23 March 2016

Our Lady of Beauraing, Our Lady of Banneux, Pray for Belgium

St John Paul II in Beauraing, May 1985 [Source]

In August 1961, a few weeks before I entered St Columban's College, Ireland, to prepare for the missionary priesthood I went on a pilgrimage of the Archdiocese of Dublin to Beauraing, Belgium. We also visited Banneux, not too far away.

Fernande (15), Gilberte (13), and Albert (11) Voisin with Andree (14) and Gilberte (9) Degeimbre [Source]

Our Blessed Mother appeared to five young people aged between 9 and 15 in Beauraing (in photo above) 33 times between November 1932 and January 1933. In February 1943 the Bishop of Namur authorised devotion to Our Lady of Beauraing, also known there as the Virgin of the Golden Heart. The Vatican gave its approval in 1949.

Our Lady of Banneux [Wikipedia]

Our Lady appeared to 12-year-old Mariette Beco in Banneux, Belgium, on eight occasions between 15 January and 2 March 1933. She told the young girl that she was the Virgin of the Poor. Mariette was mocked by many, even members of her own family, but the Bishop of Liège approved the veneration of the Virgin of the Poor in 1942 and the Vatican gave its final approval in 1949.

Mariette Beco at the time of the visions [Wikipedia]

One of my memories of our morning stop in Banneux was serving Mass for a very old priest - he seemed to me to be in his 90s - in a tiny, round chapel. I had never served Mass before but offered my services. I was familiar with the Latin responses as Mass in those days was entirely in Latin but I know that I confused the poor man at the Offertory when I poured water over his fingers before I was supposed to!

Our Lady of Banneux, the Virgin of the Poor, according to Mariette, said, I come to relieve suffering. May she relieve the suffering of the people of Brussels after the bombings yesterday, 22 March. 

May Our Lady of Beauraing and Our Lady of Banneux obtain a renewal of the Catholic faith in Belgium, where it has largely disappeared, though up to two generations ago it was vibrant and with a strong missionary thrust.

Fr Donal McIlraith, Regional Director of the Columbans in Fiji, pointed out to me that in all the apparitions of Our Lady that have been approved by the Church she appeared to poor people.

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