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Virgin of the Poor - Our Lady of Banneux - Feast Day January 15

"I am the Virgin of the poor," Our Lady told 11 year-old Mariette Beco on the evening of January 19, 1933. It was the third of eight apparitions that Mariette would experience in the yard outside her home in Banneux, Belgium. Mariette described Our Lady as being surrounded by an oval of light and wearing a white gown with a blue sash and a transparent white veil on her head. Mariette could see a golden rose on her right foot and a rosary with a golden chain and cross hanging on her right arm, which was joined to the left in prayer.

Our Lady told Mariette she had come "to relieve suffering" and to ask her to "pray much." During one apparition, Mary led Mariette to a stream and said, "This spring is for all nations. . . for the sick."  By the time Mary appeared for the sixth time, the whole town was aware of the phenomenon but, as Mariette explained to Our Lady, the village chaplain wanted a sign that the apparitions were authentic. In reply, Mary told Mariette, "Believe in me, I will believe in you. Pray much."  During the final apparition, which took place on March 2, 1933, Mary said: "I am the Mother of the Savior, Mother of God, pray much." She blessed the child, and disappeared.

The apparitions were approved by the Holy See in 1949 and hundreds of thousands visit it annually to lay their troubles, their poverties and their sufferings at the feet of the Virgin of the Poor.

“Today, the poor – and there are many forms of poverty! – feel at home in Banneux," said Pope John Paul II, during a pilgrimage to the Shrine on May 21st, 1985. "The poor come here seeking consolation, courage, hope, and union with God during their trials. I encourage those pilgrims who come here to pray, always and with the whole Church, to reflect the merciful face of God.”

For Reflection:

Read Revelation 22: 1-5. From whence does the “river of life-giving water” flow? Consider this in light of the streams and springs of grace that accompany many of Our Lady’s apparitions. Do you think there could be a connection? Why or why not? If so, in what way(s)?  Think of this in light of the fruits, medicine, and the spiritual benefits and insights listed in the Scripture passage. Why would these aptly come from Mary through her spiritual maternity?

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