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Visionary who reported eight apparitions of Mary dies aged 90

The shrine at Banneux, Belgium

The girl who saw apparitions of the Virgin Mary at Banneux, Belgium, died last week at the age of 90.

Mariette Beco reported eight apparitions of the Virgin Mary between January 15 and March 2 1933, in the small town south-east of Liège.

A statement on the website of the shrine of Our Lady of Banneux said: “Mariette’s last years were those of most elderly persons with both joys and sufferings. The rector of the shrine of Banneux, Fr Leo Palm, had several encounters with Mariette. He remembers her as a person loved by her family and attached to her son and her grandchildren. Mariette also mourned her two daughters, one who died in her childhood, the second who died in 2008, aged 61.”

Bishop Louis-Joseph Kerkhofs of Liège recognised the apparitions of Banneux in 1949, marking the official recognition by the Church.

Mariette led a very quiet life after the apparitions and did not make any further public comments.

In 2008, the year of the official ceremonies of the 75th anniversary of the apparitions, she asked Fr Joseph Cassart, then rector of the shrine, to publish a letter in which she made her final statement about the apparitions.

She said: “I was no more then a postman who delivers the mail. Once this has been done, the postman is of no importance any more.” Mariette reported her first apparition on the evening of Sunday, January 15, as she stood at the kitchen window in her home in Banneux.

It was then that she said she saw the Virgin Mary beckon to her from the garden but her mother was afraid and stopped her daughter from going outside. Seven apparitions followed, during which Our Lady of Banneux said: “I am the Virgin of the Poor” and “I come to relieve suffering.”