Approved Marian Apparitions

This section of Theotokos Books deals with nine major approved Marian apparitions. These are Guadalupe, Rue du Bac, La Salette, Lourdes, Pontmain, Knock, Fatima, Beauraing and Banneux. There is also information about two “semi-approved” apparitions, those at Tre Fontane and L’Ile Bouchard.

These have not only been recognised by the Church but also have an interesting connection with important historical events. The apparitions of Mary to Juan Diego at Guadalupe in Mexico, in 1531, happened only fourteen years after the initiation of the Reformation by Martin Luther. The events connected with Catherine Labouré and the miraculous medal at Rue du Bac, France, in 1830, which coincided with the Paris Revolution of that year, happened in the aftermath of the French revolution.

Likewise, the apparition of Mary at La Salette in France in 1846, to two young children, Mélanie Calvat aged 14, and Maximin Giraud aged 11, took place shortly before the European revolutionary outbursts of 1848, while the apparitions at Lourdes, in 1858, to Bernadette Soubirous, occurred just a year before the publication of Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species, an event which represents the beginning of the modern atheistic intellectual revolution. The apparition at Pontmain in France to four young children, in 1871, took place at the time of the Franco-Prussian War, while the apparition at Knock in Ireland a group of villages of mixed ages, in 1879, fortified the Irish in their struggle against religious and social oppression.

The apparitions at Fatima in Portugal to Lucia dos Santos, aged 10, and her cousins, Jacinta and Francisco Marto, aged 7 and 8 respectively, in 1917, took place just as the Russian Revolution was unfolding, while those at Beauraing, to five young children, and Banneux, to one young girl, Mariette Beco, in 1930s Belgium, happened just as Hitler was coming to power in Germany. The above nine major apparitions, which are generally recognised as the most important Marian apparitions, have all enjoyed various degrees of Church recognition. In most cases this has included Episcopal sanction, liturgical grants, the building of a basilica, and Papal approval, as well as continuing large scale pilgrimages.

More recently Kibeho has received a form of approval.

Source: Theotokos: A Theological Encyclopedia of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 2nd ed., s.v. “Apparitions.”