. Some of this misinformation was propagated by Melanie herself in her later years, most infamously in an 1879 tract that was placed on the Index of Prohibited Books, yet still enjoys popularity among traditionalist publishers misled by the imprimatur of the bishop of Lecce. Those who have only casual knowledge of the story of La Salette may easily mistake this extravagantly embellished apocalyptic narrative as the true content of the revelation, leading some to believe in a false apocalypse, while others understandably reject La Salette altogether as unworthy of belief.

To correct these common misunderstandings of the message of La Salette, it is essential to return to the original accounts, in their various versions, and distinguish the primitive version from later embellishments. This has become possible for the first time in over a century, thanks to the rediscovery of the original secrets submitted by the children directly to Pope Pius IX in 1851. We will compare these authentic secrets to other versions that appeared over the years, and explain the relationship of these to the originals, thereby constructing a documentary history of the revelations of La Salette.

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1. The Public Message

The first part of the seers’ account finds nearly universal agreement in all sources, as it does not pertain to the “secret” messages imparted to each child. These words of the apparition of the beautiful, weeping lady were recorded by ecclesiastical officials in 1847, and they appear in substantially the same form in Melanie’s 1879 account, though embedded in a more detailed narrative. The “public message” of the Lady of La Salette was as follows:

Come near, my children, be not afraid; I am here to tell you great news. If my people will not submit, I shall be forced to let fall the arm of my Son. It is so strong, so heavy, that I can no longer withhold it. For how long a time do I suffer for you! If I would not have my Son abandon you, I am compelled to pray to him without ceasing; and as to you, you take not heed of it. However much you pray, however much you do, you will never recompense the pains I have taken for you.

“Six days I have given you to labor, the seventh I had kept for myself; and they will not give it to me.” It is this which makes the arm of my Son so heavy. Those who drive the carts cannot swear without introducing the name of my Son. These are the two things which makes the arm of my Son so heavy.

If the harvest is spoilt, it is all on your account. I gave you warning last year with the potatoes (pommes de terre) but you did not heed it. On the contrary, when you found the potatoes spoilt, you swore, you took the name of my Son in vain. They will continue to decay, so that by Christmas there will be none left.


The French term pommes de terre puzzled Melanie, since in patois, the word for potatoes was truffas whereas pommes meant “apple” exclusively.

Ah, my children, do you not understand? Well, wait, I shall say it otherwise.

The Lady repeated her previous statement in patois, and continued in the same dialect:

If you have wheat, it is no good to sow it; all you sow the insects will eat, and what comes up will fall into dust when you thresh it. There will come a great famine. Before the famine comes, the children under seven years of age will be seized with trembling and will die in the hands of those who hold them; the others will do penance by the famine. The walnuts will become bad, and the grapes will rot.

Here the Beautiful Lady addressed the children separately, confiding to each a secret. She spoke first to Maximin, and though the little shepherd did not perceive that her tone of voice had changed, Melanie at his side could not hear a word, though she still saw the Beautiful Lady’s lips moving.

Then came Melanie’s turn to receive her secret under similar conditions. Both secrets were given in French.

Again speaking in patois, the Lady continued:

If they are converted, the stones and rocks will change into mounds of wheat, and the potatoes will be self-sown in the land.

Do you say your prayers well, my children?

Both answered, “Not very well, Madam.”

Ah, my children, you must be sure to say them well morning and evening. When you cannot do better, say at least an Our Father and a Hail Mary. When you have time, say more.

There are none who go to Mass except a few aged women. The rest work on Sunday all summer; then in the winter, when they know not what to do, they go to Mass only to mock at religion. During Lent, they go to the meat-market like dogs. Have you never seen wheat that is spoilt, my children?

“No, Madam,” they replied.

But you, my child, you must surely have seen some once when you were at the farm of Coin with your father. The owner of the field told your father to go and see his ruined wheat. You went together. You took two or three ears of wheat into your hands and rubbed them, and they fell to dust. Then you continued home. When you were still half and hour’s distance from Corps, your father gave you a piece of bread and said to you: “Here, my child, eat some bread this year at least; I don’t know who will eat any next year, if the wheat goes on like that.”

Confronted with such precise details, Maximin eagerly replied, “Oh yes, Madam, I remember now; just at this moment I did not remember.”

