Our Lady of La Salette & St. Januarius, Bishop of Benevento, Italy
September 19, 2022
Photos La Salette Links Publications Catholic Links
by Marcel Schlewer and Maurice Sublet, MS
Near a little fountain the two children lay down on the grass and fell asleep. How long their slumber lasted is not certain – half an hour perhaps, or three quarters of an hour or possibly more. In any case Melanie suddenly awoke and called Maximin: “Memin, Memin, let us go and find our cows, I cannot see them anywhere.”
Of course, being at the bottom of the little ravine, they could not see the meadow where they had left them. Quickly they climbed the slope opposite Mount Gargas (hence they were standing on what is now the esplanade in front of the basilica). Turning around they could view the entire alpine pasture land and were greatly relieved to see that their cows had remained where they had been left, peaceably chewing the cud. Reassured, Melanie began to redescend towards the dried-up fountain to recover her little sack of provisions before once again watering the cows. Half-way down the grassy slope she paused immobilized, frozen with fear. “Memin,” she called out, “look at that great light over there.” “Where is it?” the boy replied, as he ran and stood at her side. (At the place of the Apparition two statues represent the children on the slope of the ravine, in the first stage of the Event.)
At the very spot where they had slept was a globe of fire, as if, in the children’s words, “the sun had fallen there.” The light swirled, then grew in size and, opening, disclosed within it a woman, seated, her head in her hands, her elbows on her knees, in the attitude of one oppressed with grief.
Melanie, in her fright, raised her hands and dropped her shepherd’s staff. Maximin thought only of defending himself. “Keep your stick,” he said to her, “I will keep mine and will give it a good whack if it does anything to us…” Even after she conversed with them, the children could not identify their heavenly Visitor. They would simply call her ” the Beautiful Lady.”
The Beautiful Lady
The beautiful Lady now stood up while the children remained transfixed where they were. She said to them in French: ” Come near, my children, be not afraid. I am here to tell you great news.”
Fully reassured by these words the children hurried to meet her. Her voice, they said, was like music. They approached so near her that, as they later expressed it, another person could not have passed between them and her. The Lady also took a few steps towards them.
They looked at her and noticed that she did not cease weeping all the time she spoke to them. As Maximin put it, “She was like a mama whom her own children had beaten and who had escaped to the mountain to weep.” The beautiful Lady was tall and seemed to be made of light. She was dressed like women of the region with a long dress, an apron nearly as long as the dress, a shawl that crossed over her breast and was knotted in the back, and a cap or bonnet similar to the ones worn by peasant women. Roses crowned her head while another wreath of roses adorned the edges of her white shawl and a third garland surrounded her shoes. Over her brow shone a light in the form of a diadem. On her shoulders shone a heavy chain and from a smaller golden chain hung a resplendent crucifix with a hammer and pincers placed on each side of the Cross, a little beyond the nailed hands.
The unknown Lady now spoke to the children. “We were drinking her words,” they would say later, adding, “she wept all the time she spoke to us.”
“Come near, my children, be not afraid; I am here to tell you great news.
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 hold it.
How long have I suffered for you! If my Son is not to abandon you, I am obliged to entreat him without ceasing. But you take no heed of that. No matter how well you pray in the future, no matter how well you act, you will never be able to make up what I have endured on your behalf.
I have given you six days to work. The seventh I have reserved for myself yet no one will give it to me. This is what causes the weight of my Son’s arm to be so heavy.
The cart drivers cannot swear without bringing in my Son’s name. These are the two things that make my Son’s arm so heavy.
If the harvest is spoiled, it is your own fault. I warned you last year by means of the potatoes. You paid no heed. Quite the contrary, when you discovered that the potatoes had rotted, you swore, you abused my Son’s name. They will continue to be spoiled, and by Christmas time this year there will be none left.”
The French word potatoes (pommes de terre) puzzled Melanie. In the local dialect the word is “la ruff.” The word “pommes” reminded he only of apples. She turned to Maximin for help. But the Lady said “Ah! You do not understand French, my children? Well then, listen. I shall say it differently…Si la recolta la gasta…”
Changing into the local dialect, she repeated these last sentences and continued speaking to Maximin and Melanie: “If you have wheat, it will do no good to sow it, for what you sow the vermin will eat, and whatever part of it springs up will crumble into dust when you thresh it.
