Mary has identified herself in some way in all her visits. She made herself known to Catherine Labouré by the inscription she wished placed on the Miraculous Medal: "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee." Our Lady of La Salette gave herself no name but spoke of her Son, as she did at Pontmain. At Lourdes, Mary said: "I am the Immaculate Conception." And at Fatima she called herself Queen of the Rosary. At Banneux, Our Lady first said she was the Virgin of the Poor and this, together with her clothing, her rosary and the supernatural manner of her apperarance naturally inclined a few people to believe she was Our Lady. But many othes were skeptical because of this very title. They saw politcal implications in it and even thought that Mariette, the daughter of a poverty-stricken family, had invented it. They certainly knew nothing of Mariette, who was quite incapable of such flights of fancy. It was, though, not long before Our Lady swept these doubts away by presenting herself in the name that sets her above the angels and marks her off from all other creatures.
Mariette insisted that Our Lady called herself by this title: "The Mother of the Saviour Mother of God", and that she did not say she was: "The Mother of the Saviour and the Mother of God", which is what one would expect her to say. Does it matter? It does. The truth is always important and, in this particular case, Our Lady's title, as she herself gave it, carries an emphasis which makes it subtly different from that which she might have used by did not. "Mother of the Saviour" and "Mother of God" are both traditional names of Our Lady, but here they become one title, indissolubly welded together. Never before had the two names been joined in this manner until she herself did so at Banneux, and this union stresses how intimately she is involved in our salvation: "no single individual can even be imagined who has ever contributed or ever will contribute so much towards reconciling man with God." This the Church, the Fathers and the general faithful have always known, but at Banneux we are reminded again that she is indeed "a worthy and acceptable Mediatrix to the absolute Mediator - who is our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. By disclosing herself in the plenitude of her power at this, her last appearance (at Banneux), she makes it clear that the Mother of the Saviour Mother of God does not descend among us solely to heal the sick; her purpose is to lead us to a greater knowledge and love of her Son.
Our Lady's third and final exhortation: "Pray a lot" gains an even greater force and urgency coming, as it did, immediately after she had gravely announced that she was in truth the woman chosen by God to be His Mother and given by Him to be ours.
Looking back over Our Lady's words at Banneux we see that:
She wishes to be honored as the Virgin of the Poor.
She presents a gift to the people of every race and nation - a spring.
She expresses a wish: for a little chapel.
She makes a promise: to comfort and relieve the sick and to relieve all suffering.
She demands from us: confidence and constant prayer.
She fulfills her mission as Mother of the Saviour.
She reveals the greatness of her power as Mother of God.
She will pray for us, protect us, blss us and lead us to her Son, our Saviour and our God.
From: Virgin of the Poor - The Apparitions of Our Lady at Banneux - by John Beevers - Abbey Press, St. Meinrad, Indiana 47577 - 1972