About two Tuesdays ago, I started a series of posts on the history of the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help. Today I will be posting “part 3″ in this series.
… Most people accepted Adele and her message. In the aftermath of the apparitions, the general response was awe and astonishment. However, some people believing that Adele was either crazy or a liar responded with skepticism. Almost immediately following her last apparition, Adele’s father, Lambert Brise, and some neighbor men built a 10 by 12 foot, wooden roadside chapel to mark the site of the visions. While these small, wooden roadside chapels were common among the Belgian communities, this one was unique. It was built, not on a roadside, but on a densely wooded Indian trail, to mark the very spot where the Queen of Heaven touched Earth (An example of such a roadside chapel can be found today, on the grounds of the current Shrine). The roadside chapel’s only ornament was a small picture of the Immaculate Heart of Mary – a gift from Rev. William Verhoeff, O.S.C., Adele’s confessor. Impressed by her sincerity and character, the owners of the property, on which the apparitions occurred, generously donated the land to Adele, to be used in her mission (The Chapel of Our Lady of Good Help, Sr. M. Dominica, O.S.F. 9).
Adele’s mission had just begun. Immediately, she set out to “Work in [Christ’s] vineyard,” by doing just as the “Queen of Heaven” had urged. In Belgium, Adele had desired to enter the Ursuline Convent, where she had received her First Holy Communion and devote herself to the foreign missions. When she reluctantly left Belgium to come to Wisconsin, Adele’s confessor had advised her that,
“If God wills it, you will become a sister in America. Go, I will pray for you.”
Adele now went about her mission “in Wisconsin” with the same fervor as if she had joined the convent “in Belgium” and was working in Africa or Asia. Adele went about her mission as though her salvation depended upon how well it was carried out. Adele walked up and down the peninsula, knocking on doors and asking to do all of the household work, in exchange only for the privilege of teaching the Catechism to the children. Her mission carried her as far North as Sturgeon Bay, a fifty-five mile walk from Robinsinville. Adele faithfully continued this mission of love for seven years. As incredible as it sounds, for seven years she instructed the ignorant and admonished the sinner. The February 22, 1871 issue of the Kewaunee Enterprise stated:
“With patience and earnestness that never flagged, she persevered in her mission going from house to house, and helping unsolicited to do whatever work there was to be done in the household – asking only in return that she be permitted to give instruction to the children. Her great joy, her disinterested zeal, her kind and sympathetic nature and her blameless life soon won for her a respect among the people with whom she labored that was almost reverence (The Chapel of Our Lady of Good Help, Sr. M. Dominica, O.S.F. 9-10)
When Adele felt that the children were sufficiently prepared to receive their sacraments, she would bring them to the pastor at Bay Settlement for examination. Father Daems so trusted Adele’s instruction, that he, after a short examination, would give the children their First Holy Communion. In this way, Adele faithfully responded to the Queen of Heaven’s request.
How long could Adele persevere in this mission alone? Would others come to help her? Find out next Tuesday.