Throughout Lent 2023, this series explores how the 16 earthly apparitions of Mary that have been recognized by the Vatican help to guide faithful Catholics on our Lenten journeys of prayer and sacrifice. In this video, Fr. Flavio Gillio, Director of the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette in Attleboro, Massachusetts, discusses the apparition of Our Lady of La Salette and reflects on how we can embrace the Blessed Mother’s example during Lent.
La Salette is the name of the French Alps hamlet where Mary appeared on September 19, 1846, to two young shepherds, Maximin Giraud, and Melanie Calvat. After an ordinary morning, a woman appeared to the children. She slowly stood up and said, “Come near my children, do not be afraid. I am here to tell you great news.” The apparition lasted approximately 20 minutes and after concluding her conversation with the two young shepherds, the beautiful lady climbed a narrow path leading out of the ravine. At the end of the day, Maximin and Melanie returned to the tiny village in the valley of Beaumes-de-Venise, and there the two children told their entire story. It was then revealed that the beautiful lady of La Salette was none other than Mary, the Mother of Jesus. And some months later on May 1, 1852, the Bishop of Grenoble issued a decree announcing the construction of the shrine on the mountain of La Salette, and the formation of a group of diocesan priests to provide pastoral care to the growing number of pilgrims who had begun to visit the site of the apparition. This first group of priests would eventually evolve into the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette, the religious order of which I am a member. And today, we are present on each of five continents and continue the mission of reconciliation that Mary entrusted to Maximin and Melanie more than 170 years ago. The message of Our Lady of La Salette is a call to live a Christ-centered life. And hence it is evident why Mary’s message is still pertinent today as was the case at the time of the apparition, the world, culture, and society of the present day seek and need love, reconciliation and healing. I want to invite you to consider and reflect upon the following questions: What changes can you make during this Lenten season to recalibrate your life more toward Christ? What graces do you feel you need the most to do so? And how can you embark yourself on this purposeful journey as an ambassador of God’s reconciliation for our broken world? May God through the intercession of Our Lady of La Salette grant you a blessed Lenten season.