I promised a while back that I would post a little history about the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help. I intend to do so by posting the story (hopefully on Tuesdays) in several parts throughout the rest of the Summer in preparation for the Feast of the Assumption on August 15th, and the Miracle of the Fire on October 9th. I hope the story of Our Lady of Good Help enriches your faith and increases your love for Christ through the Blessed Mother. Stay tuned!
The Story of Our Lady of Good Help (Part 1)
On December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the most Reverend David L. Ricken, Bishop of Green Bay, issued a decree, during his homily, verifying the authenticity of the Marian apparitions of 1859 at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help. Bishop Ricken stated:
“[I] declare with moral certainty and in accord with the norms of the Church:
that the events, apparitions and locutions given to Adele Brise in October of 1859 do exhibit the substance of supernatural character, and I do hereby approve these apparitions as worthy of belief (although not obligatory) by the Christian faithful (Official Decree on Marian Apparitions, Most Reverend David Laurin Ricken, D.D., J.C.L.).“
The Bishop then added: “I encourage the faithful to frequent this holy place as a place of solace and answered prayer (Official Decree on Marian Apparitions, Most Reverend David Laurin Ricken, D.D., J.C.L.).”
I was privileged to serve as Bishop Ricken’s Mitre and Crosier Bearer, and witness this hallowed event firsthand. This moment was-and still is-unique and historically significant. Never before had the Catholic Church given approval and validation to a Marian apparition in the United States.
To understand these apparitions, we must understand the visionary, Sister Adele Joseph Brise.
Adele was born in Belgium, on January 30, 1831. We know little about know her youth, except that she had a meager education and suffered the loss of an eye in a childhood accident. She was known for her simple, child-like faith and piety. Adele loved the Blessed Mother deeply and had a great devotion to the Mother of God. While she desired to enter an Ursuline Convent in Belgium, Adele was obedient to both her spiritual director and parents and left her homeland for the Green Bay Peninsula, in the United States on June 9, 1855 (The Chapel of Our Lady of Good Help, Sr. M. Dominica, O.S.F. 5).
Without complaint, Adele lived the grueling life of an immigrant pioneer on the wild Northern Wisconsin frontier. She helped to prepare and harvest the fields of her family’s 240 acre farm, take the grain to the grist mill, and care for and teach her younger siblings.
Just as in Lourdes (1858), the Blessed Mother chose to reveal herself to a simple farm girl.
Adele Brise received her first apparition in early October, 1859. She was following an Indian trail to the grist mill, with a sack of grain on her head. This trail passed by the very site where the Chapel now stands. As she came near the place, Adele saw a lady all in white standing between a maple tree and a hemlock tree. Adele stood still in fright. As she looked on, the lady slowly disappeared, leaving a white cloud after her. Adele continued on to the mill. She returned home without seeing anything more. When Adele told her parents about the vision, they pondered what this might be – perhaps a poor soul in need of prayers (The Chapel of Our Lady of Good Help, Sr. M. Dominica, O.S.F. 7-8)?
– Stay Tuned, I will (hopefully) post “part 2” next Tuesday
Our Lady of Good Help – Pray for us !!!