Most of the villages on the eastern slopes of the
mountain chain extending from Dahr el-Kadeeb to Hermon
have a population composed mostly of Christians who
came down from the mountains of Sannine and from Qornet
es-Sawda. Beshwet, whose name comes from the Aramaic
“towards the plain”, is situated twenty kilometers
north-west of Baalbek, between Deir el-Ahmar and Barqa,
and 105 kilometers from the capital, Beirut.
The people of this village, numbering about 1,800,
are Maronite Christians, very many of whom bear the
family name of Keyrouz, having come down from Bsharri
starting from the eighteenth century. They are good
folk, hospitable, friendly, generous and ready to
offer us warm bread cooked on the “saj”, with arak
(aniseed spirit), fruit, fresh water and coffee, with
the best of everything.
There are several ways to reach Beshwet. One may go
from Beirut to Heliopolis-Baalbek, passing near the
Cedar Forest of Bsharri. One may go through Kesserewan,
Faraya and Baalbek. Or after Bsharri one may pass
through the Cedars and Aineta and on to Beshwet. The
village of Beshwet has become a center of pilgrimage
visited by tens of thousands, including both the faithful
and the merely curious from all over the world, people
of every belief. This is because devotees of Our Lady
are to be found everywhere in great number. In 1880
the people of the village wanted a special statue
of the Virgin, and a Jesuit priest passing by obtained
for them a copy of Our Lady of Pontmain.
Our Lady of Beshwet wears a gold crown and a blue
star-spangled robe. She carries a crucifix in her
hand and also a rosary that was added by pious faithful.
The present church dates to 1825 and stands on the
ruins of an older building. Mary’s beneficent presence
is shown by the miracles accorded to her suppliants,
particularly in recent years. In fact invalids of
every kind and from every place, even non-Christians
and non-Lebanese, have been cured after addressing
themselves to her and have come on pilgrimage to thank
her. As a result, a new church has been built next
to the old one.
Also at Beshwet there is the old monastery of Mar
Saba and a historic spring of water, Ain el-Dayaa,
with a number of caves and fair sprinkling of restaurants
to supply the needs of visitors. So it is that this
site in a rather austere and desert part of the Beqaa
has become a well-known religious center, with buses
and with cars in their thousands, bringing numberless
pilgrims and tourists and offering folklore activities,
objects of piety, and blessed oils to be taken away
home and to be used to ward off or to cure illnesses
of every description.
Portmain in France was the site of an apparition of
Our Lady to some children in January 1870 during the
Franco-German war between Napoleon III and Bismarck.
Responding to their prayers, the Holy Virgin had promised
a halt to the advance of the German army, telling
them, “But pray, children, and my Son will let himself
be moved,” words written in gold in the sky.
To visit Beshwet and the shrine of Our Lady there
is an excursion not to be missed and a moment of communion
with the divine Beyond!
Beshwet - Our Lady 1: >> View
Movie << (2012-07-15) - Beshwet - Our Lady 2: >> View
Movie << (2012-07-15)