Monuments linked to Banneux’ story
Saints statues and monuments
National and thematic monuments and crosses
Other places and souvenirs
Monuments linked to Banneux’ story
Memorial of Mgr Kerkhofs (# 18)
This cross was offered by Mgr Kerkhofs in 1933. It was erected on the occasion of the Jubilee of the 19th centenary of the Redemption.
The stone with the star (# 18)
The stela, originally decorated with a bright star, commemorates the passage of the Virgin of the Poor through the pines.
Stone erected for the official Recognition of the Apparitions
On 22 August 1949 Mgr Louis-Joseph Kerkhofs, bishop of Liege, recognized without reserve the reality of the eight apparitions to Mariette Beco. The text of this recognition has been written on a stone in front of the Spring. On the 10th anniversary of the death of Mgr Kerkhofs, his successor Mgr van Zuylen had an effigy of Mgr Kerkhofs placed on the stone.
Statue of the Virgin at the entrance of the esplanade (# 19)
On 22 August 1999, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Official Recognition of the Apparitions a new statue of the Virgin of the Poor was inaugurated on the esplanade. Cardinal Schotte, the secretary general of the Bishops’ Synod, presided over this ceremony as a legate of Pope John Paul II.
The statue of 2m10 was sculptured from Carrara marble by Giannoni Marco of Pietrasanta in Italy. It was offered by the numerous Italian pilgrims coming each year to Banneux. The statue presents the Virgin of the Poor blessing Mariette Beco (4th and 8th Apparitions).
Monument to the I.P.U. (International Union of Prayer) (# 15)
In response to the call of the Virgin Pray hard, Mgr Kerkhofs, bishop of Liège, and Father Louis Jamin founded the I.P.U. on 24 September 1934. Millions of members unite in prayer every evening at 19:00, joining in the prayers recited at that time at the sites of the Apparitions.
Saints statues and monuments
Monument to St Anne (# 12)
This was erected in honour of the Mother of the Virgin Mary. Saint Anne teaches Mary the Holy Scriptures. She shows the prophetic quote of the Book of Isaiah: Ecce virgo concipiet… Behold, a virgin shall conceive. Anne, a symbol of all grandmothers, is worthy of the respect of pilgrims who come to venerate her daughter.
Statue of St. Alphonse of Liguori (1696 – 1787) (# 37)
Saint Alphonse, doctor of the Church, founded the Congregation of the Redemptorist Fathers. He distinguished himself by his faith, piety, and his Marian apostolate. He encouraged his disciples to evangelize and help the poor.
Symbolism of the monument: the baroque column recalls the period in which Saint Alphonse lived (the Christian Renaissance); the column rests on a massive rock -the unwavering rock of the Church. Alphonse leans upon it with his hand: he depends on the Church and the Word of God. The dynamism emitted by his figure evokes his apostolic order: he is walking, ready to act.
Saint Alphonse was placed in the domain of the Virgin of the Poor in 1966. He is perfectly well-suited to this place, as his apostolate towards the Poor was inspired by the Lady who revealed herself here as the Virgin of the Poor.
Chapel of Saint Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) (#38)
Saint Ignatius, ex-military, became a soldier of Christ after having been severely wounded in the war. He founded the Society of Jesus, or the Jesuits. On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of his birth in 1991, a new chapel was constructed in the alley of St. Michael. The first one, inaugurated in 1960 on the pilgrim path, no longer exists. The project of the new monument was driven by a young Jesuit architect.
The statue recalls a night vigil of Saint Ignatius in Montserrat. Kneeling, the Saint presents his sword of knighthood to Baby Jesus, who is sitting on the knees of His Mother.
Along the semi-circular wall at a regular distance, there are three groups of 5 concrete columns, whose upper surface has the shape of a cross: reminders of 15 mysteries of the Rosary. While the Virgin and Jesus sit enthroned in majesty, Ignatius –mystic genius and apostle of modern time– is very small. The designer of the statue wants to show us that by beginning slowly, simply, Ignatius became a great mystic, founded the Jesuits, and extended his actions to all nations.
Chapel of St. Michael an St. Jeanne of Arc (# 40)
At the Shrine, the German pilgrims have constructed a replica of the chapel in the village of Rhöndorf, near Bonn in Germany. During the Second World War the rosary was recited there every day for all war prisoners, regardless of nationality.
The Chapel, from the village of Chancellor Adenauer, is dedicated to St Michael, patron of Germany. The bell in the bell tower has been offered by the Chancellor, one of the apostles of the concord between nations and one of the founders of the European Community. On 1 April 1960 the first stone of the chapel was blessed by Father Paul Adenauer, the Chancellor’s son.
