The story of the apparition
+ On Saturday, September 19, 1846, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to two children high in the French Alps near the town of La Salette.
+ The visionaries—Maximin Giraud (age 11) and Melanie Mathieu (age 14)—were tending cows when they saw a woman surrounded by brilliant light. The woman was seated on a stone with her elbows on her knees and her face buried in her hands; she was weeping.
+ Frightened by the vision, the woman told the children not to be afraid and she shared with the children a call for conversion and an appeal for prayer.
+ The bishop of Grenoble approved the apparition five years later and, in 1852, he approved the construction of a shrine at the sight of the apparition. Today the Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette is a popular place of pilgrimage, particularly for those seeking reconciliation and forgiveness.
+ Bishop Philibert de Bruillard, who approved the apparitions of Our Lady of La Salette, established a new religious community to help promote devotion to the apparitions, welcome pilgrims at the shrine, and to act as missionaries with a special call to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The first Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette professed religious vows in 1858. Today the priests and brothers of this community serve in 25 countries.
“Come near, my children, don’t be afraid. I am here to tell you great news.”—Our Lady of La Salette to Melanie and Maximin
On September 19, we also celebrate the commemoration of Saint Januarius. A bishop and martyr who died in Naples, Italy, around 304, Saint Januarius is honored as the patron saint of those with diseases of the blood.
God our Father, by the precious blood of your Son, you reconciled the world to yourself and, as she stood beside his cross, made his Mother the Reconciler of sinners. By her kind intercession, may we obtain the forgiveness of our sins. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(Proper Collect for the Feast of Our Lady of La Salette, approved by the Holy See and provided by the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.