Banneux is a town in the French-speaking section of Belgium
that in 1935 became the site of a set of apparitions of the
Virgin Mary. These apparitions are often tied to those that occurred
at the end of 1934 at Beauraing, another Belgian community
not far away. It appears that the claims of five children
to be seeing the Virgin at Beauraing was the occasion for the
The apparitions occurred to Mariette Beco, the eleven-yearold
daughter of a non-practicing Catholic family. The first appearance
occurred on January 15, 1935, less than two weeks
after the last sighting at Beauraing. Mariette was looking at the
window when she saw a woman walking in the garden. She recognized
her as the Virgin Mary, but Mariettes mother, who
could not see the figure, would not let her daughter out of the
house. Without mentioning why, on January 18, Mariette went
into the garden and began praying before the figure, who was
enveloped in light. Her father came out but could see nothing.
Then, with a friend who was still a practicing Catholic, he followed
his daughter to a nearby stream where the Virgin told
her that She was setting the stream aside for Her use. In a later
conversation with the local priest, she described the Virgin as
being dressed in white with a blue girdle around her waist. Her
left foot was bare and rested on a golden rose. She had a rosary
in her hand.
At the third apparition the following night, the Virgin described
herself as the Virgin of the Poor. Again she beckoned
for Mariette to follow her to the stream and reiterated its new
use and that she wanted a small chapel built. The stream would
be for the sick of all nations. The five subsequent apparitions,
the last of which occurred on March 2, repeated her message.
One of these apparitions was on February 11, the 75th anniversary
of the first apparition at Lourdes.
The apparitions at Banneux occurred just as controversy
over Beauraing was growing and the country experienced a
number of questionable claims of apparitions related to the
earlier Beauraing sightings. However, the bishop finally appointed
an investigating committee. By that time the stream
had become a place of pilgrimage, especially by the sick and
crippled. Among the early healing was that of Spanish anarchist
Benito Pelegri Garcia, whose arm had been rendered useless
due to a boiler explosion.
In 1942, during the Nazi occupation, the church finished its
study and issued a word of acceptance of the apparition. The
chapel requested by the Virgin had already been built and in
1984 a basilica was started. While hundreds of apparitions of
the Virgin have been reported since, this is the last of the twentieth-century
apparitions that has passed the tests put to it by
the Catholic Churchs authorities.
Connor, Edward. Recent Apparitions of Our Lady. Fresno,
Calif. Academy Library Guild, n.d.
Delaney, John J., ed. A Woman Clothed with the Sun Eight
Great Appearances of Our Lady in Modern Times. Garden City,
N.Y. Hanover House, 1960.