In the winter of 1933, a young girl named Mariette reported that the Virgin Mary appeared to her on eight separate occasions. Mariette was 11 years old and came from a poor, lapsed-Catholic family. The Virgin spoke only briefly during her apparitions, but encouraged the girl to pray and led her to a spring with healing powers.
Mariette first saw Our Lady of Banneux through her kitchen window before supper on Sunday, January 15, 1933. She saw a glowing figure standing motionless near the vegetable garden, dressed in white with a bright blue sash. The figure held a rosary and was smiling at Mariette. The young girl asked to go outside, but her mother feared the girl's vision might be a ghost and refused to allow it. When Mariette returned to the window, the lady had vanished.
Three days later, on January 18, Mariette knelt on the frozen ground where she had seen the figure and began praying the rosary. A figure appeared in the distant sky, then came closer and closer until she was only a few feet away. The lady led Mariette to a spring, then spoke for the first time, saying: "Plunge your hands into the water. This spring is reserved for me." Then she withdrew, promising to return.
On January 19, the lady appeared for a third time. Mariette asked her who she was, and she replied, "I am the Virgin of the Poor." The Virgin again led Mariette to the spring, and said, "This is reserved for all nations, for the sick."
During the fourth apparition, on January 20, Mariette asked, "What do you want, beautiful Lady?" The Virgin replied she would like a little chapel built and made the sign of the cross. At the fifth apparition (February 11), the Virgin took Mariette to the spring and said, "I come to alleviate suffering."