Those who specialize in Marian studies call the years between 1830 and 1954 an "Age of Mary." During those 125 years Our Lady appeared in Paris, La Salette, Lourdes, Pontmain, Knock, Fatima, Beauraing, and Banneux. Two Marian dogmas were also declared.
Both the apparitions of Beauraing and Banneux took place in 1930s Belgium, with the appearances of Our Lady at Banneux to Mariette Beco resembling the apparitions of Our Lady to Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes.
Mariette Beco was born in Banneux on March 25, 1921, the eldest of a family of seven children. Her family was not devout. Mariette didn't do well at catechism class and had stopped attending classes for first Communion.
On Sunday, January 15, 1933, Mariette, 11, was sitting at the kitchen window looking out onto the small garden. It was 7 pm and Mariette was waiting for her brother to come home. Suddenly she saw a young woman dressed in white with a bright blue sash.
One of the woman's feet could be seen, barefoot, with a gold rose between her toes.
Mariette told her mother about the vision and insisted she come over to the window to see for herself. Her mother could see a white shape but couldn't make out any figures and thought it might be a witch.
Mariette said, "She is beautiful, Mama. She is smiling at me."
Mariette noticed the lady had a rosary, while her cross was the same color of gold as the rose between her toes.
Immediately Mariette went to a drawer, took out a rosary, and started to pray. The lady moved her lips, but Mariette couldn't hear what she said.
After a few decades, the Lady raised her hand and motioned with her finger for Mariette to come outside. The girl asked permission to leave the house but her mother would not let her go. When Mariette returned to the window, the lady had disappeared.
The next day, Mariette told a friend what she saw. The friend encouraged Mariette to tell the priest. They walked to the priest's office, but Mariette backed out at the last minute and ran off. Her friend told the priest, who thought Mariette was influenced by the recent reported apparitions in Beauraing, Belgium.
The apparition caused Mariette to return to catechism class, where she knew her lesson well. This amazed the priest, because Mariette had been the worst student.
After class, the priest asked Mariette why she had run away from his office without telling him what she had seen. With the priest's encouragement, Mariette was not afraid anymore and told him what she saw.
The priest suggested she had seen a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes, but Mariette insisted that the lady she had seen was inclined forward and much more beautiful. The priest told Mariette to pray to Our Lady for guidance.
That evening at 7 pm, Mariette left the house for the yard, as if compelled by some inner force. She fell to her knees and prayed. Mariette's father, Julien, was a fallen-away Catholic and followed his daughter to see what happened.
Our Lady appeared in the distance above the woods. For about 20 minutes, Mariette prayed with her before Our Lady motioned her to follow her. Mariette knelt down three times on the road, prayed, and then arrived at a small stream. Our Lady said, "Put your hands in the water! This fountain is reserved for me. Goodnight. Good bye."
Around 10 p.m., the priest came to the Beco's house. Mariette's father, Julien, told the priest what happened and decided to return to the practise of the faith. He made a general confession and started attending Mass.