Beauraing is a village in the Belgian Ardennes. In 1932 it had about 2,000 inhabitants with a church, a boys' school, two girls' schools, and the ruins of an old castle. At the end of that year, something happened that stirred the spirits of all of Belgium and the surrounding countries: The Virgin Mary is said to have appeared there to 5 children from two different families.
The first apparition took place on November 29, 1932. Fernande (15 years) and Albert Voisin (11 years) go with their girlfriend Andrée (14 years) and Gilberte Degeimbre (9 years) to pick up their sister Gilberte Voisin (13 years) from school. While they are waiting in front of the boarding house, Albert suddenly sees a lady dressed in white floating in the room above the Lourdes Grotto. When he screams, the others also see the white figure. The sister who opens the door kindly says that an image cannot move and they imagine it. The children run home in fear. The parents admonish them not to tell anyone about it. But the next day the whole village knows about the event.
|The children of Beauraing|
On November 30, around the same time, all five of them see the apparition over a railway viaduct. For the first time, they see how beautiful the apparition is. Again the children are not believed. The sisters of the boarding school to which they belong forbid them to speak about it. But then at the fourth apparition, the Virgin Mary moves to the new building of the sisters and stands there, under the bent branches of the hawthorn bush. She opens her hands in greeting, smiles, and disappears again.
|A memorial statue at the site of the apparitions|
The Virgin Mary has appeared more than 30 times in the same place, the last apparition was in January 1933. She always appeared on a hawthorn bush and only at night. She also had personal messages for the children in which she said that she is the mother of God and that they should pray a lot. The apparitions are eventually recognized by the Catholic Church. In 1949, the Bishop of Namur recognized the credibility of this apparition. They are now one of sixteen supernatural Marian apparitions accepted by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. She was given the name The Virgin with the Heart of Gold because the children thought they saw a golden heart on her chest.
The garden in which she appeared is now one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in Belgium