Chapel of the Seven Servites (# 39)
This chapel is dedicated to the seven Holy Founders of the Servants of Mary, or Servite Friars. These rich men (13th century) left their world of luxury and splendour to withdraw themselves to fast and pray. They are mainly known for their devotion to Mary and their help to the Poor and the Sick. They founded the Servite Order.
The chapel shows the seven Founders in prayer in front of the Virgin of the Poor. On 18 July 1983 for the 750th anniversary of the Order, the reconstructed chapel (which was initially placed on the Pilgrims’ Path) was blessed by the Provincial Father.
Statue of Saint Bernadette (1844 – 1879) (# 44)
The Canon Louis Jamin strongly wished to build a chapel dedicated to Saint Bernadette on the Pilgrims’ Path in Banneux. He felt she should occupy a place of honour among great servants of Mary such as St Bernard, Saint John, the seven Saint Founders, St Ignatius, St Norbert, and St Joseph who already had a place there.
Mgr L. Ricaud, honorary rector of the Sanctuary of Lourdes and a regular pilgrim to Banneux, offered a statue of Saint Bernadette (according to his letter to the rector Father Maurice Van Loon in 1961). It was placed close to the great statue of the Virgin of the Poor, which dominates the esplanade.
On the Jubilee of the 50th anniversary of the Official Recognition of the Banneux Apparitions, a large statue of the Virgin of the Poor was inaugurated. It was placed at the entrance of the esplanade and showed the Virgin of the Poor blessing Mariette at the time of the fourth apparition. The first statue, found next to the large altar, was moved to the entrance of the large church of the Virgin of the Poor.
Statue of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux (1873 – 1897) (# 45)
Thérèse Martin was a Carmelite whose life was illuminated with the light that comes from a life of offering and abandoning to the Merciful Love.
Baby Jesus, on the knees of His Mother, gives roses to Saint Theresa and she spreads them on the ground, as she had promised before her death.
Saint Theresa took her place in Banneux amongst the great servants of Mary on 11 August 1967.
Statue of St Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort (1673-1716) (# 17)
The Saint is presented as a pilgrim, his hat under his arm, a stick in his hand, walking towards the Spring. Saint Grignion de Monfort had an intense devotion to Mary and prayed to her often.
His devotion to Virgin Mary revitalized his faith. Thanks to the generosity of the Monfortain Fathers, a vast cloister was built in front of the Spring. On the wall behind the statue there is the motto of St Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort: Ut adveniat regnum Christi, adveniat regnum Mariae (May the Kingdom of Mary come, so the Kingdom of Christ may come).
It was Mgr Theunissen, apostolic vicar of Blantyre (Nyassaland – Zambia), who blessed this place of prayer on 8 December 1958. On 7 December, a great diocesan celebration solemnly closed the Marian Year, decided by Mgr Kerkhofs on the occasion of the silver jubilee of the Apparitions of Our Lady of Banneux.
On 24 August 2005, for the 300th anniversary of the founding of the Montfortain Fathers, the following text was written in four languages on the wall of the cloister:
A priest according to the Heart of Christ:
poor with the Poor
friend of the Cross
consecrated to Mary
seeker of wisdom
turned towards the Source
who became all for all.
In the winter of 2004-2005, rubblestone walls were constructed in the cloister (on the side near the forest) to receive ex-votos. The central part has remained open.
Statue of Saint Pierre-Julien Eymard (1811-1868) (# 35)
Saint Pierre-Julien was born in the region of Grenoble (France).
Devoted to Virgin Mary, he entered the Oblates of Mary, but had to leave this Order due to health reasons. Sometimes after, he entered the Marists where he became the General Superior. Father Eymard brought a renewed focus on the Mystery of Jesus’ presence in the Eucharist. He was also a great friend to the Poor. He left the Marists to found the institute of the Fathers of the Holy Sacrament, an institute dedicated to the perpetual adoration of the Holy Sacrament and to the propagation of this devotion.
With Father Chevrier, he was at the origin of the first Eucharistic Congress in Lille in 1881. He was canonized on 8 December 1962.
The statue of Father Eymard, erected in Banneux on 18 September 1963, is well-placed since he was a friend of the Poor, a great Servant of Mary, and a Father of the Holy Sacrament.
The basilica of Saint Martin in Liège is the birthplace of the celebration of Corpus Christi.
The Fathers of the Holy Sacrament organize each year on the feast of Corpus Christi a great pilgrimage to Banneux together with the Guards of Honour of the Holy Sacrament of Lommel.
