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East Timor: Br Mark Paul with students from Australia (Adelaide)

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23 May

Saint William of Rochester

Marist Calendar - May

Our Lady of La Salette


Patroness of Dominica

THE EVENT :In mid-September, 1846, Pierre Selme, a peasant of the hamlet of Les Ablandins had to find a boy to replace his shepherd who had become ill. He sought out Giraud the wheelwright in Corps and said to him: “Let me have your little Maximin for a few days.” “Mémin, a shepherd? He’s too much of a scatterbrain!” replied Giraud. There were some give and take between the two men, and on September 14, Maximin walked to the hamlet of Les Ablandins. On the 17th he saw Melanie there. On the 18th, they watched their flocks in a communal pasture around Mount Planeau. That afternoon, Maximin made an attempt at conversation with the silent Melanie. They discovered that they were both from Corps. They talked a while and decided that the next day they would go together, taking their animals to graze in the same pastureland.Early on September 19,1846, the two children climbed the slopes of Mount Sous-Les Baisses, each urging four cows up the mountain. Besides his own flock, Maximin had a goat and his dog Lulu. Sunlight had flooded the Alpine slopes. Far down the mountain the Angelus bell rang out from the village church. This signaled the shepherds to lead their cows toward the “animal spring”, a small pool formed by the brook as it tumbled down the Sezia ravine. Then they goaded their cows toward an adjoining field on the slopes of Mount Gargas. The animals grazed quietly in the hot sun.Contrary to their habits, the two children laid on the grass and fell asleep. The September sun was relaxing and the sky was cloudless. The chattering brook highlighted the mountain stillness. These were quiet moments.The time passed…Melanie woke up startled and shook Maximin! “Mémin, Mémin, get up! Let’s look for our cows. I don’t know where they are!”Quickly, they climbed the hillock facing Mount Gargas.From that vantage point they could see the surrounding area, and the cows, right there, grazing peacefully. Melanie took a few steps down the hillock. Halfway she froze, stunned, and let her shepherd’s stick fall.“Mémin; look over there, a light.”THE UNDESCRIBABLE BRIGHTNESS!Near the small brook on one of those stone benches there was a globe of fire.“It’s as if the sun had fallen there!” But the sun shone in a crystal clear sky. Maximin ran to Melanie’s side yelling, “Where is it? Where is it?” Melanie, nearly frozen with fear, pointed to the bottom of the ravine where they had just rested. Maximin approached her and said: “Hold on to your stick! I’m keeping mine and if it comes close, I’ll give it a good whack!” The light stirred, moved and swirled. Words failed the children to describe the rush of light that streamed from the fiery globe. A woman appeared within the light. She was seated on a rock, her head in her hands, her elbows on her knees, in deepest grief.The Beautiful Lady spoke to the two shepherds. “She wept all the while she spoke to us.”Together, or separately, the two children repeated the same words with slight variations that never affected the sense.The bright light vanished. Melanie ventured a remark: “It was perhaps a great saint?”“If only we had known, we would have asked her to bring us with her.” Maximin said. The children did know who had appeared to them on the mountain.BACK AT THE VILLAGE!At day’s end the children returned to Les Ablandins. To justify not having reported to his employer that afternoon, Maximin said matter-of-factly, “Sir, Melanie and I met a Beautiful Lady who spoke to us a long time.” “Well, let’s go see Melanie at the Pra’s house.”The Pra family owned the neighboring farm. The grandmother was waiting for them on the stoop. Maximin called out to her. “Hey, Mama Caron, didn’t you see a Beautiful Lady dressed in fire fly over the valley?”A few minutes later, in the kitchen, where everyone gathered, Maximin told the story in French and dialect. Melanie was summoned from her stable work and fully confirmed it. “It is the Virgin that these children have seen. She is the only one whose Son reigns in heaven.”Deeply moved, Jean-Baptiste Pra, Pierre Selme, and their neighbor Jean Mussier wisely decided, to put everything in writing, with Melanie dictating the Virgin’s words. Thanks to their ingenuity, the first document written on La Salette was the Virgin’s message. It was dated the day following the Apparition and all three witnesses signed it.THE CHURCH GIVES APPROVAL OF THE EVENT...After five years of discernment, in 1851, at the end of a detailed and strict investigation, the Church confirmed - through an order from Most Rev. Bishop Philibert de Bruillard, the Bishop of Grenoble – the reality of the event and declared that the “Beautiful Lady” was Mary, the Mother of Jesus, she who received a mission at the foot of the cross, to be the Mother of all who are searching, are doubting, but who are continuing the journey in Faith. Always present to her children, she comes to move the hearts, challenge consciences, before a Godless world, without justice and without love. She wants to lift us up and to put us back on the journey together, following her Son Jesus, with tenderness and vigor.