Our Lady appeared at Fatima in the middle of World War I. Her 1917 messages did not get approved by the Bishop of Portugal until 1930, and they would suffer further delay to the international world by the modernist Belgian Jesuit, Father Edouard Dhanis who is still touted as an expert because he published long articles expressing his doubts on various aspects of Mary’s messages. But Mary’s previous apparitions and her calls for penance, and the horrors of World War I, should have been a sufficient wake-up call to conversion. Instead, humanity reveled in new prosperity, new inventions and endless distractions. The 1920s brought dramatic social and political change and a dramatic break between America’s past and future. European countries had borrowed much money from the United States to fund World War I, and now Europe was paying back with interest. Our nation’s total wealth more than doubled that decade. For the first time, more Americans lived in cities than on farms. People bought automobiles, listened to jazz, danced the Charleston, the cake walk, the black bottom, and the flea hop. 100 million phonograph records sold in 1927. Immodest fashions were a serious problem. Many women used contraceptive devices. We were in moral decline.
God sent a new wake-up call: the Great Depression. It began in the United States with a collapse on the New York Stock Exchange in October 1929 but this quickly turned into a worldwide economic slump because of the close relationship between the United States and European economies which had been forged during and after World War I. The United States had emerged from the war as the major creditor and financier, but now the flow of American investment credits to Europe dried up, so prosperity began to collapse in Europe. International trade was reduced by almost by half. It was the longest and most severe depression ever experienced by the industrialized Western world, lasting all the way to 1939 which opened into something worse, exactly what Mary predicted: World War II. Millions of fathers and sons of families would no longer suffer from being out of work during the Great Depression because, they’d fall dead or wounded on battlefields.
The Unknown Light
On July 13th 1917, with a sad expression on her face, the Blessed Mother said to the children at Fatima,
You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end; but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that He is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.
Did the unknown light come before World War II? During the evening and night of January 25, 1938 when the Church commemorates Christ’s calling of Paul to conversion, a most extraordinary Aurora Borealis startled witnesses in most countries of Europe, the United Kingdom, Finland, Scandinavia, the United States, Canada and even as far south as North Africa and the Balkans. Such intensity in those latitudes was beyond exceptional. This kind of light had not been “known” before in living memory. If one comes across a random remark that such colors and intensity had not been reported in fifty years, these would have been isolated local reports. An aurora described in one place would not correspond in description to another place on the same night because the atmosphere is not uniform, hence it causes the lights to be experienced very differently. Northern Lights are the result of collisions between gaseous particles in the atmosphere.
Let’s cite some reports that were published in 1938 by the Bulletin of the Astronomical Society of France and Monthly Review of Astronomy, Meteorology and Globular Physics. The Society received notices all through the night:
In the streets there is panic. “Paris is on fire!” In several villages of the province firemen are mobilized. An immense blood-red glow was extending over the sky.
This remarkable aurora was the first ever observed from the station of Pic du Midi. It constitutes a rare phenomenon for this latitude. . .The first impression was of a gigantic conflagration.
A French student aged ten: Yesterday evening there was a great red cloud; it was like a sheet of blood, then the cloud grew larger, forming great red threads, which kept going up, and below that, white threads, like lines of chalk.
In Oise, France Monsieur Henri Blain at first believed that it was the grim reflection of a vast inferno . . . These red glows . . . were absolutely comparable to the very vivid reflections of a violent, nearby inferno.
The intensity of this extraordinary celestial spectacle, its splendid brightness, its enormous extent, its extreme rarity at this intensity especially in our regions, and even more so in this season of the year, seemed worthy to us of being pointed out to the Society immediately.
In Picardie France: The blazing sky was being reflected in our faces; my wife, who was admiring the phenomenon at my side, appeared to me in a red reflection which seemed to me unreal. At a quarter to eight, the red glow reached its maximum intensity, almost the whole sky seemed to be on fire. A second drapery was quickly lit up, its luminosity was such that I could tell the time on my watch. The spectacle was extraordinary. A [neighbor] believed very seriously that it was announcing the end of the world! The cocks began crowing as though it were sunrise!
A witness from Vaucluse was surprised to notice a great red sheet in the sky. For a moment it resembled a fire to me somewhere in the surrounding area, whose glowing light was reflected in the clouds.
