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Catholic Dictionary




Shrine of the Virgin in Tears in Southern France in the diocese of Grenoble. It was there in 1846 that two illiterate children happened to meet each other while they were herding cattle. Mélanie Calvat, age nine, and Maximin Giraud, age eleven, fell asleep on the hillside. Waking up, they saw a beautiful lady sitting on a rock in the bed of a tiny dried-up stream. She was weeping but she reassured the children and told them each separately what she called a secret. The secret remains only partially revealed, although in 1851 the children told Pope Pius IX what the lady said. To others who asked them about the message, the children merely said that there was need for humility, prayer, and penance, and that a dire punishment would await the human race if it did not repent. Famine, earthquakes, epidemics of mortal illness would result. Mélanie revealed part of the secret in 1849, but the Holy See declared that no further details of La Salette's revelation would be made. Devotion to Our Lady of La Salette was approved by the Bishop of Grenoble in 1851, and by the popes since Pius X. The scene of the apparitions is marked by a large church, adjoining the monastery of the Missionaries of La Salette, who administer the shrine.