Statue of St Padre Pio (1887-1968) (# 30)
Padre Pio is one the most popular saints of our time.
He loved his heavenly mother because she brought him to Jesus. His rosary was his indispensable companion. He held it continuously in his hand. “The sweet chain which connects us to God” he said. The Rosary was his habitual way of conversing with the Virgin Mary.
The stigmata, which unites Padre Pio with the suffering Christ, made him understand the sufferings of the Mother of Sorrows.
The intimacy of Padre Pio and his heavenly Mother let him participate also in the joy of the Mother of the Redeemer.
The Eucharist was his privileged meeting with the Lord. He loved praying in front of the Holy Sacrament. The sacrament of Reconciliation united him with the God of mercy.
Padre Pio, a disciple of Saint Francis of Assisi, carried the bleeding stigmata of Christ for 50 years in his convent of San Giovanni Rotondo in Italy. On 2 May 1999 Padre Pio was beatified by Pope John Paul II. The same year, a statue of him was built in the Shrine. His canonization took place on 16 June 2002.
Oratory of Saint Damien of Veuster (1840-1889) (# 49)
The oratory, constructed in the winter of 2011-2012 by the French Association “The Route of Christian Europe”, represents Belgium on the path of Mary’s Visitation, which spreads across the whole of Europe.
The logo and the bas-relief were sculpted by Mr. Pascal Beauvais, French sculptor residing in Brive. The oratory was blessed on 16 June 2012.
National and thematic monuments and crosses
Stela of the travellers
In 1997 the Gypsies offered and renovated their cross on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of their annual pilgrimage.
In 2007, a commemorative plaque was added on the occasion of the 40th anniversary with a caption: “To the group leaders of travellers. 40 years in Banneux”.
Cross of the Hungarians
The youth of the Calamine brought and erected this cross behind the cloister of St Grignion de Montfort in 1956 during the Hungarian revolution. It commemorates the Hungarians who fell for their freedom in Budapest that same year. It carries an inscription: “Hongrie en sang” (Hungary covered in blood) in the national colours of this country (green and red).
On 25 August 1968, between 700-800 Hungarian refugees and migrants with their national flags and costumes reunited in Banneux, coming from all corners of Belgium, Holland and Aachen to celebrate Saint Stephen, First King of Hungary, father of Hungarian people, who before death solemnly entrusted his country to the Most Holy Virgin.
Hungarians from the surroundings of Liège and Limburg still come every year in pilgrimage to Banneux on the night of 31 October.
The Armenian Cross (# 48)
In 1999 an Armenian family left Armenia and moved to Belgium. Thanks to an Armenian Turk, they heard about the Shrine of Banneux, where they went often in pilgrimage. When the father Sarkis died in 2009, he confided to his wife and his sons a burning desire to offer the Shrine of Banneux a typical Armenian cross, a khatchkar.
On Saturday, 22 May 2010 (the 1st anniversary of Sarkis’ death), the Armenian cross was inaugurated at the Shrine of Our Lady of Banneux.
Memorial of the Church in China (# 33)
The Church fraternity of Liège-China was born in Banneux on 22 August 1999. It represents the special relationship that the Christians of Liège have always maintained with the Chinese world.
On 11 May 1933 Father Joseph Fan of Tsining, China was ordained bishop in Rome. Taking advantage of his time in Europe and instructed about the very recent events in Banneux, he went to pray at the Spring.
On his return to China he made known the Apparitions and the Message of the Virgin of the Poor. The devotion there grew constantly. In the archives of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Banneux N.D. there is a list of the first Chinese registrations to the International Union of Prayers.
The Fraternity works with the Verbiest section of the Scheut Fathers, present in China since 1865, and with “Church in need”.
Statue of Our Lady of Walsingham (# 32)
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the English pilgrimage to Banneux, a stela presenting Our Lady of Walsingham was blessed on 13 August 2003.
Our Lady of Walsingham is the English national sanctuary of the Virgin founded in 1061 and restored in 1934. The special devotion developed around a statue that is located in a niche.
The statue shows a crowned virgin seated on the throne of Wisdom. Christ is presented not as a baby but as a young child. His hand is raised, because He is the Steward of the universe. However, his Incarnation depends on the “YES” of his Mother. His bare feet reveal his Humanity to us.
Walsingham is a sanctuary of the Incarnation. God is made man. The spirituality of this site is translated into participation in the work of God in this world, and particularly among the Poor (house for persons with disabilities, connections with Caritas International as well as other charity works).
