The story behind the celebration
+ This tile of Mary, also known as the “Virgin of the Golden Heart,” is associated with 33 apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Beauraing, Belgium, between November 29, 1932, and January 3, 1933.
+ The visionaries included five children, ages 9 to 15: Fernande (15), Gilberte (13), and Albert Voisin (11), and Andree (14) and Gilberte Degeimbre (9).
+ On November 29, 1932, the children were walking to a school conducted by the Sisters of Christian Doctrine when they saw a Woman dressed in a long white robe. Over the next several weeks, they saw the Woman again in the garden of the convent-school.
+ The Woman requested that a chapel be built on that site and she declared, “I am the Immaculate Virgin;” in one of the final visions, she revealed to the children her golden heart. The consistent message of the apparitions was that the children, “Pray, pray, pray.”
+ In 1943, the bishop of Namur authorized public devotion to the apparitions and the Holy See granted final approbation of the apparitions in 1949.
“Let us come to his bride, his mother, his perfect handmaid, for the blessed Mary is all of this. But what are we to do for her? What kind of gifts shall we offer her? Would that we could at least return what we are in duty bound to do, for we owe her honor and service, we owe her love and praise. We owe her honor, for she is the mother of our Lord.”—Saint Aelred of Rievaulx
God of mercy,
give us strength.
May we who honor the memory of the Mother of God
rise above our sins and failings with the help of her prayers.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Liturgy of the Hours: Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.