In North Africa this Aurora Borealis was so intense that an admiral whose ships were cruising near the coast ordered a destroyer to turn towards the left, towards the northwest, for he too believed that a fire was in the distance.
Another witness reports: This aurora was visible in almost all of Tunisia. It is a very rare phenomenon in our region since a similar one has not been recorded since 1891.
In Tunisia: It looked like a vast red or rose colored glow, more or less streaked with white… The natives, who were very frightened, saw in it a warning of the divine wrath; the Europeans believed it was a huge, distant fire. The descriptions coming from various points . . . reveals that the phenomenon had an astonishing uniformity: the sky turning red, a large reddish band which at first resembled a fire . . . the blazing sky . . . a general blaze in the sky,the color of a red brick, etc. The phenomenon was visible in all of North Africa.
In Italy: A phenomenon extremely rare in our country . . . a phenomenon very rare over here, which nobody can remember having seen in fifty years. At Lisbon and in all Portugal . . . almost all the spectators believed that the sky was being lighted up by an enormous fire; and I myself believed the same thing at first. The apparition lasted almost two hours, from ten o’clock until midnight . . . Its color was a more or less intense red.
In the United States: This aurora was spectacular . . . Early in the evening my attention was drawn to the east by an enormous conflagration. Over a wide area the sky was alight with a red glow and I believed at first that a great fire was devouring Hampton Beach. The aurora was also observed in Canada.
The astronomer, Carl Stromer, reports that one of his correspondents in Norway, at the station of Njuke Mountain (Tuddal), signaled to him that he had heard noises while the aurora was at its height and the sky seemed to be an ocean of flames . . . The observer and his assistant heard a curious sound coming from above them . . . which lasted about ten minutes, rose to a maximum and then vanished, following the fluctuations of the aurora’s intensity. This sound, which resembled the crackle of burning grass, was perceived in the same region, in the Tuddal valley, by Mr. Oysteim Reisjaa. Everything was perfectly calm on the mountain, and nothing could explain the production of this noise, neither the wind, which was not blowing, nor the telegraph lines, nor motors. Above the observatories, from all sides, there was not a murmur in the forest [http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread393126/pg1, and other sites].
Six weeks after the “unknown light”
— March 12–Hitler accompanied German troops to occupy Austria.
— All summer Hitler makes demands to claim Czechoslavakia for Germany
— October 16–Winston Churchill calls upon America and western Europe to prepare for armed resistance against Hitler.
— October–The Imperial Japanese Army largely overruns Canton.
— November 9–Kristallnacht: In Germany, the “night of broken glass” begins as Nazi activists and sympathizers loot and burn Jewish businesses. That night 7,500 Jewish businesses destroyed, 267 synagogues burned, 91 Jews killed and at least 25,000 Jewish men arrested.
Officially World War II began September 3rd 1939, when France and Britain declared war on Germany because Hitler had invaded Poland, but Hitler could not have invaded Poland unless he had first set up the chessboard during 1938.
But we are not yet in 1938. It’s 1932. Mary sees what’s coming so She tries once again to prevent the annihilation of nations by asking for prayer, sacrifice and consecration to her Immaculate Heart. Now, fifteen years after she visited Catholic Portugal, She’s on her way to Catholic Belgium to comfort her children who are suffering a dreary and anxious life in the Great Depression.
I intend to upload a PDF of an old book that’s now in public domain. But for this morning’s condensed version of Mary’s apparition at Beauraing I’ll base my account once again on the excellent researcher, Marc Conza who published his version in the Garabandal Journal, Jan-Feb 2011.
Beauraing was, and continues to be, a humble village in southeast Belgium, four miles from the French border. During the time of the apparitions of Our Lady, the population numbered around 2,000. Beauraing was far from a model of the Catholic Faith at this period. French-speaking Belgium suffered the malaise of indifference toward Catholicism thanks to the rise of Communism, Fascism and Nazism. The Marxist and anti-Catholic Labor Party, carried the vote in many elections. The errors prophesied by Our Lady at Fatima, Portugal in 1917 were well on their way to being fulfilled. In Belgium few people had heard any news of the Fatima apparitions, so the Immaculate Heart would come to them.
