As these words are typed, we are in process of publishing a series of entries on Mélanie Calvat, the first of which can be found here.
O Mélanie Calvat! How maligned you were, how very much you suffered.
For while it happened that the Church fully approved your astonishing vision of 1846 on the holy mountain of La Salette (that holy mountain I can never forget) …
After 1846, it also happened that you went through all manner of trials, as well as further mystical and visionary experience.
And the Church neither condemned all this later experience, nor gave it the same seal of approval, as it did the Apparition on that holy mountain.
Certainly it seems that much of what you did and what you stood for later on, did attract the support of holy figures, including though not limited, to Leo XIII, Bl. Pius IX and Saint Annibal Marie de Francia.
Yet, you also earned the enmity of many in high ecclesiastical positions, in France especially.
And the Catholic world has long been divided between those who rejected Mélanie Calvat on the one hand and on the other hand, a small alternative stream of people those who continued to venerate Mélanie …
In between these two extremes, stand many who are simply bewildered and confused.
Now the vast subject of this controversy is too much for us to enter into at this particular point.
And alas! – most of the literature regarding that alternative stream which venerates Mélanie Calvat is only available in French.
However, we can point the reader to the one major exception, which exists to this lamentable situation.
And this little notice is more of a ‘pointer’ and less of a review.
The major exception we have in mind, is an out-of-print English translation of an original French text: Sister Mary of the Cross, Shepherdess of La Salette by Father Paul Gouin.
And the book is clearly a labour of love, written by a French priest who devoted nearly his entire adult life to uncovering the strange story of Mélanie Calvat, Sheperdess of La Salette …
Yes here is a labour of love written by a French priest who, like ourselves, was deeply troubled by the fate of Catholic France.
For all around the Abbé Gouin, it appeared the faith was being extinguished in France.
And so the Abbé Gouin began to search for answers as to why.
And his search would take him on a journey of forty years of research into the Mystery of Mélanie Calvat (later Sister Mary of the Cross) and La Salette.
Or as a certain F. Corteville explains in a preface to this book:
Abbé Paul Gouin [in] 1911 to 1914 … visiting his parish … remarked a distressing “dechristianisation”.
What is its fundamental cause? Warned by the reading of Celle qui pleure (The One who cries) by Léon Bloy, he thinks that practical atheism which is propagated everywhere is due to the withdrawal of divine graces which make sterile the apostolate.
Why? One has refused to practice the Rule of the ORDER OF THE MOTHER OF GOD, dictated on the 19th September 1846 by the VIRGIN MARY on the Mountain of LA SALETTE … [Emphasis in original].
Yes, Abbé Gouin understood that twilight world that haunts my soul: the twilight of Catholic France.
France caught in a degeneration, whereby the light of the Faith would become ever dimmer and dimmer, resulting indeed in widespread ‘practical atheism’.
The book of Abbé Gouin’s is precious to me. For it not only illumines Mélanie Calvat, but those terrible French times in which she lived, in which she struggled with all her might in the dying twilight of the Church in France (and in similar, though less extreme, situations in Italy as well).
Dear Reader, this is as I say, less of a review, and more of a pointer, a marker.
It is mainly a pointer to the best source we know in English for those who should like to study the mysterious matter of Sister Mary of the Cross and La Salette. We should also mention that in addition to examining the later life of Mélanie Calvat, Father Gouin’s book also contains an in-depth exploration of her extraordinary childhood visions …
But this is just a little pointer for now, a very personal marker.
Speaking very personally then …
We are haunted, haunted by the fate of Catholic France.
We are haunted by how it happened that after a mighty renaissance of Catholic Faith in mid-Nineteenth Century Catholic France, that Faith began to enter a twilight, as early as the 1880s or 1890s.
Yes, the Twilight of Catholic France began as early as that, as tremendous forces of oppression were brought to bear on the Faith by a secular republic, which did everything in its power to extinguish it (e.g. exiling priests and religious from French soil, expropriating the property of the church to the State, etc) …
We cannot, we will not go into all of this now.
The interested reader will find an ongoing tapestry of pieces at this website relating to the destruction, the extinction of Catholic France.
This little pointer is just one more piece in that tapestry (Many more can be found here under the label: Catholic France).
And we will continue no doubt to add to this tapestry of that which haunts our souls, my beloved Kim and myself.
Meanwhile, if any English speaking reader cares to join us, we say to them: in this lonely English text on Sister Mary of the Cross, one will find not only testimony to a great and remarkable soul: Mélanie Calvat, but one will also find much which points to the twilight of Catholic France and the forces now working everywhere for the twilight of the Faith …
Foreword for Monarchy by Roger Buck
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