ADVENTUROUS TRIPS TO BANNEUX AND BEAURAING
Banneux is a lonely and muddy hamlet in the Ardennes near Liege. You can go there by bicycle from Maastricht, even in winter. But you will need to put on warm clothes. It is a beautiful but hard trip over the plateau of Herve. From the valley of the Vesdre near Pepinster you have to go up by a route that is very steep and winding. The sun blinds you, and shows the way south. There on top of the hill stands the chapel of Tancrémont among the fir-woods, with a wooden crucifix from the eleventh century. Banneux is a few kilometers further on.
Mariette Beco was eleven years old when she saw there the Virgin Mary. Mariette had a sober and practical nature. Yet she went outside more than once in the frosty cold, that pre-war winter, to see her apparition. Mary led her to a water-spring 'for the sick'. This spring is Jesus: origin and end of all that is created.
The place is still rather lonesome, although there are now among other things a series of little shops and restaurants, and a chapel. You can light a candle and let the spring water flow over your hands. On Christmas Eve there are crowds of people. Then the pilgrims come together for the Mass in the middle of the night. It is a pity that the Mass has changed so much since the days of the apparitions.
On Christmas Eve, you must not come by bicycle. It is dangerous and impossible to go down that dark steep hill by bicycle, for there are no cycling-tracks, and you are blinded every moment by the head-lights of approaching cars. There will be luxury Christmas buses that bring you there, and back home.
In summer the place is beautiful too. You can quieten down there and get inspiration for the rest of your life. Reserve three days for that, or else you will not quieten down. Three days to think about the gospel of Saint John, where Jesus calls Himself 'the light of the world', and 'living water'.
Beauraing is a pretty large village in the southern Ardennes of Belgium, near Dinant.
From Maastricht you can go there by train, if you don't mind to change trains three times.
You need a whole day. It is a wonderful trip past the river Maas and the rocks.
I went there on a fine autumn day. When I arrived in the afternoon at the spot of the appearances, the sun sent its rays from behind the high railroad bridge between the branches of the hawthorn on the beautiful statue of virgin Mary.
At this spot, virgin Mary appeared to five Walloon children, in the last days of 1932. All of a sudden, some strange force threw them on their their knees, and they saw the apparition in trance. During that December month, Mary appeared to them almost every evening. Crowds flocked in that place and saw each time how the children continued the praying of the Rosary in a higher heavenly voice, as soon as they saw Mary.
I prayed the chaplet before the statue, and asked Mary whether most sinners would be saved or not. And I suddenly recognized that the Beauraing messages give a clear answer to that question. For Mary said to the children, among other things: "Pray always!", and: "I will reclaim the sinners".
When the appearances stopped, in the first days of 1933, shortly afterwards appearances began in Banneux.
For the Liege address where tridentine Holy Mass is being celebrated, click here .