What I Have Seen And Heard
Published: September 30, 2010
Our Lady of LaSalette is one of two Church-endorsed Marian devotions that were begun in France during the middle of the 19th century. Along with Lourdes, the images of the Blessed Virgin from these apparitions have journeyed throughout the world. They are well recognized among millions of people. The message of hope that Mary left with the youngsters outside Grenoble and with the youthful Bernadette in Lourdes has spread far beyond the borders of France. So too has her call for us to repent and to seek God’s forgiveness, and without a doubt our society needs to heed that message no less than did the people of 19th-century France.
We are blessed in the Archdiocese of Atlanta to have among us some of the religious order priests who are named for Our Lady of LaSalette and who provide generous pastoral service to our community. I was privileged to share in their patronal feast day last Saturday held at St. Ann’s Parish. Just as the message of Our Lady of LaSalette eventually traveled far away from the French Alps, these religious are missionaries who have traveled the world to bring the teaching of the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
The next day, I continued this same celebratory observance of Our Lady of LaSalette in Canton where there is a parish that gathers under her patronage. This community was concluding its silver anniversary observance with an outdoor Mass and festive public reception. What was touching was the fact that this community is such a diverse assembly of people. The readings included English, Spanish and Mayan—an indigenous language spoken by people from Central America. Truly, the Lady who appeared to children as they watched over their cattle in the mountains of France has become a cherished figure for people halfway across the globe. The Mother of God gathers her children wherever they may be. And we love her as the Mother of all of us—she is welcome no matter what her garb, whatever her complexion, and irrespective of the location where she might have first appeared. In our archdiocese we honor and welcome the Mother of God under many different titles—because God’s Mother is truly our Mother.
This week we begin the month of October, traditionally referred to as the month of the Most Holy Rosary. And there will be a number of special local occasions to honor Mary with this uniquely Marian prayer. No matter what the image might be of this great woman of faith, her children will pray the rosary asking her special intercession and protection. For some of us, she will wear the image of Fatima, or Guadalupe, or Knock, or LaVang, or Cobre or any of a dozen or more images of the woman who said yes to God’s invitation to become His Mother and through that yes, she became the Mother of all of us as well! And like any good mother, she is always reminding her children to listen to and obey their Father, to be kind to one another, and to be on their best behavior—a synopsis of what she told the children of 19th-century France at Grenoble and Lourdes. A mother’s message always seems to be the same!