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Totus Tuus, Maria
Our Lady of La Salette
by Lourdes Policarpio
The lone extraordinary encounter took place the afternoon of September 19, 1846 in a mountain meadow set against the majestic French Alps. Isolated as the place was, the village or parish of which it was a part, La Salette by name, was not as isolated from the changes gripping the rest of France. This was an age of new ideas and revolution was affecting various facets of life, the faith not excluded. Religion was suffering from persecution; in this distant region, piety was waning as the farmers hardly ever attended Sunday Masses, and using the Lord’s name irreverently was becoming a habit.
In the stillness of the mountains and the verdant pastures, two children were sleeping side by side in the grass. At a height of 6,000 feet above sea level, there must have been such solitude and peace here, not unlike that found in sanctuaries of prayer. The children, eleven-year-old Maximin Giraud and fourteen-year-old Melanie Calvat, were herding the cows of their employers. Maximin was a carefree urchin - a wild, reckless, spirited boy. On the other hand, Melanie was morose and taciturn. She was the fourth of ten children in a very poor family. Both could neither read nor write and they had never attended school or catechism. They had known each other only two days before that day which changed their lives forever.
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