At our La Salette Shrine in Twin Lakes, WI, there is a beautifully crafted bronze statue of Our Lady of La Salette. This statue has an intriguing history.
A friend of our Missionaries found it in an antique store in San Francisco. It seems that for years this statue was placed at the entrance of an old gold mine. It was a custom of the miners to touch the statue as they would enter the mine. After the mine closed the statue eventually found its way to the store and ultimately to our Shrine at Twin Lakes.
No one knows how the statue began its odyssey to a mine’s entrance and then to the antique store in San Francisco. But this is just another example of how the Virgin of La Salette can touch our lives, sometimes in some very circuitous ways.
This story illustrates the fact Our Lady of La Salette has a remarkable ability of getting around, of showing up in the most unexpected or out of the way places. It leaves you wondering who did this, when and how?
Mary’s visit to La Salette was very different from many of her other apparitions. For example, Mary did not ask that a basilica be built there although later a beautiful shrine church would spring up atop this alpine mountain to commemorate this event and to serve its many pilgrims. She did not mandate any special devotion other than to pray well. And yet today we have many prayers, hymns and devotions dedicated to Our Lady of La Salette.
Also she did not say anything about the need to establish a religious community. She simply asked these two simple children to make her message “known to all her people”. Yet amazingly not one but two religious foundations can trace their genesis to Mary at La Salette: The Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette and the Sisters of Our Lady of La Salette.
We are reminded that Mary’s parting words to Maximin and Melanie – to make her message known to all her people – was addressed to us all and each of us has our own unique manner of accomplishing this mission.
Written by Fr. Jerry Lebanowski, M.S.