Then the Lady, again speaking French as the beginning of her discourse and when giving the secrets, said to them:

Well, my children, you will make this known to all my people.

[http://www.miraclerosarymission.org/lasalette.htm. See also: Abp. William B. Ullathorne, The Holy Mountain of La Salette: A Pilgrimage of the Year 1854, pp. 38-46.]

The Lady of La Salette is obviously the Blessed Virgin Mary, as indicated by reference to her Son, whose justice is delayed only by her intercession, to give opportunity for repentance among the irreligious French.

The Blessed Virgin speaks a message of penance in agricultural language that peasant children can understand, that of famine and abundant harvest. If the people do not repent of their ways, there will be famine, but if they convert, there will be miraculous abundance. The great potato famine that plagued Europe the previous year was a warning and a call to penance that was ignored, so now the Blessed Virgin has appeared in person.

The Blessed Virgin’s use of French provides an occasion for the children to give evidence of the authenticity of the apparition, due to their limited understanding of that language. The secret messages were composed entirely in French.

The threatened famine never occurred, as the apparition of La Salette became the occasion of a great movement in popular Catholic devotion, assisted by the endorsement of the Curé d’Ars and Pope Pius IX. This Catholic revival would be eclipsed by the even greater pilgrimages to Lourdes after the apparitions of Our Lady there in 1858.

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2. Maximin’s Secret

The children of La Salette adamantly refused to disclose the “secret” messages, until finally, in 1851, they were persuaded to write the secrets and send them to the Pope for his eyes only. Maximin wrote his secret in July, but several weeks later, at the behest of his friend M. Dausse, he wrote a prophetic fantasy which Dausse took to be authentic. Maximin often took this approach to those who would pester him with requests for prophecies, and he insisted that the “secret” given to Dausse was such a fiction. This unfortunate practice of the boy had the dual effect of propagating a false apocalypse that to this day is ascribed to Maximin, as well as perhaps damaging the seer’s credibility regarding his authentic revelation. Against this latter possibility, we should count the consistent testimony of M. Dausse and all others who knew the Maximin throughout his life, and attested to his unassuming simplicity and guilelessness.

This youthful innocence exudes throughout the simple narrative of the authentic “secret” to Maximin, recovered from the Vatican archives in 1999:

Le 19 septembre 1846, nous avons vu une belle Dame. Nous n’avons jamais dit que cette dame fut la Sainte Vierge mais nous avons toujours dit que c’était une belle Dame.

Je ne sais pas si c’est la Sainte Vierge ou une autre personne. Moi, je crois aujourd’hui que c’est la sainte Vierge.

Voila ce que cette Dame m’a dit:

“Si mon peuple continue, ce que je vais vous dire arrivera plus tôt , s’il change un peu, ce sera un peu plus tard.

La France a corrompu l’univers, un jour elle sera punie. La foi s’éteindra dans la France: trois parties de la France ne pratiqueront plus de religion, ou presque plus, l’autre la pratiquera sans bien la pratiquer. Puis, après [cela], les nations se convertiront, la foi se rallumera partout.

Une grande contrée dans le nord de l’Europe, aujourd’hui protestante, se convertira: par l’appui de cette contrée toutes les autres contrées du monde se convertiront.

Avant que tout cela arrive, de grands troubles arriveront, dans l’Eglise, et partout. Puis, après [cela], notre Saint-Père le pape sera persecuté. Son successeur sera un pontife que personne [n’] attend.

Puis après [cela], une grande paix arrivera, mais elle ne durera pas longtemps. Un monstre viendra la troubler.

Tout ce que je vous dis là arrivera dans l’autre siècle, [au] plus tard aux deux millle ans.”

Maximin Giraud

(Elle [m’] a dit de le dire quelque temps avant).

Mon très Saint Père, votre sainte bénédiction à une de vos brebis,

Grenoble, le 3 juillet 1851.
On September 19, 1846, we saw a beautiful Lady. We never said that this lady was the Blessed Virgin but we always said that it was a beautiful Lady.

I do not know if it is the Blessed Virgin or another person. As for me, I believe today that it is the Blessed Virgin.

Here is what this Lady said to me:

“If my people continue, what I will say to you will arrive earlier, if it changes a little, it will be a little later.

