On September 19, 1846, the Mother of God appeared high in the Alps of France, near the village of LaSalette. The witnesses of the event were Maximin Giraud and Melanie Mathieu, eleven and fourteen years of age respectively. The children first noticed the “Beautiful Lady” as she was seated on a stone, weeping. An intense light surrounded her. She arose and came toward the children, saying: “Come near, my children, do not be afraid. I am here to tell you great news.” They ran to meet her. Then, she went on:
“If my people will not submit, I shall be forced to let go the hand of my Son. It is so strong, so heavy, that I can no longer withhold it. 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 no heed of it. However much you pray, however much you do, you will never recompense the pains I have taken for you.
“Six days have I given you to labor, the seventh I have kept for myself; but it is not given to me. This is what makes the hand 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 make the hand of my Son so heavy. If the harvest is spoiled, it is all on your account. I gave you warning last year in the potatoes, but you did not heed it. On the contrary, when you found the potatoes spoiled, 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.
“If you have wheat, it is useless to sow it; all that you sow, the insects will eat. 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; and others will do penance by the famine. The walnuts will become worm-eaten, the grapes will rot. If people are converted, the stones and the rocks will be changed into heaps of wheat and the potatoes will be self-sown.
“Do you say your prayers well, my children?” she asked. They had to reply: “Oh, no, Madame, not very well.” “Now, my children,” she went on, “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. But when you have time, say more.
“There are none who go to Mass but a few aged women ; the rest work on Sunday all summer, and in the winter, when they do not know what to do, they go to Mass just to mock at religion. During Lent, they go to the market like dogs.
“Have you ever seen wheat that is spoiled, my children?” Maximin replied: “No, Madame, I have never seen any.” “But, my child,” she continued, “you must surely have seen some once, with your father, near Coin. The master of the field told your father to go and see his ruined wheat. You were both together. You took two or three of the ears into your hands and rubbed them and they just fell into dust ; and then you returned home. When you were still half an 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’.” Maximin replied: “Oh, yes, Madame, I remember now, just this moment; I did not recall.”
Having shown through this incident her maternal solicitude for us even in the details of our daily life, Our Blessed Mother concluded her visit with these words: “Now, my children, you will make this known to all my people.” As she turned and walked a short distance, she repeated these final words. Then she stopped, ascended about a yard in the air and disappeared.
That evening, when the children returned home, they told what had happened. The first visitors to the scene remarked that a spring had arisen where Our Weeping Mother’s feet had rested.