A great famine is coming. But before that happens, children under seven years of age will be seized with trembling and die in the arms of those holding them. The others will pay for their sins by hunger. The grapes will rot and the walnuts will become worm-eaten.”
Suddenly Melanie no longer heard the Lady’s voice although her lips were still moving. She noticed that Maximin was listening very attentively. Then she, in turn was able to hear words that Maximin could not hear. Maximin’s native restlessness won out over his effort to behave. He toyed with his hat, taking it off, putting it on again, and with the tip of his walking stick he poked at pebbles. “Not a single stone touched the Beautiful Lady’s feet,” protested Maximin a few days later. She said something to me and told me, “You will not repeat this and this. After that I could not hear her, and I began diverting myself.”
Finally they both heard the Lady’s voice again: “If my people are converted, the very stones will become mounds of wheat and the potatoes will grow self-sown.
Do you say your prayers well, my children?”
The children answered with one voice: “Not too well, Madame, hardly at all!”
The Lady said: “Ah, my children, it is very important to do so, at night and in the morning. When you don’t have time, at least say an Our Father and a Hail Mary, and whenever you can, say more.
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.
Have you ever seen spoiled wheat, my children?”
“No, Madame,” declared Maximin, quick to speak for Melanie as well as for himself. Turning toward Maximin, the Lady replied:
“But you, my child, must have seen some once near Coin with your papa. The owner of the field said to your papa, ‘Come and see my spoiled wheat.’ The two of you went. You took two or three ears of wheat in your hands. You rubbed them together and they crumbled into dust. Then you came back from Coin. When you were only a half-hour away from Corps, your papa gave you a bit of bread and said: ‘Here, my son, eat some bread this year anyhow. I don’t know who will be eating any next year if the wheat continues to spoil like this.'”
“Oh, yes, Madame, now I remember! Until now I didn’t,” admitted Maximin.
The Beautiful Lady concluded, no longer in dialect but in French:
“Well, my children, you will make this known to all my people.”
These were her last words.
Meanwhile the two witnesses were still standing motionless at the spot where the conversation had taken place, when suddenly they realized that the heavenly Visitor was already some steps away from them. In their eagerness to join her again, they ran across the brook and were with her in a moment. Thus, in the company of Maximin and Melanie, the Lady moved along, gliding over the tips of the grass without touching it, until she reached the top of the hillock where the children, after their sleep, had gone to look after their cows. Melanie preceded her by a few steps, and Maximin was at her right.
On reaching the summit the Lady paused for a few seconds, then slowly rose up to a height of a meter and a half. She remained suspended in the air for a moment, raised her eyes to Heaven, then glanced in the direction of the southeast. At that moment, Melanie, who had been standing at the left of the Lady, came in front in order to see her better. Only then did she notice that the celestial Visitor had ceased weeping, although her features remained very sad.
The radiant vision now began to disappear. “We saw her head no more, then the rest of the body no more; she seemed to melt away. There remained a great light,” related Maximin, “as well as the roses at her feet which I tried to catch with my hands; but there was nothing more.” “We looked for a long time,” added Melanie, “to see if we could not have another glimpse of her,” but the Beautiful Lady had disappeared forever.
The little shepherdess then remarked to her companion: “Perhaps it was a great Saint.” “If we had known it was a great Saint,” said Maximin, “we would have asked her to take us with her.”
Isn’t it, like, pretty much Wrong to use Our Lady to advance some sketchy anti-Vatican II agenda?
You’re purveying a hoax. The secrets of LaSalette have NEVER been released. In 1916, the Holy See condemned anybody – clergy or laity – who disseminates the “secrets”:
THE SUPREME SACRED CONGREGATION OF THE HOLY OFFICE GIVES A DECREE
CONCERNING THE COMMONLY CALLED “SECRET OF LA SALETTE.”
It has come to the attention of this Supreme Congregation that certain ones are not lacking, even from among the ecclesiastic assemblage who, responses and decisions of this Holy Congregation itself having been disregarded, do proceed to discuss and examine through books, small works and articles edited in periodicals, whether signed or without a name, concerning the so-called Secret of La Salette, its diverse forms and its relevance to present and future times; and, this not only without permission of the Ordinaries, but, also against their ban.