France has corrupted the universe, one day it will be punished. The faith will die out in France: three quarters of France will not practice religion anymore, or almost no more, the other part will practice it without really practicing it. Then, after [that], nations will convert, the faith will be rekindled everywhere.

A great country in the north of Europe, now Protestant, will be converted; by the support of this country all the other nations of the world will be converted.

Before all that arrives, great disorders will arrive, in the Church, and everywhere. Then, after [that], our Holy Father the Pope will be persecuted. His successor will be a pontiff that nobody expects.

Then, after [that], a great peace will come, but it will not last a long time. A monster will come to disturb it.

All that I tell you here will arrive in the other century, at the latest in the year two thousand.”

Maximin Giraud

(She told me to say it some time before.)

My Most Holy Father, your holy blessing to one of your sheep.

Grenoble, July 3, 1851.
[René Laurentin, Michel Corteville, Découverte du secret de la Salette, 2002. Includes scans of envelope and letter.]

The entire secret is written in the simple diction of a peasant boy. The interpretation of the secret is far from simple, however. Assuming that all that was prophesied should have occurred by the year 2000, we should be able to match the events in the secret with actual history.

That France has corrupted the world (l’univers in Maximin’s imprecise French) is obvious in the sense that France is the philosophical birthplace of liberalism and secularism, as well as one of the most aggressive promoters of those ideologies from the Napoleonic era onward. It has also been at the cutting edge of artistic and cultural decadence, especially at the fin de siècle. France’s punishment may be seen either in its defeat in the Franco-Prussian War or in its surrender to the Nazis. The extinction of real faith in three quarters of the French has certainly happened by now, though it is practically impossible to fix the date when that occurred.

The apostasy of France is followed by a rekindling of faith throughout the world, led by a “great country, now Protestant.” The most obvious candidate would be Great Britain, which ironically became the most religiously conservative of the European powers in the early twentieth century, not only in comparison with the anti-clericalism and secularism of the Continent, but by virtue of an English and Irish Catholic revival which intellectually informed and strengthened the Church throughout the world. Practically all the great English-language contributions to the defense of the faith come from this period.

The chronology of the prophecy becomes confusing, as it is unclear whether the “great disorders” in the Church precede the apostasy of France, or exactly when the Pope is to be persecuted. The most likely Pope intended would have been Pius IX, who became a prisoner in the Vatican. His successor, Pope Leo XIII, became a candidate for the papacy only by virtue of filling the post of Cardinal de Angelis, who died just months before the death of Pope Pius.

After all the foregoing, a great peace will last briefly, until a monster disturbs it. The natural identification of the monster would be Hitler, who ended Europe’s brief peace and would send chastisement upon France.

The above is the entire content of the secret revealed to Maximin. In 1871, a more elaborate apocalypse was published in his name, but Maximin vehemently disavowed the authenticity of this in 1872, as well as other prophecies attributed to him. To this day, many such embellishments are widely circulated and inaccurately attributed to Maximin. The most common false secret contains ten parts (sometimes the last three are omitted), and is most misleading because it also contains elements of the authentic secret, which may have been leaked by Maximin or a church official.

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3. Melanie’s Secret

The secret to Melanie was also relatively short and simple in its original form, though containing a bit more detail in some parts than Maximin’s narrative. It was also recovered from the Vatican archives in 1999, and reads as follows:

J.M.J.

secret que m’a donné la Sainte Vierge sur la Montagne de la Salette le 19 septembre 1846

Secr[e]t

Mélanie, je vais vous dire quelque chose que vous ne direz à personne:

Le temps de la colère de Dieu est arrivé!

Si, lorsque vous aurez dit aux peuples ce que je vous ai dit tout à l’heure, et ce que je vous dirai de dire encore, si, après cela, ils ne se convertissent pas, (si on ne fait pas pénitence, et si on ne cesse de travailler le dimanche, et si on continue de blasphémer le Saint Nom de Dieu), en un mot, si la face de la terre ne change pas, Dieu va se venger contre le peuple ingrat et esclave du démon.

Mon Fils va faire éclater sa puissance! Paris, cette ville souillée de toutes sortes de crimes, périra infailliblement. Marseille sera détruite en peu de temps. Lorsque ces choses arriveront, le désordre sera complet sur la terre. Le monde s’abandonnera à ses passions impies.

