Patti Armstrong is an award-winning author and was the managing editor and co-author of Ascension Press’ bestselling Amazing Grace series. Her latest books are: Big Hearted: Inspiring Stories From Everyday Families and Dear God, You Can’t Be Serious. She has a B.A. in social work and an M.A. in public administration and worked in both those fields before staying home to work as a freelance writer. Patti and her husband live in North Dakota, where they are still raising the tail end of their 10 children.
Our Blessed Mother has so many titles that for a long time, I failed to realize that a favorite prayer I use in our missal, “Prayer to Our Lady of Beauraing,” came from a Church-approved Marian apparition. After investigating the story, I am in awe at the events and Our Blessed Mother’s promise to convert sinners that she made to us through 5 children in Beauraing, a town of about 2,000 in Belgium.
Our Lady of Beauraing, also known as the Virgin of the Golden Heart, appeared to Fernande Voisin (15), Andree Degeimbre (14), Gilberte Voisin (13) Albert Voisin (11) and Gilberte Degeimbre (9) between November 29, 1932 and January 3, 1933. The children were from two different families—three from a railway clerk and his wife, and two girls from a farmer's widow.
On the evening of 29 November 1932, four of the children walked to a convent school run by the Sisters of Christian Doctrine to meet up with one of the girls and walk home with her. When they reached the school, Albert pointed to a lady dressed in a long white robe, near a railroad viaduct just past the school. She looked to be around 18-20 years old with deep blue eyes, and a rosary hung from her arm.
When Albert asked, "Are you the Immaculate Virgin?" The Lady smiled and nodded her head. "What do you want?" he asked.
"Always be good,” our Blessed Mother answered.
The other children saw her as well. Over the next several weeks, they saw the Lady thirty-two more times, generally in the garden of the convent school. The final apparition was on January 3, 1933.
Initially, the children’s parents and the mother superior, Mother Theophile, did not believe their story and told them to stop talking about it. Their families were devout, but much of the town had grown lukewarm and even hostile to the Catholic faith. The Socialists, who were opposed to the Church, won in most of the local elections.
Here is an excerpt from the full text of the Church’s ruling.
Mother Theophile ordered the gates of the garden locked at dusk, and she put two fierce dogs inside.
On Saturday, in obedience to the Superior, the children stayed away from the garden. They were sad because they would not see their Lady that day. At dusk, when Mother Theophile went out to lock the garden gate, she found a crowd of 150 standing in the street.
"You are wasting your time here," Mother Theophile said. "There is nothing to see."
"What a Socialist we have in this woman," said a member of the crowd. "She has less belief in this business than we have."
The next day, Mother Theophile relented. She said that because the children had obeyed her they could again come to he garden.
The apparitions continued. For the first few apparitions in the garden, the Lady was already visible when the children got there. Later, she became visible after the children had begun to recite the rosary. They had formed the habit of saying the rosary as soon as they arrived in the garden. Each time Our Lady appeared, the children felt themselves drawn to a kneeling position, almost as if they were thrown to their knees.
The Blessed Mother urged that people pray much, that a chapel be built, and that people come there in pilgrimage. During the last apparition on January 3, 1933, Our Lady stated: "I will convert sinners. I am the Mother of God, the Queen of heaven." She revealed her Golden Heart and asked one of the children to sacrifice for her. Twenty thousand persons were present that day.
Three times the Blessed Mother urged the children to pray. In her final apparition she spoke to Fernande Voisin: Do you love my Son? Do you love me? Then sacrifice yourself for me.
During one of the visions, separate physicians examined all 5 of the children while they were in ecstasy. A lighted match was even held under Gilberte’s hand, to which she did not respond. Afterwards, there was no burn mark on her hand and she had no knowledge of what had been done to her.
The apparitions were approved on July 2, 1949 by the Bishop of Namur. Also approved were “the miraculous nature of two cures obtained through the intercession of Our Lady of Beauraing, occurring in the months which followed the events at Beauraing, among many other cases of spiritual and temporal favors.”
The feast day of Our Lady of Beauraing was placed on the liturgical calendar on August 22, which had been the feast day of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It was later called The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Prayer to Our Lady of Beauraing
Our Lady of Beauraing, Immaculate Virgin, carry to Jesus, your Son, all the intentions which we confide to you this day. (Here mention your intentions)
Mother with the Golden Heart, mirror of the tenderness of the Father, look with love upon the men and women of our time and fill them with the joy of your presence.
You who promised to convert sinners, help us discover the infinite mercy of our God. Awaken in us the grace of conversion so that all our life becomes the reflection of this mercy.
Holy Mother of God, look down upon our miseries, console us in our sorrows, give strength to all those who are suffering.
Queen of Heaven, crowned with light, help us grow in faith, hope and love, and we shall be able to give thanks without end.
You brought Jesus into the world, may we by prayer, by sharing His Word and by the testimony of our life filled with love and joy make Him be born in all hearts.
May every instant of our life be a YES to the question, which you are asking us today: Do you love my son? Do you love me? Then the reign of Jesus will come into the world. Amen.
(IMPRIMATUR: Namur, 16 juillet 1996 + J.M. Huet vic. épisc.)
For More Information
The last living visionary, Gilberte Degeimbre, died only recently at the age of 91, on February 10, 2015.
with Gilberte Degeimbre, one of the visionaries who recounts the experience.