Last week, Catholic Joe Biden, the most pro-abortion president in American history, was sworn in as the country’s 46th president. It was the perfect teaching moment for Catholic leaders. The world was watching!
Yet when the President of the USCCB, Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, commented that Biden’s agenda “promotes policies that would advance moral evils,” Cardinal Blasé Cupich of Chicago issued “a scathing tweet,” sorely annoyed by the mention of abortion in the document. A Prince of the Church! And another Prince of the Church, Cardinal Wilton Gregory of Washington, D.C., had already affirmed that he would be giving Biden Communion. Yet another leader of the church, Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark, stated that a Catholic could vote for a democrat in good conscience. This was before the election. Such events made me think of the messages of Our Lady of La Salette. Which occurred 175 years ago. But they seem as relevant to our times now as they did so many decades ago.
It all began on the sunny afternoon of September 19, 1846. Melanie Calvat, age 14, and Maxim Giraud, age 11, were lazily tending their cattle on the grassy slopes of La Salette, high in the French Alps of southeastern France. It was a place of spectacular Alpine beauty, 5,400 ft. above sea level.
Suddenly, Melanie saw a shock of dramatic, vivid light. She shrieked out of fear, “Maxim, look over there at the light!”
“It’s as if the sun had fallen there,” Maxim said later.
He continued: “The light stirred, it moved and swirled.” And within that startling light a beautiful woman emerged. She was sitting on a ledge with her head in her hands. And, to their astonishment, she was crying! “She wept all the time she was talking to us,” Maxim related. They had no idea who she was. At first they thought she was a person from the region “We thought she was a woman from Valjouffrey,” said the children. Because that’s how she was dressed: According to their account, she wore a “long, yellow, housewife’s apron, a shawl, and a peasant bonnet. Roses outlined her shawl and crowned her forehead. She wore a large crucifix around her neck and Maxim noted that it was “from the crucifix that the light shone the brightest.”
“Come near, my children, do not be afraid,” she said. “I am here to tell you great news.”
She also spoke words of warning to the children: “If my people will not obey, I shall be compelled to loose my son’s arm. It is so heavy that I can no longer restrain it. How long I have suffered for you!” She spoke about the absolute necessity of prayer, Sunday Mass, observance of the Sabbath, of not taking the name of the Lord in vain. At this time in France, in the aftermath of the French Revolution of 1789, almost no one attended Mass on Sunday and prayer, catechesis and the sacraments were shamefully neglected. Almost no one knew their faith. Maxim and Melanie were no exception: Both children, neither of whom could read or write, rarely attended Sunday Mass. “Children, do you say your prayers properly?” she asked. “Hardly ever, Madam,” they sorrowfully answered.
Our Lady predicted a famine if people did not amend their ways. “A great famine is coming,” she said. And sure enough, this did indeed occur in the winter of 1846-1847. It struck with particular intensity in France and Ireland. “However,” she said, “if people repent, the stones and the rocks will become piles of wheat. My children, you must make this known to all the people.”
She spoke about the importance of keeping the Sabbath holy: “Only a few rather elderly women go to Mass in the summer. Everyone else works every Sunday all summer long. And in winter, when they don’t know what else to do, they go to Mass only to scoff at religion. During Lent, they go to the butcher shop like dogs.” She spoke about two things that made her Son’s arm particularly heavy: “I have given you six days to work. The seventh I have reserved for myself yet no one will give it to me.” And she spoke about swearing: “The cart drivers cannot swear without bringing in my Son’s name.”
The bishop of the diocese of Grenoble, Bishop Philibert de Bruillard, began a prompt investigation of the apparition and five years later, concluded that it was authentic. “It carries with it all the characteristics of truth,” he said. He was also mightily impressed with the resurgence of faith in his diocese. People began attending Sunday Mass in large numbers and receiving the sacraments. In 1852 the cornerstone for the new church was laid. In the same year a community of diocesan missionaries of Our Lady of Sa Salette was founded. In 1871 the first La Salette Sisters congregation was formed and in 1879 the statue of Our Lady of La Salette was pontifically crowned. Soon the church was elevated to the level of a basilica. St. John Vianney, whose parish of Ars was also in the diocese of Grenoble, became an ardent supporter of La Salette.
But there is more to the story of La Salette: The children were given secrets which were to be revealed at a later date. The secrets which were written down by Melanie were approved by the bishop of Lecce, France, in 1879. The secrets would predict a future chastisement and a worldwide apostasy, particularly on the part of the clergy. Here are some of the secrets that are relevant to this discussion:
-Among the ministers of God and the Brides of Jesus Christ, there will be those who will indulge in disorder and that is what will be terrible.
-The world will surrender to its impious passions.
-The priests, ministers of my Son, by their wicked lives, by their irreverence and their impiety in the celebration of the holy mysteries, by their love of money, their love of honors and pleasures, have become cesspools of impurity. Woe to the priests and to those dedicated to God who by their unfaithfulness and their wicked lives are crucifying my Son again!
-God will strike in an unprecedented way.
-All the civil governments will have one and the same plan, which will be to abolish and do away with every religious principle to make way for materialism, atheism, spiritualism, and vice of all kinds.
-May those in charge of religious communities be on their guard against the people they must receive, for the devil will resort to all his evil tricks to introduce sinners into religious orders, for disorder and the love of carnal pleasures will be spread all over the earth.
-Many convents are no longer houses of God, but the grazing-grounds of Asmodeus and his like.
-Rome will lose the faith and become the seat of the Antichrist.
St. Paul spoke of such things: “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come among you and they will not spare the flock (Acts 20:29). “And from your own group men will come forward perverting the truth.” (Acts 20:30).
Are we in the time of the Anti-Christ? No one knows for sure. But as for the savage wolves perverting doctrine? Well—Is this not taking place before our very eyes?
Mary Hansen writes at MadonnasOfMexico.com. She is a former teacher and writes for the National Catholic Register, The Catholic Register and OnePeterFive. She has a B.A. from Queen’s University (Kingston, Ontario) and an M.Ed. and a Master of Divinity from St. Michael’s (Toronto). She writes from Ontario, Canada.