January 15, January 18, January 19, and January 20. 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.” The Virgin of the Poor requested that a small chapel be built. Eyewitnesses saw Mariette speaking, but were unable to discern Our Holy Mother. Both her parents and Church authorities were skeptical of her claims.
During the three weeks following the apparition on January 20, Mariette (despite being quite ill from many nights in the winter cold praying) continued to pray the Holy Rosary on the roadside beside the holy spring each night, awaiting the return of the Blessed Mother. On the evening of February 11, the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes, the Blessed Virgin of the Poor again appeared to Mariette, while she was kneeling, praying her second Rosary of the evening. Witnesses observed her genuflecting and bowing, as well as reaching her hands into the cold spring water and blessing herself with the Sign of the Cross. Our Blessed Mother, heard and seen only by Mariette, spoke, saying, “I come to relieve suffering.” After Mariette thanked her, and she departed into the sky as in previous apparitions, Mariette tearfully ran to her family priest, explaining the events of the evening. She was upset, as she did not understand the word “relieve.” The priest, still doubtful, pressed her to demand a sign from the Blessed Virgin during her next encounter.
Our Lady of Banneux, the Virgin of the Poor, would appear to Mariette three more times over the course of the next month. Her message each time was to believe in her, and pray for the poor, for the sick, and for sinners everywhere.
Our Lady of Banneux, Mother of Our Savior, Mother of God, Virgin of the Poor, since thou hast promised to believe in us if we believe in thee, I put all my trust in thee.
Deign to listen to the prayers that thou hast asked be addressed to thee;
have pity on all our spiritual and temporal miseries. Restore to sinners the treasure of Faith, and give to the poor their daily bread.
Deign to relieve suffering, to heal the sick and to pray for us, so that thus through thy intercession, the reign of Christ the King may extend over all nations. Amen.
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."