The shrine of Our Lady of Banneux, Belgium
(By Madeleine Teahan – CatholicHerald.co.uk)
The girl who saw apparitions of the Virgin Mary at Banneux, Belgium, died last week at the age of 90.
Mariette Beco reported eight apparitions of the Virgin Mary between January 15 and March 2 1933, in the small town south-east of Liège.
A statement on the website of the shrine of Our Lady of Banneux said: “Mariette’s last years were those of most elderly persons with both joys and sufferings. The rector of the shrine of Banneux, Fr Leo Palm, had several encounters with Mariette. He remembers her as a person loved by her family and attached to her son and her grandchildren. Mariette also mourned her two daughters, one who died in her childhood, the second who died in 2008, aged 61.”
Bishop Louis-Joseph Kerkhofs of Liège recognised the apparitions of Banneux in 1949, marking the official recognition by the Church.
Mariette led a very quiet life after the apparitions and did not make any further public comments.
In 2008, the year of the official ceremonies of the 75th anniversary of the apparitions, she asked Fr Joseph Cassart, then rector of the shrine, to publish a letter in which she made her final statement about the apparitions.
She said: “I was no more then a postman who delivers the mail. Once this has been done, the postman is of no importance any more.” Mariette reported her first apparition on the evening of Sunday, January 15, as she stood at the kitchen window in her home in Banneux.
It was then that she said she saw the Virgin Mary beckon to her from the garden but her mother was afraid and stopped her daughter from going outside. Seven apparitions followed, during which Our Lady of Banneux said: “I am the Virgin of the Poor” and “I come to relieve suffering.”
|THE APPARITIONS IN 1933|
|(from the website of the shrine of Our Lady of Banneux)|
|In January 1933, Mariette Beco was eleven years old. She was born on the 25th March, 1921, and was the eldest of a family of seven children. Her family who was quite poor, lived in a simple working-class house, isolated and set back from the road, at the edge of the forest.
In the evening of Sunday January 15th, Mary appeared for the first time in the garden of the little house. The lady beckoned her. Mariette wanted to go out, but her mother stopped her and locked the door.
|On Wednesday, 18th January, at 7 pm, Mariette was in the garden on her knees, and her hands joined in prayer. Suddenly she left the garden and started walking up the road where the lady was calling her. Twice she fell to her knees on the frozen ground. A third time she knelt near the ditch in front of a pool of water coming from a spring.
|The lady spoke to her. “Push your hands into the water.” Mariette does it. She repeated what the Lady had just said to her, “This spring is reserved for Me, Goodnight, good-bye.“|
On Thursday, January 19th, the weather was severe. Mariette was kneeling on the path. It was 7.pm. The Lady appeared. Mariette asked her “who are you, beautiful Lady ?” “I am the Virgin of the Poor.” The Virgin then led the child to the spring. Mariette asked another question : “beautiful Lady, yesterday you said ‘this spring is reserved for me’ why for me ?” Mariette pointed to herself. Smiling even more, the Virgin answered “this spring is reserved for all nations… for the sick.” Mariette replied “Thank you, thank you.” Then the Virgin said “I will pray for you – goodbye.“
|On Friday, January 20th, Mariette stayed in bed all day to recover from a sleepless night. At a quarter to seven she woke up, dressed and went out. When the Virgin appeared she cried out : “Ah. There she is”, then she started talking to the beautiful Lady. “What do you want, my beautiful Lady ?” The Virgin answered with a smile “I would like a small chapel.” She stretched out her hands and blessed the child with her right hand.|
|Then there followed three weeks of total silence. The Virgin interrupted her visits. Mariette however remained faithful : each day at 7 pm she prayed in the garden.|
|On Saturday, February 11th, Mariette was on the road, she knelt twice, dipped her hands into the spring and made the sign of the cross. Suddenly she stood up, ran towards the house and wept. She did not understand what the Virgin had told her. “I come to relieve suffering.” She did not understand the meaning of the words “to relieve.”|
|Three days elapsed. On Wednesday evening, 15th February, the Virgin appeared for the sixth time. Mariette passed on Father Jamin’s request to the Virgin : “the chaplain asks you for a sign.” The Virgin answered, “Believe in me, I will believe in you.” “Pray a lot : goodbye.” The Virgin confided a secret to the child.|
|On February 20th, Mariette knelt again in the snow, braving the cold. Suddenly she prayed the rosary louder and faster. She left the garden and knelt twice on the road, then again at the spring where she prayed and wept, “because she left too quickly.” Mary told her “My dear child, pray hard.”|
|Mariette waited ten days before seeing the Virgin for the last time. She appeared on Thursday, March 2nd. Torrential rain had been pouring down since three pm. Mariette went out, it was 7 pm. She was reciting her third rosary when the rain suddenly stopped. She remained silent, stretched out her arms, got up, took a step forward and knelt down. At home, Mariette revealed the message entrusted to her by Mary. “I am the Mother of the Saviour, Mother of God. Pray a lot.” The Virgin then laid her hands on her and said : “Adieu.”|