We are encouraging people in all the Dioceses of Southern Africa (SACBC region) to pray for the favours and graces they need during the nine days prior to the Feast on 1 February. This novena will commence on 23 January and conclude on 31 January. We also invite people to make three acts of kindness each day of the Novena in remembrance of the three acts of charity which Blessed Benedict performed the day he was martyred.
The NOVENA PRAYER in various languages
The Novena Prayer in various languages for opening or downloading:
Novena to St Francis de Sales
DAY ONE – 15 JANUARY
There is no clock, no matter how good it may be, that doesn’t need resetting and rewinding twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. In addition, at least once a year it must be taken apart to remove the dirt clogging it, straighten out bent parts and repair those worn out. In like manner, every morning and evening a person who really takes care of his heart must rewind it for God’s service by means of certain practices of piety. At least once a year he must take it apart and examine every piece in detail; that is, every affection and passion, in order to repair whatever defects there may be. (St Francis de Sales – INT. Part 5, Ch. 1; O. III, p. 340)
O blessed Francis de Sales, who on earth did excel in a life of virtue, especially in the love of God and neighbour,
I earnestly ask you to take me under your compassionate care and protection.
Obtain for me conversion of mind and heart.
Grant that all people, especially …………… (names of those whom you wish to include)
may experience the depth of God’s redeeming and healing love.
Teach me to fix my eyes on the things of heaven even as I walk each day
with my feet planted firmly on the earth.
Help me, through the practice of virtue and the pursuit of devotion, to avoid anything
that would otherwise cause me to stumble in my attempt to follow Christ
and to be an instrument of the Holy Spirit.
Encouraged by your prayers and example,
help me to live fully my sacred dignity with the hope of experiencing my sacred destiny:
eternal life with God.
Receive also this particular need or concern that I now lift up in prayer.
(mention your particular need).
O God, for the salvation of all, you desired that St. Francis de Sales—
preacher, missionary, confessor, bishop and founder—
should befriend many along the road to salvation.
Mercifully grant that we, infused with the humility and gentleness of his charity,
guided by his wisdom and sharing in his spirit may experience eternal life.
There are many ways of “being poor” and in today’s world, the more we have, the poorer we can be. Our Lady of Banneux is a most worthy intercessor to pray on our behalf to our God of such loving mercy, for all the needs of the poor of the world, for so many who are rich in goods but poor in spirit.
As St John Paul said on a visit to Banneux – “The poor today – and there are many ways of being poor! – feel at home in Banneux. They come here to find comfort, courage, hope, union with God in their affliction. I encourage the pilgrims who come here to pray to her, who, always and everywhere in the Church, reflects the face of the Mercy of God.”
On the way of duty I walk, along the paths of justice, granting wealth to those who love me…………Prv 8:20-21
REFLECTION – “Mary’s grace has given glory to heaven: a God to earth: and faith to the nations. She has conferred death on vices, order on life and a rule on morals.”………St Peter Chrysologus
PRAYER – Heavenly Father, grant me the grace to have Mary as my constant intercessor. In all difficulties, let me call on her aid, for she is Your beloved Daughter and our Blessed Mother. Holy Mother of Banneux, Pray for us, amen!
Our Lady of Banneux,
Mother of Our Saviour,
Mother of God,
Virgin of the Poor,
since thou hast promised to believe in us
if we believe in thee,
I put all my trust in thee.
Deign to listen to the prayers
that thou hast asked be addressed to thee;
have pity on all our spiritual and temporal miseries.
Restore to sinners the treasure of Faith,
and give to the poor their daily bread.
Deign to relieve suffering,
to heal the sick and to pray for us,
so that thus through thy intercession,
the reign of Christ the King
may extend over all nations, amen.
Memorial of the Day – 15 January – Our Lady of Banneux, or Our Lady of the Poor, is the sobriquet given to the apparition of the Virgin Mary to Mariette Beco, an adolescent girl living in Banneux, province of Liège (Belgium). Between January 15 and March 2, 1933, Beco told her family and parish priest of seeing a Lady in white who declared herself to be the “Virgin of the Poor”, saying I come to relieve suffering and believe in me and I will believe in you. As Our Lady of Banneux she has two titles: Our Lady of the Poor and Queen of Nations
Mariette Beco was twelve years old when she reported Marian apparitions in 1933 in Banneux, Belgium, a hamlet about 15 kilometres (10 mi) southeast of the city of Liège. In this case, the Lady in White reportedly declared she was the Virgin of the Poor and said: “Believe in me and I will believe in you.”
According to Mariette, she first saw the Blessed Virgin on the evening of Sunday, January 15, 1933, as she was looking out the kitchen window. A woman in white stood in the garden and called to her to come out, but her mother would not let her. She is described as a young lady in the yard smiling at her. The woman was bent slightly forward and wearing a long white gown with a blue sash, and a transparent white veil. Three days later the woman in white reappeared and told Mariette she was “Our Lady of the Poor”. The lady appeared eight times in all, the last on March 2, 1933.
In one of these visions, Mariette said the Lady asked her to plunge (push) her hands into a small spring [poussez vos mains dans l’eau], telling her the spring was for healing and “for all nations”. Over time the site drew pilgrims. Today, the small spring yields about 2,000 gallons of water a day with many reports of miraculous healings.
Mariette, meanwhile, became the object of local derision, with even grandmother and aunt making fun of her. Boys followed her around, calling her “Bernadette”, kneeling and asking for her blessing. Her claims were subject to an official investigation from 1935 to 1937 by an episcopal commission. The evidence collected was submitted to Rome for further analysis. Meanwhile, a hospital was built in 1938.
In May 1942, Bishop Kerkhofs of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Liège (Belgium) approved the veneration of Mary under the title of Our Lady of the Poor. Then, in 1947, approval for the apparitions came from the Holy See. It was declared definite in 1949.
After the apparitions, Mariette decided to remain a private person, married and led a quiet family life. A small chapel stands where the Virgin of the Poor is said to have requested it to be built.
Mariette died on December 2, 2011, at the age of 90. In 2008 she made a final statement about her role in the apparitions: “I was no more than a postman who delivers the mail. Once this has been done, the postman is of no importance any more”.
2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (2017)
Our Lady of Banneux, Belgium (under 2 Titles Our Lady of the Poor and Queen of Nations)
St Alexander of Goma
Bl Angelus of Gualdo Tadini
St Arnold Janssen
St Blaithmaic of Iona
St Bonitus of Clermont
St Ceolwulf of Northumbria
St Emebert of Cambrai
St Ephysius of Sardinia
St Francis Ferdinand de Capillas
Bl Geoffrey of Peronne
Bl Giacomo Villa
St Habakkuk the Prophet
St Isidore of Scété
St Isidore the Egyptian
St Ita of Killeedy
St John Calabytes
St Lleudadd of Bardsey
St Macarius of Egypt
St Malard of Chartres
St Maximus of Nola
St Pansofius of Alexandria
Bl Peter of Castelnau
St Probus of Rieti
St Romedio of Nonsberg
St Secondina of Anagni
St Secundina of Rome
St Tarsicia of Rodez
Martyrs of Suances – 5 beati
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