The ecumenical radiance of Walsingham is very important. The Catholics and Anglicans organize many joint pilgrimages. There is also an Orthodox chapel there and even a small parish church.
Our Lady of la Vang (Vietnam) (# 31)
Every first Saturday of the month, a Vietnamese prayer group gathers in Banneux. Members of this community built a stone in the honour of Our Lady of La Vang, Mother of Martyrs.
On 17 August 1798 a very sorrowful religious persecution began in Vietnam and continued until 1886. Many Catholics hid in the deep forest of La Vang and in the evenings they gathered to pray the rosary in front of the image of the Virgin. One evening a very beautiful lady holding a child in her arms appeared to them. With great tenderness the Virgin consoled them and strengthened their faith. In 1886 the persecution ended.
In 1901, at the inauguration of a church in honour of Our Lady of La Vang, the bishop of the diocese of Hue proclaimed her a protector of Catholics.
In 1961, the council of bishops of Vietnam chose the church of La Vang as a “National Marian and Holy Centre”.
The stela in Banneux wishes to maintain the memory of Christians persecuted and martyred and to promote the unity between the Vietnamese communities dispersed in Europe.
The monument erected in the Shrine in commemoration of the Millennium of the Christian Faith in Ukraine was solemnly blessed on 12 August 1990.
It is an impressive gravestone, broken in two pieces. In the wide-open crack there is a solid wooden cross, straight and proud. At the crossing of its branches, a round medallion, in the form of a crown, reminds us of the commemorated dates: 988 – 1988 with an inscription: Jesus Christ brings victory. This monument was built on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the artificial famine organized by Moscow in 1933 which caused 7 millions deaths in Ukraine.
The monument invites us to build the future of our old Christianity in line with the one single message of love, which Christ proclaimed from his cross. The Christian faith of this country, which an atheistic regime promised to extinguish, bury, and cover with a final gravestone, awakens in a rediscovered freedom. The cross, symbol of our faith in Jesus Christ, breaks and pierces this oppressive stone and proclaims its message: It is Christ that brings the victory of love.
Two Romanian crosses
The larger one was placed here on 9 April 1993 at the request of Mgr P. Gherman of the Romanian ministry in Brussels.
On a stone at the foot of the cross, the following text is written: “In memory of the martyrs and heroes, victims of atheistic totalitarianism, exiled Romanians in Belgium” – Banneux 1995.
The second cross was placed a year or two after the first one, also in memory of those who testified to their faith in God and died for their Homeland. Initially it was placed next to the Hungarian cross in the alley of the Rosary.
These crosses recall the connections of Banneux with the pilgrimage to Carbounari and with the Assumptionist Fathers of Blaj. The Virgin of the Poor is strongly venerated by the Catholics of the oriental byzantine rite in Romania. In Carbounari there is a sanctuary with a small chapel identical to the one in Banneux.
Other places and souvenirs
The Way of the Cross in the forest (# 42)
It consists of 16 stations presented in the form of 16 stained glasses windows, thanks to the talent of the former director of the Royal Fine Arts Academy of Liège, Mr. Gilbert. The stained glass windows were made by Mr. Pirotte, a master glassmaker of Beaufays.
The Way of the Cross is there to strengthen the devotion of pilgrims. Before the 14 traditional stations we see a station representing the Last Supper: the Eucharist is a Sacrament of our salvation. The 16th station extends the others: it is the transfiguration of the Passion and death of Jesus by His Resurrection.
The Way of the Cross was inaugurated by Mgr G. van Zuylen on 1 May 1980.
Monument dedicated to the Mystery of the Visitation (# 13)
Mary visits her cousin Elisabeth. Embraced in the gesture of happiness, they glorify God in a spontaneous springing forth of the Magnificat.
The monuments of St Anne and the Visitation were blessed on 4 July 1960 by Mgr Perier, S.J. of Calcutta, India.
Chapels of Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows (# 14)
These once marked the route from Banneux to Tancrémont, bringing pilgrims to Christ through Mary.
The bas-reliefs represent the seven sorrows of the Virgin. The Servite Friars of Spa took the initiative to erect these. They were inaugurated on 14 September 1941, feast of the Exaltation of the Cross.
Due to heavy automobile traffic on that road, the seven small chapels were moved to the Marian centre in 1999.
The stained glass window of the Annunciation (# 36)
This was blessed on 4 July 1960 by Mgr Perier S.J., archbishop of Calcutta in India. It is in harmony with the monuments of Saint Anne and of the Visitation, across from the Spring.