In September 1846 two children, Melanie (age 14) and Maximin (age 11), recruited as ranch hands near Corps, France, rested on a hill after lunch. They had only met each other very shortly before the extraordinary events that took place relating to visions of Our Lady. After sleeping about half an hour, Melanie awoke remembering the cows. Quickly Maximin and Melanie climbed the ravine and found the cows grazing peacefully. Melanie noticed a light growing in brilliance with a woman seated with her head buried in her hands, crying. Frightened, Maximin said, "Hold on to your stick! I am keeping mine, and if it comes close I'm giving it a good whack!" As the two shepherds neared the figure, the lady rose and said, "Come near, my children, do not be afraid. I am here to tell you great news." The lady wore a long white dress, slippers decorated with gold buckles and roses, and a headdress capped with roses. The light emanating was brilliant but soft. She continued to weep and spoke about the loss of religion in the area, specifically the desecration of the Sabbath and the profanity of her Son's name. After confiding different secrets to Maximin and Melanie, she began to speak with great hope of the good things to come if people amended their lives. She asked, "Do you say your prayers"? It is very important to do so at night and in the morning.” She concluded with, "Well, children, you will make this message known to all my people." When they returned home Maximin immediately told his family about the beautiful lady. When the parish priest heard of the event, he broke into tears. An hour later as he related the story in a sermon, his voice trembled. Many interrogated the children in hopes of trapping them into some contradiction. One May 1, 1852 the bishop of Grenoble published a decree announcing the construction of a shrine on the mountain of La Salette, as well as founding the religious order Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette. In the years after the visions, the people in the area who had learned about the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary did return to the faith and become more pious – they ceased to work on Sunday and kept the Sabbath day holy, and stopped taking the Lord’s name in vain. La Salette continues to hold interest for many, as the secrets given to the children contain warnings and predictions of future catastrophe if people in the world do not return to Christ. These secrets are meant to lead to an increase in faith, piety, and love for Christ, Our Lady, and the Church.
Accommodation: La Salette is a day trip from Grenoble or Lyon, where there are many hotels of all price ranges and quality available. Additionally, the Shrine at La Salette offers accommodation for pilgrims at their hotel, which offers parking, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and a variety of room options. The hotel is open mid-March to mid-November and approximately Dec 21 – Jan 6 of each year.
Transportation: Drive: La Salette is in southeast France about a 2.5 hour drive from Lyon (120 miles). Train: There are trains from Lyon and Grenoble to St. Georges de Commie, but from the train station it is a 1 hour taxi ride to the Shrine (34 miles). Bus: There are buses from Lyon and Grenoble to the Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette.