BRIEF BACKGROUND HISTORY FOR THE THIRTY THREE APPARITIONS AT BEAURAING BELGIUM
In 1932 the Communists were in power in Russia and were trying to extend their Godless rule throughout the world. Mussolini, master of Italy, was persecuting the Church. Adolf Hitler was rising in Germany and would assume complete power within a few months. Communists, Fascists, and Nazis were all aided by the unrest caused by the world wide depression.
War was in the winds.
Our Lady of Fatima had prophesied World War II in 1917, fifteen years previously. She had said that “a night, illumined by an unknown light, would precede a war in which the good will be martyred and the Holy Father will have much to suffer” if God’s will was not carried out. That Divine Will was and is … the ‘Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary’ in union with all the Bishops of the world. on the same day’
Her message at Beauraing was more than spoken words. She did not mention her Immaculate Heart in her spoken words to the children but she showed it as a Heart of Gold. This Golden Heart was a reminder of the Fatima message of the Immaculate Heart. It was more eloquent than words.
THE STORY OF THE CHURCH APPROVED APPARITIONS IN BEAURAING BELGIUM TO FIVE CHILDREN
On the evening of November 29, 1932, Fernande and Albert Voisin started toward the Academy to walk home with their sister, Gilberte. Fernande was fifteen and looked younger. She was small, with brown eyes, black hair and olive colored skin. She had a pleasing smile and gentle disposition. Albert was eleven, had an oval face, large sparkling blue eyes and lips that seemed always about to break into a laugh.
On their way, Fernande and Albert passed the home of the Degeimbre family. They rapped at the kitchen shutters, and, in a few moments were joined by two of the Degeimbre girls, Andree and Gilberte. Andree was fourteen and looked to be about sixteen. She was blonde, shy, and somewhat slow in speech. Gilberte Degeimbre was nine with blonde hair and azure blue eyes. She was an honest and straight forward child and one of her teacher said she would never tell a lie. These two Degeimbre girls lived with their widowed mother, and, their older sister Jeanne.
These are the five children. Two of the girls were named Gilberte. To distinguish them, the neighbors called the Voisin girl “Big Gilberte” and the Degeimbre girl “little Gilberte”
Albert was the only boy. He loved mischief and on the way to the Academy that night he rang five doorbells, and, then ran away. Each time, the girls joined him in flight.
After the children had walked a short distance from the Degeimbre home, they arrived at the convent where the school was located. Just past the convent the street was crossed by a high railroad viaduct.
The railroad embankment ran behind the convent and its grounds. The convent grounds were on the right hand of the street as the children faced the embankment. An iron fence surmounting a low stone wall separated the convent garden from the cobblestone street. Behind the garden and facing the street was the large brick building which housed both the sisters’ convent and the Academy.
The children climbed the few steps which led to the convent door and rang the doorbell. As they waited for the Sister portress to answer the bell, Albert turned and looked in the direction of the viaduct about fifty yards away.
“Look” he cried. “The Blessed Virgin, dressed in white, is walking above the bridge!”
At first, the girls thought that Albert was up to his tricks. Then they saw the wonder on his face. They looked, and they saw the luminous figure of a lady dressed in white. She was walking in the air. Through the folds of the lady’s robe they could see the movements of her knees as she walked. Her feet were hidden in a cloud.
Frightened, the children rang the doorbell insistently. Sister Valeria opened the door and did not notice the children’s excitement. She went to get ‘little’ Gilberte Voisin, and, as she was helping her put her coat on she noticed how agitated the waiting children were.”Look Sister, the Virgin is walking above the grotto.” Sister opened the door wider and said she could see nothing. Then little Gilberte Voisin came, all ready to go home with them, and she too could see the lady.
“Ohhh” she cried.
The frightened children ran down the garden path and to the street and on to the Degeimbre home. Mrs. Degeimbre did not believe the excited children. The three Voisin children went on to their home and their parents did not believe them either.
The next evening the four children once more set out to meet little Gilberte at the convent. As they started home with her, they suddenly saw the Lady again.She was walking over the railroad viaduct as she had the night before.
The children ran into the Degeimbre house shouting: “We’ve seen her. It is the Blessed Virgin, and she is so much more beautiful than any of her statues.” Mrs. Degeimbre was very upset and thought that someone was playing a trick on the children.
PARENTS AND NEIGHBORS STARTING TO BELIEVE
The next evening she and a group of neighbors followed the children when they went to the convent. Mrs. Degeimbre was armed with a stout stick. The children were still out on the street when they saw the Lady again.Her hands were joined, her eyes raised to heaven. She smiled at the children and disappeared.
Little Gilberte Degeimbre, the youngest of the five, was so overcome by the beauty of Our Lady that she had to be taken home. Big Gilberte stayed with her while the other three children went back to the convent. This time, the parents went along.Before they had entered the convent gate the children shouted: “There she is!” They fell to their knees as if they had been struck down. In high-pitched voices they began to pray”Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee…..”
They were all looking at a Hawthorne tree which was inside the garden. The Lady was beneath an arched branch of this tree. ” She looked young, about eighteen or twenty; her smile lighted up her features. Her eyes were a beautiful deep blue. rays of light came from her head. She wore a long heavily pleated gown without a belt” And the children also said that “the dress reflected kind of a blue light”. She held her hands as ” if she were praying, but parted them just before she disappeared, like the priest at the “Dominus Vobiscum” She had no Rosary during this apparition but would appear later with it.
HENCEFORTH SHE WOULD ALWAYS APPEAR BENEATH THE ARCHED BRANCH OF THE HAWTHORNE TREE
This sixth vision set a pattern. The Lady always appeared beneath the arched branch and the children would always pray in voices that were higher pitched than their normal voices. The two mothers consulted Father Leon Lambert, their pastor. He advised them not to talk to anymore about the matter. However everyone in the village was talking about it.
THE CHILDREN ARE EXAMINED BY DOCTORS
The apparitions continued and large crowds were drawn. Beginning on December 6 the children were taken to the convent after each apparition and were questioned separately by Doctors and others. Extensive notes were taken. On December 8 there were fifteen thousand people.
Doctor Maistriaux felt Albert’s pulse. Albert turned to look at him and then turned back to the vision. Little Gilberte wept . Dr. Maistriaux asked her why. “Because she is so beautiful.” Gilberte answered. A few moments later Doctor Maistriaux asked Gilberte the same question but received no answer. The girl had not heard him. Then he again took Albert’s pulse. The boys eyes did not leave the vision.
Doctor Lurquin of Houyet held a lighted match under Big Gilberte Voisin’s hand and held it there until the fire had consumed half the match. She did not notice it. Other doctors pinched, slapped, and pricked the five children. They shined flashlights into their eyes. There was no reaction.
When the vision was over, Fernande said: “I could see nothing, neither fence nor tree, nor crowd … only the Holy Virgin who smiled at us.”
On December 17 Our Lady asked “for a chapel”
Four days later she said:: “I am the Immaculate Virgin”
On December 23 Fernande asked: “Why do you come?” Our Lady answered: “That people might come here on pilgrimages.”
On December 28 she said: “Soon I shall appear for the last time”
On December 29 the Blessed Virgin opened her arms in farewell, and when she did so Fernande saw in the region of the Virgin’s chest a heart of gold surrounded by glittering rays.
On this occasion Our Lady said to Fernande: “Pray, Pray very much.”
On December 30, in addition to showing Her Golden Heart to three of the children, Our Lady said: “Pray. Pray very much.”
On January 1 she said to Gilberte Voisin: “Pray always.”
On January 2 She said: “Tomorrow I will speak to each one of you seeparately.”
January 3, 1933 A great crowd was there for what was expected to be the final apparition. The children gave a joyful shout and fell to their knees. Fernande only was not able to see the vision. She sobbed.
Our Lady spoke to Little Gilberte, and gave her a secret that has never been revealed. Little Gilberte wept because she knew she would never see Our Lady again.
To Big Gilberte she uttered the words that are considered the Great Promise of Beauraing : “I will convert sinners.” She then told her a secret and said: “Goodbye”
She told Albert a secret and said: “Goodbye”
To Andree she said: “I am the Mother of God, the Queen of Heaven. Pray always”
Then she said “goodbye” to Andree while disappearing and showing the Heart of Gold as she disappeared.
Fernande was grief stricken at not seeing the Virgin. She wept. She remained kneeling … suddenly she heard a loud noise like a clap of thunder and saw a ball of fire on the hawthorne tree. Many of the people also heard this noise and saw the fire. Then Fernande saw her.
Because Our Lady had saved Fernande’s message till last it seems that she wished to place special emphasis on it:
“Do you love my Son”
“Do you love me?”
“Then sacrifice yourself for me.”
She glowed more brilliantly than before and extended her arms in farewell. As she rose she showed the Heart of Gold. Fernande wept and sank to the ground. She was helped into the convent.
Following the apparitions there were many documented miracles and the famous conversion of the editor of the Belgian Communist newspaper Le Drapeau Rouge (The Red Flag)
February 2, 1935 Bishop Andre-Marie Charue authorized public devotions
July 2, 1949 The same Bishop in a letter to the clergy wrote: We are able in all serenity and prudence to affirm that the Queen of Heaven appeared to the children of Beauraing during the winter of 1932-1933 especially to show us in her maternal Heart the anxious appeal for prayer and the promise of her powerful mediation for the conversion of sinners.”
Drawn From: The Virgin With The Golden Heart in the Book ‘A Woman Clothed With the Sun ‘ story by John J. Delaney, Editor