Blessed Virgin of the Poor, Our Blessed Mother at Banneux, Belgium, to eleven year old Mariette Beco in 1933. The first six apparitions occurred on January 15, January 18, January 19, January 20, February 11, and February 15. 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. She further told Mariette, “I have come to relieve suffering.” Following Mariette’s request for a sign as to who she was, Our Blessed Mother replied, “Believe in me- and I will believe in you.”
“My dear child, pray hard.”
Our Lady of Banneux, the Virgin of the Poor, would appear to Mariette only once more, on March 2. By the time of the seventh visitation, a small crowd had gathered, and the tale of Mariette Beco was becoming well known. Local priests and bishops had inquired, and the sick and the ill had already begun to travel to the humble spring beside the road near the Beco’s home. One bishop, Louis-Joseph Kerkhofs, Bishop of Liège making the trip at the of the apparitions, wrote the following prayer:
O virgin of the Poor, may you ever be blessed!
And blessed be He who deigned to send you to us.
What you have been and are to us now, you will always be to those who, like us, and better then us, offer their faith and their prayer.
You will be all for us, as you revealed yourself at Banneux: Mediatrix of all graces, the Mother of the Saviour, Mother of God. A compassionate and powerful Mother who loves the poor and all Peaople, who alleviates suffering, who saves individuals and all humanity, Queen and Mother of all Nations, who came to lead all those who allow themselves to be guided by you, to Jesus the true and only Source of eternal life.
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."