So that these abuses which oppose true piety and greatly wound ecclesiastical authority might be curbed, the same Sacred Congregation orders all the faithful of any region not to discuss or investigate under any pretext, neither through books, or little works or articles, whether signed or unsigned, or in any other way of any kind, about the mentioned subject. Whoever, indeed, violates this precept of the Holy Office, if they are priests, are deprived of all dignity and suspended by the local ordinary from hearing sacramental confessions and from offering Mass: and, if they are lay people, they are not permitted to the sacraments until they repent.
Moreover, let people be subject to the sanctions given both by Pope Leo XIII through the Constitution of the offices and responsibilities against those who publish books dealing with religious things without legitimate permission of superiors and by Urban VIII through the decree “Sanctissimus Dominus Noster” given on 13th March 1625 against those who publish asserted revelations without the permission of ordinaries. However, this decree does not forbid devotion towards the Blessed Virgin under the title of Reconciliatrix commonly of La Salette.
Given at Rome on 21st December, 1915. – Aloisius Castellano, S. R. and U. I. Notary.
THE LITTLE WORK IS CONDEMNED:
“THE APPARITION OF THE VERY HOLY VIRGIN OF LA SALETTE” DECREE
Wednesday, 9th May 1923
In a General Session of the Supreme Holy Congregation of the Holy Office, eminent and reverend Lord Cardinals appointed for protecting the faith and morals, proscribed and condemned the little work The Apparition of the Most Holy Virgin on the holy mountain of La Salette, Saturday 19 September 1845. – Simple Reprinting of the entire public text by Mélanie, etc. Society Saint-Augustine, Paris-Rome-Bruges, 1922; ordering those to whom it looks to take care to withdraw examples of the condemned book from the hands of the faithful.And the same holiday and day of the Most Holy Lord. N. D. by the foresight of divine providence Pope Pius XI, in the customary audience of R. P. D. Assessor of the Holy Office has commissioned the report himself and approved the resolution.
Given at Rome from the Holy Office on 10th May, 1923. – Aloisius Castellanus, S. R. and U. Notary.
St. Januarius, Bishop of Benevento, Italy
Sealed in a reliquary in Naples, the blood of St. Januarius liquefies multiple times throughout the year. There’s no scientific explanation for this phenomenon!
Januarius (Latin: Ianuarius; Italian: Gennaro), also known as Januarius I of Benevento, was Bishop of Benevento and is a martyr and saint of the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. While no contemporary sources on his life are preserved, later sources and legends claim that he died during the Great Persecution which ended with Diocletian’s retirement in 305.
FR Thread: Sept. 19: St. Januarius, Bishop & Martyr, and His Companions, Martyrs (Gueranger)
FR Thread: Miracle of San Gennaro Repeated (St. Januarius)(2005)
St. Januarius is believed to have suffered in the persecution of Diocletian, c. 305. With regard to the history of his life and martyrdom, we know next to nothing. The various collections of “Acts”, though numerous (cf. Bibliotheca Hagiographica Latina, n. 4115-4140), are all extremely late and untrustworthy. Bede (c. 733) in his “Martyrologium” has epitomized the so-called “Acta Bononiensia” (see Quentin, Les Martyrologes historiques”, 76). To this source we may trace the following entry in the present Roman Martyrology, though the reference to the miracle of the liquefaction is an addition of much later date.
“At Pozzuoli in Campania [the memory] of the holy martyrs Januarius, Bishop of Beneventum, Festus his deacon, and Desiderius lector, together with Socius deacon of the church of Misenas, Proculus deacon of Pozzuoli, Eutyches and Acutius, who after chains and imprisonment were beheaded under the Emperor Diocletian. The body of St. Januarius was brought to Naples, and there honourably interred in the church, where his holy blood is kept unto this day in a phial of glass, which being set near his head becomes liquid and bubbles up as though it were fresh.”
In the Breviary a longer account is given. There we are told that “Timotheus, President of Campania,” was the official who condemned the martyrs, that Januarius was thrown into a fiery furnace, but that the flames would not touch him, and that the saint and his companions were afterwards exposed in the amphitheatre to wild beasts without any effect.
Timotheus declaring that this was due to magic, and ordering the martyrs to be beheaded, the persecutor was smitten with blindness, but Januarius cured him, and five thousand persons were converted to Christ before the martyrs were decapitated. Then, as the Breviary lesson continues, “the cities of these coasts strove to obtain their bodies for honourable burial, so as to make sure of having them advocates with God. By God’s will, the relics of Januarius were taken to Naples at last, after having been carried from Pozzuoli to Beneventum and from Beneventum to Monte Vergine. When they were brought thence to Naples they were laid in the chief church there and have been there famous on account of many miracles.