On the Advent Tuesday evening of November 29, 1932, eleven year-old Albert Voisin and fifteen-year-old Fernande Voisin left their house as usual to pick up their sister Gilberte, thirteen, at the parochial school run by the Sisters of Christian Doctrine. On the way, they stopped at the Degeimbre home so that fourteen year-old Andrew and nine-year-old Gilberte could join them in the walk. The two Gilbertes were always distinguished as “Big Gilberte” and “Little Gilberte.” Andrew, Albert and Fernande attended a state school, but the Big and Little Gilbertes attended a parochial school, which they called the Academy.
On the way to the Academy, Albert went about ringing doorbells and then running and hiding with the others to watch the unsuspecting tenants answer their doors to discover nobody was there. The children would then have a good laugh, and continue on to their next target. There were five victims of this prank on this particular night before the mischievous group reached the Sisters’ convent and Academy.
They had to pass before a small grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes near a railroad viaduct before reaching the convent. As they waited for the Sister portress to answer the doorbell, Albert turned and looked toward the viaduct, where he saw the luminous figure of a Woman walking in the air above the railroad tracks. “Look!” he cried out to the others, “The Blessed Virgin, dressed in white, is walking above the bridge!” The other three girls, thinking Albert was up to his usual tricks, paid him no mind and continued to stare at the door, waiting for it to open. When they caught his expression, one said It’s only the light of an automobile, silly” but, feeling curious, the girls glanced over and also saw the Lady, and so clearly, that the movement of her knees beneath her gown could be discerned. A small, bright cloud hid her feet from view.
Frightened, the four children began to beat on the door until it was finally answered by Sister Valeria, who, not noticing their excitement, went to get Big Gilberte. Returning to the door, Sister Valeria was told about the apparition but she could see nothing. Big Gilberte Voisin, unaware of what was happening, arrived at the door and cried out that she saw a lady. Feeling afraid, all five children ran all the way to the Degeimbre house. Germain Degeimbre was a widow, a kind woman but not practicing her Catholic Faith. She and her 17 year old daughter Jeanne scoffed. Actually, Jeanne was to become bitterly envious of her two younger sisters who could see Mary. Germain indulged in calumny and disdain for the apparitions. “You two girls think you see the Virgin? Now if I had seen her, that would be different. But you two! You’re not good enough.” She turned to the three Voison children, saying, “Now listen to me, you kids. Don’t tell any of this foolishness to your parents.” Germaine sent her girls off to bed, while the three Voisin children went home and told their parents everything. Their parents, Hector and Marie, were ardent members of the Socialist Party. Hector, employed by the railroad, had opened a little shop with his wife on the main street to try to supplement their poor income. They hadn’t been to Mass in years. Would Mary appear to their children?
The children would encounter great opposition from all sides, including the village priest. No one was helping them discern these events, but rather, they were being mocked or accused of being liars. The hate and accusations that they faced was immediate and strong. The nuns at the convent kept their distance, not wanting to be ridiculed for this foolishness. The children will be put under enormous pressure due to the never-ending flow of questions by everybody from doctors to government officials to ecclesiastical authorities.
The next night, when the children arrived at the school with great trepidation, none of them saw anything until big Gilberte came out of the convent and walked with them toward the street. As they passed the Lourdes grotto, the Lady suddenly appeared above the viaduct again. The children hurried home and repeated the story. While the Voisins still didn’t believe it, Mrs. Degeimbre thought a prankster might be involved, and accompanied them to the school the following night, armed with a big sturdy stick, and joined by a group of friends. While they were still in the street, with the Academy in view, the four children cried out that the Lady was standing on the central walk in the convent garden; then She disappeared. The adults saw nothing.
While the four children went to the door to meet Big Gilberte, Mrs. Degeimbre and her friends began to beat the garden bushes to flush out the perpetrator of this joke. Hardly had Big Gilberte come outside when she and the other four saw the Lady appear halfway between the school and the Lourdes grotto. Her hands were joined and her eyes were raised heavenward, as if in prayer. Then the Lady lowered her gaze to look at the five children, gave them a beautiful smile, and disappeared. Once again seeing nothing, the adults went about in a frenzy trying to catch whoever was scaring the children, but there was no one to catch. When the party reached the gate opening onto the street, the Lady appeared to the children again, then disappeared.
Emotionally overwhelmed by the beauty of the apparition, Little Gilberte had to be taken home. While Big Gilberte stayed with her, the other three children returned to the convent with Mrs. Degeimbre. This time, Mr. and Mrs. Voisin joined the group, believing now that the children weren’t lying, and also agreeing with Mrs. Degeimbre that someone was playing tricks on them.