Le pape sera persecuté de toutes parts: on lui tirera dessus, on voudra le mettre à mort, mais on ne lui pourra rien, le Vicaire de Dieu triomphera encore cette fois[-là].

Les prêtres et les religieuses, et les vrais serviteurs de mon Fils seront persécutés, et plusieurs mourront pour la foi de Jésus-Christ.

Une famine règnera en même temps.

Après que toutes ces choses seront arrivées, beaucoup de personnes reconnaîtront la main de Dieu sur elles, se convertiront, et feront pénitence de leur péchés.

Un grand roi montera sur le trône, et règnera pendant quelques années. La religion refleurira et s’étendra par toute la terre et la fertilité sera grande, le monde content de ne manquer de rien recommencera ses désordres, abandonnera Dieu, et se livrera à ses passions criminelles.

[Parmi] les ministres de Dieu, et les Epouses de Jésus-Christ, il y en a qui se livreront au désordre, et c’est ce qu’il y aura de [plus] terrible.

Enfin, un enfer règnera sur la terre. Ce sera alors que l’Antéchrist naîtra d'une religieuse: mais malheur à elle! Beaucoup de personnes croiront à lui, parce qu’il se dira venu du ciel, malheur à ceux qui le croiront!

Le temps n’est pas éloigné, il ne se passera pas deux fois 50 ans.

Mon enfant, vous ne direz pas ce que je viens de vous dire. (Vous ne le direz à personne, vous ne direz pas si vous devez le dire un jour, vous ne direz pas ce que cela regarde), enfin vous ne direz plus rien jusqu’à ce que je vous dise de le dire!

Je prie Notre Saint Père le Pape de me donner sa sainte bénédiction.

Mélanie Mathieu, bergère de La Salette

Grenoble 6 juillet 1851

J.M.J.+
J.M.J.

secret which the Blessed Virgin gave me on the Mountain of La Salette on September 19, 1846

Secr[e]t.

Mélanie, I will say something to you which you will not say to anybody:

The time of God’s wrath has arrived!

If, when you say to the people what I have said to you so far, and what I will still ask you to say, if, after that, they do not convert, (if they do not do penance, and they do not cease working on Sunday, and if they continue to blaspheme the Holy Name of God), in a word, if the face of the earth does not change, God will be avenged against the people ungrateful and slave of the demon.

My Son will make his power manifest! Paris, this city soiled by all kinds of crimes, will perish infallibly. Marseilles will be destroyed in a little time. When these things arrive, the disorder will be complete on the earth, the world will be given up to its impious passions.

The pope will be persecuted from all sides, they will shoot at him, they will want to put him to death, but no one will be able to do it, the Vicar of God will triumph again this time.

The priests and the Sisters, and the true servants of my Son will be persecuted, and several will die for the faith of Jesus Christ.

A famine will reign at the same time.

After all these will have arrived, many will recognize the hand of God on them, they will convert, and do penance for their sins.

A great king will go up on the throne, and will reign a few years. Religion will re-flourish and spread all over the world, and there will be a great abundance, the world, glad not to be lacking nothing, will fall again in its disorders, will give up God, and will be prone to its criminal passions.

[Among] God's ministers, and the Spouses of Jesus-Christ, there will be some who will go astray, and that will be the most terrible.

Lastly, hell will reign on earth. It will be then that the Antichrist will be born of a Sister, but woe to her! Many will believe in him, because he will claim to have come from heaven, woe to those who will believe in him!

That time is not far away, twice 50 years will not go by.

My child, you will not say what I have just said to you. (You will not say it to anybody, you will not say if you must say it one day, you will not say what that it concerns), finally you will say nothing anymore until I tell you to say it!

I pray to Our Holy Father the Pope to give me his holy blessing.

Mélanie Mathieu, Shepherdess of La Salette, Grenoble, July 6, 1851.

J.M.J.+
[René Laurentin, Michel Corteville, Découverte du secret de la Salette, 2002. Includes scans of envelope and letter (front and reverse).]

Melanie’s secret has more detail than Maximin’s, complementing his message as well as the public message given to both children. As with Maximin’s secret, all that is prophesied is supposed to occur within 100 years, meaning we should now be able to match the prophecy with past history.

The secret message contains the detailed consequences of failure to adhere to the public message of penance and piety. Unlike Maximin’s secret, this is a conditional prophecy, so we need not expect all that is related to occur if the people repent, as did the Ninevites in the book of Jonah.

