'Secret' From Apparition That Predicted Storms And Turbulence Has Disappeared
By Michael H. Brown
What makes the secret of LaSalette such a hot potato? Why has this prophecy -- which has to do with great natural turbulence -- been all but ignored?
For those of you just tuning in: LaSalette is a hamlet near the top of a towering mountain in the majestic French Alps. In 1846 -- on September 19 -- two children, Melanie Calvat, 14, and Maximin Giraud, 11, were tending to several grazing cows when Melanie suddenly noticed a bright light, a strange circular luminosity, and they saw Mary in it.
The Blessed Mother was sitting on a rock, weeping. Soon, she rose, gave them a message to bring to the world, and then gave each child a secret prophecy (as she later would also do at places like Fatima).
The Church had no problem with the message the children were given for the public. If the people did not submit to God, she said, there would be an epidemic. There would be a blight on the potatoes. There would be a "great famine." This, said the weeping Mother, was because men were using the Lord's Name in vain and dishonoring him on Sunday. It was a true prophecy, one of the most astounding on record: Later that same year, a blight destroyed potatoes from northern France to Ireland -- leading to the famous Irish Potato Famine.
The Church accepted that message, and even promulgated it. But what about the individual secrets? What about the predictions that, it was rumored, had been given individually to each child?
After the public message, Melanie later recounted that "at this point, the Beautiful Lady, who was entrancing me, for a moment did not make herself heard. I could see, however, that she was continuing, as if speaking, to graciously move her kindly lips. At this moment, Maximin was receiving his secret. Then, turning to me, the Most Holy Virgin spoke to me and gave me a secret in French."
For years, Maximin and Melanie guarded their confidential prophecies tightly. No matter how the children were prodded, threatened, or interrogated, they showed a remarkable ability at shielding the secrets despite constant attempts to get them to disclose them, including threats of jail.
After failure in 1849 and 1850 to get them to repeat what they had been told, the archbishop of Lyon requested that the secrets be transmitted to the Pope, if to no one else.
The children were asked if they would be willing and agreed after great initial resistance, especially on the part of Melanie, who by now was in a convent. There were hints, according to Dr. Sandra L. Zimdars-Swartz, an academic who has brilliantly researched the history of LaSalette, that the children believed they had been given a special sign from heaven that permitted such a disclosure.
But Melanie agreed only if her secret could be transmitted in person, or through a letter in a sealed envelope. So it was that in 1951 the two seers wrote down the secrets each had been granted, and the messages were transmitted in envelopes to Pope Pius IX, who received them with great interest and showed every sign of believing what they had to say, or at least major aspects of them.
After reading the secrets, Pius sent gifts and a blessing to both seers and left the discernment in the hands of the local bishop, Monsignor Philibert de Bruillard, who ruled positively on the authenticity of the apparition (although not on the individual secrets).
By 1853, parts of Melanie's secret had leaked out and were in circulation among religious communities. By 1872, it appeared in an academic text. There were a number of versions, but the secret didn't go public in a big way until 1879, when -- now 33 years after the apparition -- parts of Melanie's secret were contained in a brochure that bore the imprimatur of Monsignor Salvator Luigi Zola, bishop of Lecce, Italy.
But this was not the bishop authorized to oversee the actual apparition -- and disputes arose over commentaries written by others that accompanied the secret and carried what some perceived as a harsh, anti-clerical tone. The secret was 38 paragraphs long.
And no doubt, it was controversial. The alleged prophecy itself, never formally approved -- in fact, at times forbidden -- bore language that, for the Blessed Mother, was uncharacteristically strong. Melanie quoted the Blessed Mother as saying that God was about to strike the earth in an "unprecedented" way, that there would be punishments because civil governments were denying God, that there would would come a time when there were only "evil" books and many occult religions, and that as a result the "seasons will be altered" and there would be wars, plagues, infectious disease, and unnerving weather.
Convulsions. Disturbances in the world. That was the prophecy. Nature, the Virgin said, was "asking for vengeance." There would be earthquakes. Water and fire would try the globe. "There will be thunderstorms which will shake cities," the Blessed Mother allegedly told Melanie. God would abandon mankind to itself. "It was an unrelenting accounts of evils that would beset the world in the last times," notes Swartz.
At least, this was in printed versions. Was it from the Blessed Mother? Some claimed that through the years Melanie had added to the secret, that the 1879 version was longer than what could have been on the three sheets of paper that had been sent to the Pope. Melanie vehemently denied this. We can never be sure precisely what was said because no one knows what happened to the original 1851 handwritten version.
It is a mystery. Where is it? We have seen nothing on what has become of it. It may be deep in the Vatican archives. It may simply be that in the decades since LaSalette, interest has waned and there has been no energy to locate it.
What of the prophecies? Are we facing unprecedented changes in nature? Will there be storms that rattle entire regions? Will there be convulsions of water? As we have noted, the year of LaSalette -- 1846 -- is also the very year that old parchment meteorological record at an observatory in Armagh, Ireland -- among the oldest such records still in existence -- demonstrate a sudden upward spike in temperatures at the very onset of what the vast majority of scientists now recognize as a shift in climate.
A while back, we asked for an official position on the secret from the U.S. Papal Nunciature and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith but have received no response.
Perhaps it will always remain a mystery.
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