The Virgin Mary's Apparitions and Miracles in Banneux, Belgium

Story of the Virgin of the Poor (Our Lady of Banneux) in 1933

Mary Banneux Belgium Virgin of the Poor
The statue and water spring of Mary, Virgin of the Poor at Banneux, Belgium. Photo © by Johfrael

Here’s the story of the apparitions and miracles of the Virgin Mary at Banneux, Belgium in 1933, in an event known as "Virgin of the Poor" or "Our Lady of Banneux":

A Girl Sees a Surprise outside Her Window

One snowy January evening in 1933, 11-year-old Mariette Beco was sitting in her kitchen looking out the window, waiting for her 10-year-old brother to arrive home. What she saw surprised and excited her: It looked like the Virgin Mary.

The apparition of a woman surrounded by an aura of pure white light attracted Mariette’s attention, and she exclaimed, “Look, mother! It’s our Blessed Lady. She’s smiling at me!”

When Mariette’s mother glanced out the window and caught sight of the apparition, she was afraid and told her daughter they should be careful because it could be a ghost or witch. Although the shining lady gestured for Mariette to come outside and her lips moved as if she was saying something, Mariette’s mother forbade her to leave and locked the door. The next time Mariette looked out the window, the apparition was gone. After her brother got home, her family all just went to bed.

Mariette told her story to a friend at school, who advised her to tell her local priest, who was curious yet skeptical about exactly what it was that Mariette had seen.

Prayer Brings a Visit from Mary

Several days later, Mariette slipped out of her house in the evening without her parents’ permission, followed by her father, Julien.

She stopped at a path near their house that led into a large forest of tall pine trees. There, as Julien watched, Mariette knelt down on the ground to pray the rosary prayer.

Mariette stretched her arms out into the air while she was praying, and soon the apparition of Mary appeared in the sky above the forest – first as a small point of light, then rapidly growing larger as she came toward Mariette with great speed.

Mary stopped near Mariette, hovering just above the ground with her feet resting on a grey cloud (one of her feet had a golden rose on it). She was wearing a white robe and veil, accented with a blue sash around her waist and white rosary prayer beads hanging from her right hand. Brilliant rays of light encircled Mary’s head like a halo.

Incredibly, Mariette could see that Mary was praying along with her. Mary’s lips moved in prayer and her hands were clasped together as they both communicated with God through prayer. For approximately 20 minutes, Mary and Mariette prayed the rosary together, reflecting on the work of Mary’s son Jesus Christ through the different parts of the prayer and letting his love draw them closer.

Julien kept watching from a distance. He saw his daughter praying intensely, then following the apparition across a road until she reached a spring of water bubbling up from the ground. Mariette found herself falling to her knees in that place.

Mary Reserves a Spring for Helping the Poor and Sick

"Put your hands in the water," Mary instructed Mariette, adding: "This spring is reserved for me."

Then Mary rose up into the air and grew gradually smaller in the distance as she exited one dimension and entered another.

After walking Mariette home, Julien told the story of what he had seen to two local priests, who went with him to talk with Mariette but found her asleep when they arrived. They told their bishop the next day. Julien accompanied Mariette when she went out to the forest to meet Mary again in the evening.

Mary showed up once more, and this time Mariette asked who she was. "I am the Virgin of the Poor," Mary replied.

Then Mariette asked what Mary had meant the previous night when she said the spring was reserved for her. Mary laughed gently and responded: "This stream is reserved for all nations. It is to ease the sick. I will pray for you."

Mary had consecrated the spring to serve as a conduit for blessing people from around the world who would visit it in the future, seeking healing for their bodies, minds, and spirits.

In subsequent visits to Mariette, Mary told her that she wanted a chapel built near the spring, and revealed her mission there by saying, "I come to relieve suffering."

"Believe in Me. I Will Believe in You," Mary Says

When Mariette told stories about the apparitions to her her family, friends, and neighbors, some believed, but many were skeptical. Mariette was taunted by her fellow schoolchildren and even beaten up for saying that she had seen Mary.

A local priest, Father Jamin, instructed Mariette to ask Mary for a sign to help people believe that it was really her who was appearing. So Mariette did so the next time she encountered Mary. In reply, Mary said: "Believe in me. I will believe in you. Pray a great deal."

Mary Urges Lots of Prayer

On the night of the final apparition, Mary's message again focused on the importance of prayer. Encouraging people to pray more is a key theme in the messages from all Marian apparitions around the world.

"I am the Mother of the Savior, Mother of God," Mariette said Mary told her in French. "Pray a great deal. Farewell."

Banneux Becomes a Place of Pilgrimage

Mariette lived a long, quiet life of prayer in the area, passing away in 2011 at age 90. She said of the apparitions: "My mission was like that of a postal worker who delivers the mail. Once this has been done, it's the message, not the messenger, who is important."

The chapel that Mary had requested was built, and millions of people have made pilgrimages there in the years since the apparitions ended.

No matter what kind of suffering and poverty they are dealing with -- in their health, relationships, work, or some other aspect of their lives -- the pilgrims are looking for inspiration from Mary and healing miracles from God.