The judgments against Paris and Marseilles may be found in some form in actual history. France was defeated in the Franco-Prussian War, perhaps in fitting retribution for Napoleon III’s abandonment of Pope Pius IX, allowing Rome to fall to Victor Immanuel. The 1870 Siege of Paris was followed by widespread destruction in the city, during which much of its historical heritage was lost, culminating in the short-lived revolutionary commune of 1871.

The text we have above is actually the second version of Melanie’s secret. She corrected the first version, written a few days earlier, in order to clarify that the judgments against Paris and Marseilles were not simultaneous, but completely distinct events. This scrupulous distinction proves to have been with merit, as Marseilles did not receive its chastisement until World War II, when the occupying Germans systematically destroyed the old industrial sector and port of Marseilles in 1944.

Pope Pius IX, though beset from all sides with revolution, war, intrigue, and assassinations, survived until his natural death as a sovereign, if only of the Vatican, and having definitively affirmed the Pope’s supreme authority and infallibility on dogmatic matters at the Vatican Council of 1870.

Waves of anticlerical persecution persisted through the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries throughout the continent. Melanie’s secret says nothing about the extent of the persecution and the apostasy of the religious.

The only famine that occurred in Europe after the Irish Potato Famine (ended 1849) was that in the Netherlands and other parts of Nazi-occupied Europe in 1944.

The timing of the famine and the destruction of Marseilles would make World War II the end of Melanie’s prophesied age of persecution, in agreement with our identification of Maximin’s “monster” as Hitler. Thus the remainder of Melanie’s secret deals with the post-World War II era, which is not discussed by Maximin.

The people repent of their evils after the time of wrath has ended, as perhaps evidenced by the revival of moral and religious conservatism in the 1950s. The “great king” who reigns a few years is likely Charles de Gaulle, a practicing Catholic reviled by the leftist political establishment in France. A period of moral revival and material prosperity continues through the 1950s and early 1960s, though not of course to the exclusion of the perennial moral and material problems that plague mankind.

Yet it is this selfsame material prosperity that tempts mankind to abandon religion and morality, returning to its worst inclinations. We can hardly fail to see that this is exactly what happened in the postwar era, especially after the upheavals of 1968 that ended de Gaulle’s presidency and ushered in an era of moral relativism and irreligion unprecedented in Christian Europe and America.

The last element of the prophecy is a prediction that the Antichrist will be born of a nun and be worshipped as a heavenly figure. “That time... not far away” could refer to the birth of the Antichrist or his public manifestation. Since far more than a hundred years have passed, we must conclude either that the birth of the Antichrist was intended, in which case he lives today, or, more soberly, that this final calamity has been deferred to a time known only to the Father, consistent with Christian revelation on such matters.

One hundred years after the La Salette apparition brings us to 1946. By that time, the great political and religious upheavals of the modern era had all been realized, culminating in World War II. The remainder of Melanie’s secret, strictly speaking, would fall outside the 100-year limit, though we may keep in mind the general principle that God is free to defer His judgments in reward for penitence, as mentioned in Maximin’s secret.

There are obviously many other viable interpretations of these secrets, and some may be unimpressed with their correspondence to the facts of history. As with all private revelations, we can at best have a human faith in the veracity of these prophecies, and Catholics are free to believe or disbelieve according to their inclinations and standards of plausibility. The apparition of La Salette has been upheld by the Church as “worthy of belief,” so we should be generous in our assessment of its message, rather than spurn it on minor grounds.

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4. False Version of Melanie’s Secret

Unfortunately, Melanie was not content to let her prophetic legacy remain in the Vatican archives. Although her personal conduct was generally exemplary, she later found it difficult to comply with cloistered life, and was heavily influenced by lurid apocalyptic writings, as well as less than scrupulous advisors who wished to coax the secret out of her.

Finally, in 1879, she released a greatly expanded version of the secret, including new interpretations of the true secret as well as completely new revelations unmentioned in the 1851 version. All these new embellishments were indiscriminately ascribed to Our Lady of La Salette, resulting in an apocalyptic tract many times longer than the authentic secret submitted to the Pope in 1851. This tract contained prophecies that were either in tension with the Catholic faith, as in its assertion that Rome would apostatize, or, more commonly, proven to be historically false in the course of time.