Among these is remarkable the stopping of eruptions of Mount Vesuvius, whereby both that neighbourhood and places afar off have been like to be destroyed. It is also well known and is the plain fact, seen even unto this day, that when the blood of St. Januarius, kept dried up in a small glass phial, is put in sight of the head of the same martyr, it is wont to melt and bubble in a very strange way, as though it had but freshly been shed.”
It is especially this miracle of the liquefaction which has given celebrity to the name of Januarius, and to this we turn our attention. Let it at once be said that the supposition of any trick or deliberate imposture is out of the question, as candid opponents are now willing to admit. For more than four hundred years this liquefaction has taken place at frequent intervals.
If it were a trick it would be necessary to admit that all the archbishops of Naples, and that countless ecclesiastics eminent for their learning and often for their great sanctity, were accomplices in the fraud, as also a number of secular officials; for the relic is so guarded that its exposition requires the concurrence of both civil and ecclesiastical authority.
Further, in all these four hundred years, no one of the many who, upon the supposition of such a trick, must necessarily have been in the secret, has made any revelation or disclosed how the apparent miracle is worked. Strong indirect testimony to this truth is borne by the fact that even at the present time the rationalistic opponents of a supernatural explanation are entirely disagreed as to how the phenomenon is to be accounted for.
What actually takes place may be thus briefly described: in a silver reliquary, which in form and size somewhat suggests a small carriage lamp, two phials are enclosed. The lesser of these contains only traces of blood and need not concern us here.
The larger, which is a little flagon-shaped flask four inches in height and about two and a quarter inches in diameter, is normally rather more than half full of a dark and solid mass, absolutely opaque when held up to the light, and showing no displacement when the reliquary is turned upside down. Both flasks seem to be so fixed in the lantern cavity of the reliquary by means of some hard gummy substance that they are hermetically sealed.
Moreover, owing to the fact that the dark mass in the flask is protected by two thicknesses of glass it is presumably but little affected by the temperature of the surrounding air. Eighteen times in each year, i.e. (1) on the Saturday before the first Sunday in May and the eight following days, (2) on the feast of St. Januarius (19 Sept.) and during the octave, and (3) on 16 December, a silver bust believed to contain the head of St. Januarius is exposed upon the altar, and the reliquary just described is brought out and held by the officiant in view of the assembly.
Prayers are said by the people, begging that the miracle may take place, while a group of poor women, known as the “zie di San Gennaro” (aunts of St. Januarius), make themselves specially conspicuous by the fervour, and sometimes, when the miracle is delayed, by the extravagance, of their supplications.
The officiant usually holds the reliquary by its extremities, without touching the glass, and from time to time turns it upside down to note whether any movement is perceptible in the dark mass enclosed in the phial.
After an interval of varying duration, usually not less than two minutes or more than an hour, the mass is gradually seen to detach itself from the sides of the phial, to become liquid and of a more or less ruby tint, and in some instances to froth and bubble up,
increasing in volume. The officiant then announces, “Il miracolo é fatto”, a Te Deum is sung, and the reliquary containing the liquefied blood is brought to the altar rail that the faithful may venerate it by kissing the containing vessel. Rarely has the liquefaction failed to take place in the expositions of May or September, but in that of 16 December the mass remains solid more frequently than not
Saint Januarius between the deceased Cominia and Nicatiola,
Old Calendar: St. Januarius and his Companions; Our Lady of La Salette
Little is known about St. Januarius. He was Bishop of Benevento in Campania. He died near Naples, about the year 305, martyred under the persecution of Emperor Diocletian. Around the year 400 the relics of St. Januarius were moved to Naples, which honors Januarius as a patron saint. He supposedly protected Naples from a threatened eruption of the volcano Mt. Vesuvius.
The “miracle of Januarius” has world-wide fame. At least three times a year—on his feast day, December 16 and the first Sunday of May—the sealed vial with congealed blood of the saint liquifies, froths and bubbles up. This miraculous event has occurred every year, with rare exceptions. Popular tradition holds that the liquefaction is a sign that the year will be preserved from disasters. (In 1939, the beginning of World War II, the blood did not bubble up.)