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Catholic Dictionary




The shrine of Our Lady of the Poor, near the city of Liège in the Flemish village of Banneux. Devotion to Mary began as a result of an apparition to a poor twelve-year-old Belgian child in the garden of her home on January 16, 1933. Our Lady told her that she had come to relieve the ills and sufferings of the poor of all nations. A painting on the wall of the village's chapel made according to the child's description shows Mary robed in white with a blue sash and with a rosary over her right arm. On January 18, 1933, the child's father, an avowed atheist, accompanied his daughter to the harden, and although he did not see the Virgin he was instantly converted, overwhelmed in the presence of an unseen power. After years of investigation, the Holy See authorized public devotion to Our Lady of Banneux, patroness of the poor, in 1942. Formal approval was given by the Bishop of Liège in 1949, and a statue of that title was solemnly crowned in 1956. Pilgrims from many countries came to worship at the shrine. Over one hundred shrines throughout the world are dedicated to Our Lady of Banneux.