Before Fernande, Andrew, and Albert reached the gate, they cried out, “There she is!” and in unison fell to their knees as though they were struck down. Simultaneously, the three seers uttered the Hail Mary, but their voices were very high pitched, completely different from their regular speaking voices. They were all facing a Hawthorne tree inside the garden, about ten feet from the enclosing fence, and to the left of the center walk. They said the Lady was appearing beneath an arched branch of this tree. This sixth apparition would set the pattern for the rest of Our Lady’s appearances here; henceforth, She would always appear in this spot under the Hawthorne tree.
The children described Our Lady as being a young girl of about eighteen to twenty years of age, and extraordinarily beautiful. Her eyes were a deep blue, and she had a ravishing smile. She wore a heavily-pleated white dress without a belt that fell into the cloud at her feet. The dress fitted around the neck, and had long open sleeves that came to her wrists. The dress reflected a bluish light in a diagonal pattern from the Lady’s upper left side down past her right knee, as well as in the pleats at the bottom. She wore a white veil on her head that fell in folds just past her waist. Pencil-thin rays of light were arrayed around the top of her head like a crown. Throughout the apparition her hands were joined in prayer until the very end, when She opened them and disappeared.
The parents went to see Father Leon Lambert, the parish priest of Beauraing. He did not give an opinion about the matter, but advised them to keep silent about the children’s claims and to see what happened next. Too late. The search party that had helped earlier that evening already started spreading the news. A small crowd was waiting for the children the next evening, December 2nd, when they arrived at the convent. This time, Mother Theophile, the Superioress, let Big Gilberte Voisin, then locked the iron gate so no one could enter. She also placed two ferocious dogs in the yard to scare away any intruders. This did not stop Our Lady, however, who appeared to the children as soon as they reached the street. At the moment of the appearance, all five visionaries were thrown to their knees on the cobblestones with great force, and simultaneously began praying the Hail Mary in the unusual high-pitched voices.
“Are you the Immaculate Virgin?” eleven year-old Albert stopped to ask at one point. The Lady’s smile broadened and she nodded. “What do you want?” he pressed. The Lady answered in a beautiful voice:
“Always be good.”
Then She disappeared. The children stood up, and were quickly hounded with questions from the onlookers. Moments later they were thrown to their knees again facing the Hawthorne and praying the Hail Mary. The Lady had returned. Without speaking, She disappeared. Before the children could leave again, She suddenly appeared for the third time that evening, bringing the children once again to their knees. “Is it true you will always be good?” She asked them. “Yes!” fourteen year-old Andrew Degeimbre cried out, “We will always be good!” When the apparition ended, the children loitered awhile, hoping the apparition would return again, but after awhile their parents took them home, and the small crowd dispersed.
On Saturday, December 3, the children did not come to the convent in obedience to Mother Theophile, and thus there was no apparition. When the Mother Superior went to lock the gate at dusk, a crowd of about 150 people were gathered in the street. “You are wasting your time here:’ Mother Theophile told them. “There is nothing to see.” “This Sister is a Socialist!” a man in the crowd exclaimed. “She believes less in this business than we do!” Although Mother Theophile did not reply to this, the remark must have hit home because the next evening, December 4, she allowed the children to return, although she still locked the gate at dusk. Our Lady appeared under the Hawthorne as was now her custom, and as usually the children fell hard to their knees and the high-pitched voices signaled the arrival of the Virgin. Our Lady did not speak on this occasion, and merely broadened her smile when Albert asked her to cure a ten year-old girl of Beauraing named Paulette Dereppe, who suffered from an irreversible bone disease that had ruined the family financially.
After the vision, Albert assured Paulette and her parents that Paulette would be cured, “because the Virgin smiled so sweetly when I asked her to.” Putting all their faith in God, the Dereppes discontinued the expensive medical treatments and began giving Paulette a tea to drink made from the leaves of the Hawthorne tree. Although at first there was no change in her condition, Paulette was indeed cured shortly afterward.
On December 5, the children were separated so that they could not see each other when they arrived at the convent. At the exact same moment, however, each child plunged to their knees and began praying the high-pitched Hail Marys. The thud of their knees hitting the cobblestones frightened the onlookers, and although the stockings of the girls were afterwards found to be torn, none of their knees were marked. Fernande would later describe how at times she consciously made an effort to resist this force and kneel down slowly, but she was powerless against it.
