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Our Lady of La Salette

The Christian prays for his executioners, but does not denounce them.

The bell of Our Lady of La Salette announces the arrival of many pilgrims; I see them at the bottom of the valley walking with difficulty. They are one hundred and fifty people; a very old nun, dressed in white wool, is at their head, mounted on a mule. All the other people are walking on foot; they have bare feet; they are all veiled. Some of them wear the severe costume of penitence, the robe of bure and the rope tied to the belt; others are dressed in white woolen robes. After four hours of walking among the precipices, the rocks and the mud, always barefoot, they approach the holy Mountain; their voices begin to be heard: they are hymns of thanksgiving, joyfully repeated by the echoes of the mountain, which are going to be lost in the depth of the solitudes.

Who are these pilgrims? What is the reason for their journey? They are the penitent daughters of Grenoble who come to thank Our Lady of La Salette for two graces obtained: one for having cured their Superior of a fatal illness; the other for having saved the life of their novice mistress, whose story follows:

We know which poor girls the good Shepherd took in (they were repentant prostitutes). One evening, two unfortunate men who had tried to seduce one of the members of the house, seeing that their plot had been foiled, sneaked into the convent and, as the novice mistress was going out into the garden, they rushed at her. One of them tore her veil and clothes, grabbing her by the neck to prevent her from screaming; the other, armed with a long two-edged knife, struck her with fifty-two blows to the head, near the heart, and on the hands. (I saw the marks of the wounds myself.) The murderer did not tire, and the poor Sister was about to succumb, when suddenly she called to her aid Our Lady of La Salette, crying out, “My good Mother, save me!” And behold, the assassin’s iron remained motionless in the air, just as he was about to complete the death of his victim; then the Sister got up energetically, overthrew this unfortunate man and seized his dagger. He thought he was lost; his name was written on the murderous weapon. The two criminals fled; the name was erased on the knife, and the Sister never wanted to make her killers known. It was only after two months that she was able to recover from her wounds, three of which had been judged fatal by the commission of inquiry.

It was the good Sister herself who told me, in the presence of the image of Our Lady of La Salette, all these details with a piety full of charity, gratitude, and inexpressible happiness.

It is to be hoped that so many virtues will have obtained the conversion of these two unfortunate people!

(L. Perret)

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