This false apocalypse circulated under the title of Apparition of the Blessed Virgin on the Mountain of La Salette, bearing the imprimatur of Bishop Zola of Lecce. The fact that a French tract had to seek the imprimatur of an Italian bishop should arouse our suspicions, and indeed, Melanie had been instructed by her bishop not to publish any prophecies. After joining a convent in 1851, Melanie invented fantastic stories of her miraculous childhood, playing with the child Jesus and leading animals in a religious procession. Her behavior became progressively bizarre, as she had hysterical fits and threatened to bite her superior. She was never allowed to become a sister, and instead was sent off to England in 1855. There she claimed to hear voices and witness miraculous events. Away from her bishop, she began to make apocalyptic prophecies.

After years of moving from convent to convent, and never progressing beyond the novitiate, Melanie stayed in Castellamare from 1867 onward. When new religious orders were being formed at La Salette in 1878, Melanie claimed she was authorized to provide their rules and habits. This request was denied by the bishop and by the Pope himself in an interview with Melanie.

It is in reaction to this thorough rejection by the Church hierarchy that Melanie wrote her new tract, full of bitter invective against a supposedly faithless clergy. Not contrary to faith and morals in the narrow sense, it received an imprimatur, but in 1880 the Holy Office forbade her to write further tracts. Few copies of the 1879 tract were circulated, and it was published again more widely in 1904. A third printing in 1922, with a new imprimatur, finally resulted in Rome’s placing of the tract on the Index of Prohibited Books in 1923. The decree of the Holy Office reads:

DAMNATUR OPUSCULUM: “L’APPARITION DE LA TRÉS SAINTE VIERGE DE LA SALETTE”

DECRETUM

Feria IV, die 9 maii 1923

In generali consessu Supremae Sacrae Congregationis S. Officii Emi ac Rmi Domini Cardinales fidei et moribus tutandis praepositi proscripserunt atque damnaverunt opusculum: L’apparition de la trés Sainte Vierge sur la montague de la Salette le samedi 19 septembre 1846.—Simple réimpression du texte intégral publié par Mélanie, etc. Societé Saint-Augustin, Paris-Rome-Bruges, 1922;

[Acta Apostolicae Sedis (1923) {PDF}, pp. 287-288. See also related decrees of the Holy Office.]

Note that the condemned 1922 version (damnatur opusculum, “condemned minor work”) is nothing more than a simple reprinting of Melanie’s original text of 1879, so Melanie’s original text is what is being condemned. This judgment naturally supersedes the imprimatur of any local bishop, and as Cardinal Ratzinger has stated, the Index retains its moral force for Catholics, notwithstanding the fact that the list is no longer updated.

To this day, this condemned tract is widely reprinted (often with thirty-three numbered paragraphs), ironically among the most devout and traditional Catholics. Relying on the authority of the imprimatur and on the status of La Salette as an approved apparition, many well-meaning Catholics have come to believe that this anticlerical diatribe is actually endorsed by the Church. Schismatically-oriented traditionalists find in it vindication of their belief that Rome has in fact lost the faith, as have most of the world’s bishops. Others take seriously the fantastic apocalyptic details concocted by Melanie’s feverish imagination. Sober-minded people may recoil from the booklet’s wild claims, and, mistaking this for the authentic message of La Salette, may come to disbelieve in La Salette, and in Marian apparitions more generally.

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Conclusion

It is my hope that a restoration of the original secrets of La Salette will help restore the proper dignity of this oft-maligned, much-misinterpreted Marian apparition. While it is true that Melanie’s subsequent fantasies may serve to diminish the credibility of even the 1851 version of her story, we may note the latter’s consistency with the secret given to Maximin, who lived a sober and exemplary life, neither boasting of his experience, nor desirous of new ecstasies. He defended the veracity of the apparition even on his deathbed. He did not worry about the particulars of the prophecy’s fulfillment, as he never claimed to have much understanding of them. In his own words, “We were but a channel, like parrots that repeat what they have heard. We were stupid before the apparition, we were stupid after the apparition and we shall be stupid all our lives.” This rustic humility is as great a guarantee of truth as we can expect on a matter of merely human faith.

See also: Historiography of Guadalupe | Dark Night of the Soul

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