Apparitions of Mary
Mary Approaches Us As A Loving Mother
Night had come early to the small Belgium hamlet of Banneux on January 13th, 1933. This little village of 399 souls, located near Liege, the capital city of the district, was the picture of material and spiritual poverty. The swampy land produced little for the farmers who had to labor from sunrise to sunset to raise enough to support their families. Their careless practice of religion reflected the cynicism of the popular thinkers who said that social change would satisfy lives made empty by their rejection of God.
About 7 pm on this particular night, Mariette, who was 14 and the oldest of 11 in the Becco family, was caring for her youngest brother, and also keeping supper warm for Julian, another brother who had missed the evening meal.
At times she moved the sheet aside which covered the window to get a better view of the front yard, hoping to see him when he arrived. Once, when she glanced outside, Mariette noticed a bright light in front of the house. Within this light was a beautiful young lady. She was dressed in a dazzling white gown which came to her feet. Over her head, shoulders, and arms, was a white transparent veil, and around her waist was a sky blue sash. The lady's hands were folded in prayer, on her right foot was a golden rose, and she carried a brilliant rosary on her right arm. She smiled at Mariette, and then motioned with her hand that she wished for the girl to go outside to her.
When Mariette asked her mother to come and see the lady, her reply was, "I suppose you are seeing the Blessed Virgin." But, Mariette insisted. Her mother was able to see only the light surrounding an unclear figure. She thought that it was a ghost, and fearing for her family, she locked the door, pulled the sheet over the window, and forbade Mariette to go outside. When her father was told about the apparition the next morning, he said Mariette was a fool.
At school, Mariette and a classmate decided to tell their parish priest who was at best skeptical since stories were circulating of the apparitions of Mary at Beauraing, Belgium which had ended just 12 days earlier. He could think of no reason why the Blessed Virgin would come to Banneux and especially to Mariette, whose family had stopped going to church. The girl had even failed her test for First Communion three months earlier, and had not returned to religion class since. But Mariette decided to change. She returned to attend both Mass and instruction, earning for the first time a grade better than zero.
The Mother of God appeared to Mariette a total of eight times. On the second, Mary led Mariette a short distance from her house to a previously unknown spring, and told her that its waters were reserved for her to relieve the sick of all nations. In the apparitions which followed, Mary told Mariette that she was the Virgin of the Poor who would relieve suffering and asked that a small chapel be built in her honor. In her final appearance, Mary solemnly told Mariette that she was the Mother of the Savior, the Mother of God, and that everyone should pray much.
Although Mariette was favored by visits from the Mother of God, she and her family found few who were in sympathy. While her mother believed her, and her father converted from his laziness and returned to the church, Mariette was not believed by most of her other family relatives. She suffered daily humiliations from insensitive classmates, especially the boys who sometimes beat her up, and made fun of her Lady. At the most, there were no more than 30 persons present at any one of her visions. Her family was among the poorest of the poor in the village and locality. Gradually, others recognized in Mary's message a heavenly consolation for their lives. Today, the special waters of the spring of Banneux cause not only miraculous physical cures, but spiritual cures to those poor in heart and spirit. In 1949, because of collected proofs and evidence, the church announced that Mary had certainly appeared in the village of Banneux, and the world should act upon the message from the Virgin of the Poor.
Today, thousands of pilgrims people travel to Banneux and to the church built to honor Mary. They offer their petitions through the Mother of God and our mother, to her divine Son who can deny His mother nothing.