by HFH Reuvers


Throughout the centuries, virgin Mary appeared to many people. I only review the most important appearances of the last two hundred years.

In 1858, virgin Mary appeared eighteen times to Bernadette Soubirous in Lourdes. She was a poor child, but not nearly dumb. It happened in a grotto where workers would dump hospital refuse. Of course, many people thought the girl lied, but some were so curious as to accompany her to the grotto. A large number of people witnessed how Bernadette began digging in the ground and washing her face with wet mud, apparently by order of the apparition. A well sprang up there, and soon ill people recovered miraculously at the spot. During severe examinations the girl kept insisting the apparition had said to her: "I am the Immaculate Conception."
Bernadette entered a convent in Nevers, and deceased when she was still young. Mary said she was to be happy 'not in this world, but in the next'. Up to our days, the corpse of Bernadette did not decay.

In 1917, Mary appeared to three little shepherds in Fatima, namely to Lúcia dos Santos and to Francisco and Jacinta Martos. She said Lucia was to stay on the earth for a while, but the two little ones could soon go to heaven. And she gave the children a vision of hell. They were so frightened they began praying a lot of chaplets and making many little sacrifices 'for the conversion of the poor sinners'. During the last appearance, a large crowd witnessed a miracle: the sun rotated very fast about its centre, and seemed to fall down on the earth.
Within a few years, Jacinta and Francisco died after having endured their illness like heroes. Lucia lived on to become very old and corresponded with the popes about the secrets Mary had revealed to her during the appearances. These are related to the second world war, the downfall of communism in Russia and the dangers threatening the Church.

In the winter of 1932 and 1933, Mary appeared in Belgium to some children in Beauraing and Banneux. She led Mariette Béco to a well 'for the sick'. This well is Jesus: origin and destination of all things created.