On this evening Albert asked Our Lady to work “as many miracles as you can” to prove she was the Blessed Virgin. Our Lady smiled, but did not answer. Albert asked the question again, but She remained silent. When the apparition finished, the children had hardly gotten to their feet when Our Lady appeared again. After only one Hail Mary, she disappeared. It was discovered later that an attorney in the crowd who had come to believe in the apparitions and wanted to study them, had privately wished to test if the children would fall to their knees again in complete synchronization, if they were not expecting an apparition this time. Obviously, the man wasn’t disappointed.
On December 6, Our Lady appeared as before but with a rosary hanging from her right arm. The crucifix wasn’t visible, being hidden in the folds of her dress. When the children reported this to Father Lambert, who was present with them, the priest suggested they pray the Rosary. When they finished doing so, the apparition concluded. At one point, however, Albert had asked the Virgin if there was a special day She would like them to come. She answered:
“The Feast of the Immaculate Conception.”
Earlier in the month the mothers of the visionaries, Germaine Degeimbre and Marie Louise Voison, had asked the parish to offer a Mass to be said to Our Lady, for the intention that if what their children were experiencing was not from the Lord, Mary would put an end to it. The day chosen for the Mass was December 8, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. That day, Marie Louise Voison received Holy Communion for the first time in ten years. The Voison’s little shop had became the target of curiosity seekers, preventing customers from coming in. Husband Hector became the laughing stock of the Socialist Party Club. But through these sufferings, Hector received the grace of conversion; he too received the sacraments and became a staunch supporter of the apparitions and the children.
After the apparition on December 7, the children were taken to the convent and separately questioned before they could have a chance to speak to one another about what had transpired. At the end of the interrogation, all five stories were found to match completely. This would be the scenario from now on after each apparition.
Although a miracle had never been announced, a throng of about 15,000 people packed the street in front of the convent expecting to see a miracle on December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. To add to the chaos a series of people were also experiencing apparitions in different places on December 8 while the children were waiting for Our Lady to come. The devil wanted to distract, divide, and conquer. He does this with many apparition sites. When Bernadette began seeing Mary, fifty reports came from the countryside of young girls seeing visions in caves. The police were on hand to ensure crowd control, and a few paced the grounds inside the gate to prevent entrance. The children arrived about six o’clock in the evening accompanied by their parents and four doctors. The apparition began as usual, and the children prodded the Virgin with questions, but She didn’t answer anything. As they prayed the Rosary, Little Gilberte began to cry. When one of the doctors asked her why she was crying, she answered: “Because she is so beautiful.”
Shortly afterward, when asked another question, the girl didn’t answer; in fact she didn’t even seem to hear. It quickly became apparent to the doctors that none of the children seemed to be aware of any outside stimuli anymore. They performed various experiments to try to get the visionaries to respond, and in the case of Big Gilberte, a match was held against her hand, allowing the flame to flicker across her skin until the match had almost completely burned down. She had no reaction whatsoever, and her hand was smooth and flawless where there should have been a first-degree burn. The Virgin disappeared when the children finished the Rosary, and the seers returned to normal. The crowd was highly disappointed that a miracle didn’t occur, but for Father Lambert and the doctors, they had the proof they needed. All five children had been rapt in a genuine ecstasy, and this was the one and only time such a thing ever happened at Beauraing.
Four days later, our Lady returned, but spoke no words either this day or the next. Two days passed before the next apparition, and on this occasion the children were urged to ask what She wanted of them, but She didn’t answer. When they were told to ask her “on behalf of the clergy,” they repeated the question in this manner and were rewarded with the answer:
No apparition occurred on the eighteenth, and there was a brief, silent appearance on the nineteenth and twentieth. On the twenty-first, in answer to the request: “Tell us who you are,” the Lady had answered,
“I am the Immaculate Virgin.”
On the twenty-second, Our Lady appeared to the four girls, but not to Albert. The boy was in tears for the remainder of the night. He was likewise left out on the twenty-third, when the Virgin had told Fernande that she wanted people to make pilgrimages to Beauraing (the other girls did not hear her speak.) During the apparition on Christmas Eve, Albert was once again included in the vision. Our Lady was silent this time. No apparition took place on Christmas Day, or on the twenty-sixth. The apparition on the twenty-seventh was silent, and the only words spoken by Our Lady on the twenty-eighth were:
“My last appearance will take place soon.”
