January 15, January 18, and January 19. During these encounters, Mariette saw a woman “made of light” smiling at her through her kitchen window, eventually following the Blessed Virgin, praying with her, and obeying her instructions to claim a small stream of water for her. The Blessed Mother said to Mariette, “I am the Virgin of the Poor” and “This spring is reserved for all nations- to relieve the sick.” Eyewitnesses saw Mariette speaking, but were unable to discern Our Holy Mother. Both her parents and Church authorities were skeptical of her claims.
Following her last visitation with Our Lady, Mariette had become quite ill, the many nights of praying the Rosary outside in the Belgian winter taking their toll. On January 20, Mariette returned to the garden, kneeling in the snow, and beginning the Rosary. Upon seeing Mary, Mariette asked, “Beautiful Lady, what are Your wishes?” The Virgin of the Poor requested a small chapel be built, and then blessed Mariette with the Sign of the Cross to complete the task. Due to her illness, Mariette lost consciousness and was carried inside where she slept peacefully through the night.
Despite her illness and the freezing cold, Mariette continued to return to the garden each night to pray the Rosary, but would not again encounter our Blessed Mother until February 11, the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes. Despite adults, including her parents, having been with her during the apparitions, none yet believed.
Our Lady of Banneux, the Virgin of the Poor, would appear to Mariette four more times over the course of the next month. Her message each time was to pray for the poor, for the sick, and for sinners.
Blessed Virgin of the Poor, lead us to Jesus, Source of grace.
Blessed Virgin of the Poor, save all nations.
Blessed Virgin of the Poor, relieve the sick.
Blessed Virgin of the Poor, alleviate suffering.
Blessed Virgin of the Poor, pray for each one of us.
Blessed Virgin of the Poor, we believe in you.
Blessed Virgin of the Poor, believe in us.
Blessed Virgin of the Poor, we will pray hard.
Blessed Virgin of the Poor, bless us.
Blessed Virgin of the Poor, Mother of the Savior, Mother of God, we thank You.
Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?
Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."
To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."
As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."