On December 29, 1932, shortly after 7:00 pm, Our Lady appeared to all five children, and as usual her hands were joined together in prayer in front of her until the end of the apparition when She opened her arms and disappeared. This time, however, Fernande–and only Fernande–saw a Heart of gold shining brilliantly in the center of her chest when the Virgin opened her arms. The girl was very upset that the other four had not seen it, because she was afraid she would be accused of making it up. But the next day, Friday, December 30, Fernande, Big Gilberte, and Andrew saw the Heart. Albert saw something shiny, but couldn’t tell what it was. Little Gilberte did not see the feature at all. During the apparition, Our Lady had said to Fernande:
“Pray. Pray very much.”
On New Years’ Eve two silent apparitions took place, but this time all five children saw the Golden Heart when Our Lady opened her arms at the end. On January 1st, 1933, Albert was again left out of the vision enjoyed by the four girls. When the Virgin looked at Fernande and began speaking to her, Fernande prayed loudly to drown out what Our Lady was saying, because she didn’t want to hear something the others couldn’t verify. Big Gilberte and Andrew had stopped praying when they saw Our Lady’s lips move, but Andrew didn’t hear the words spoken to Fernande. Big Gilberte had, however, and recounted that Our Lady had said:
Fernande regretted her actions as soon as the apparition was over, and vowed she would never do that again. The Golden Heart was seen again by all four girls this night.
12,000 people were on hand for the apparition on January 2nd.
Our Lady appeared to all five children at the beginning, but then Albert, Little Gilberte, and Andrew stopped seeing her while the apparition continued for the other two. Shortly after this, the vision ended for Fernande, and Big Gilberte remained with Our Lady the longest. On this day the Virgin had said: “Tomorrow I will say something to each of you.’ The Blessed Virgin was more resplendent than usual for what was to be her final appearance on January 3rd, 1933. When the apparition began, four seers fell to their knees, but Fernande remained standing; the girl could see nothing, and began to cry. Speaking to Little Gilberte first, Our Lady leaned forward and said: “This is between you and me and I ask you to speak of it to no one.” Then she gave the youngest seer a secret. When she was finished, Our Lady said “Adieu” instead of the usual “Au revoir.” The child burst into tears. Turning to Big Gilberte, Our Lady said: “I will convert sinners.” A personal secret followed, concluding with the dreaded word: “Adieu.” Albert’s secret and farewell was next. To Andrew, the Virgin proclaimed: “I am the Mother of God, the Queen of Heaven. Pray always. Adieu.” The Virgin then opened her arms to reveal her Golden Heart for the final time to the four of them, and disappeared.
Although the crowd began dispersing, and the other children were taken to the convent for questioning, fifteen-year-old Fernande remained behind, sobbing with grief at not having seen Our Lady. She refused to leave, however, because Our Lady had promised to say something to each of them today, and she had not had her turn. Suddenly there was a loud clap of thunder and a fireball burst before the Hawthorne tree, an event witnessed not only by Fernande, but also by those pilgrims who were still there. The girl was struck to her knees as the fireball dissolved and Our Lady stood in its place. The pilgrims, however, could not see the apparition.
“Do you love my Son?” the Virgin asked Fernande, holding her gaze. “Yes!” Fernande exclaimed from the depths of her being. “Do you love me?” Our Lady continued. “Yes!” the girl cried out. “Then sacrifice yourself for me. Adieu.”
Smiling beautifully, Our Lady opened her arms to reveal her Golden Heart and disappeared. Fernande collapsed to the ground and sobbed heavily into the cobblestones before someone lifted her up and carried her inside the convent to join the others for interrogation.
The Beauraing apparitions caused a sensation in Europe, and two million pilgrims journeyed there by the end of 1933. Many cures and spiritual conversions were effected, and most notably, the parents of the seers returned to the devout practice of the Catholic Faith. In 1935 the Bishop of Namur officially opened an investigation into the events, and on July 2, 1949, his successor published a decree declaring the apparitions to be worthy of belief. On August 21, 1954, the chapel requested by Our Lady was consecrated. All five visionaries, shunning the spotlight, married and started families of their own. Today, all have passed on.