About five Tuesdays ago, I started a series of posts on the history of the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help. Last week, due to the post on St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, I had to interrupt this series. “We have now returned to regular programing,” and today I will be posting “part 4″ in this series.
…. Adele pressed on hard in her mission, with superhuman perseverance. However, this was soon taking a toll on her fragile health. Nevertheless, Adele continued to pour herself in the service of catechizing the children of Northern Wisconsin.
As word of the apparitions spread in Northern Wisconsin, more and more pilgrims came to visit the 8 by 10 roadside chapel marking the spot were the Queen of Heaven touched Earth. It soon became clear with the arrival of these new pilgrims that a larger chapel was necessary to accommodate them. In 1861, Adele’s father, Lambert Brise, came together with the neighbor men to build a larger chapel, which was 24 by 40 feet. The Chapel of Our Lady of Good Help history book (P. 11) details this 1861 chapel by citing an interview with Sr. Adele, which appeared in the February 22, 1871 issue of the Kewaunee Enterprise:
“She [Adele] conducted us first through the Chapel – a small church edifice, capable of seating about one hundred persons, and over the entrance on the exterior was written the inscription, “Notre Dame de bon Secours, priez pour nous.”
“In the auditorium, low unpainted benches without backs answered the purpose of pews, but the chancel and altar were richly and expensively decorated with paintings, images, and silver plate. On one of the side walls of the chancel were hung eight crutches, said to have been left by cripples who had been cured of their lameness through the instrumentality of Our Lady and which are regarded as ever present witnesses of her power (p. 11).”
The Rev. Philip Crud, appointed pastor of the Belgian Colony in 1865, was deeply impressed with the fervor and zeal of Adele and the fruit of her mission. Rev. Crud noticed Adele’s failing health and advised her that others should join in her mission. He urged Adele to appeal for funds, in order to build a convent and school. Then the children could come to her, and with the other sisters assisting her, Adele could conserve her strength.
Adele was soon joined by other like-minded women who assisted her in the mission to catechize the children. They donned a Franciscan tertiary habit, lived in the convent, and called themselves “sisters”, however took no vows and thus were free to leave the convent at any time – as some of them did. These sisters begged for funds, just as Adele had done.With Fr. Crud’s letter and approval, they went door to door asking for food and money for their mission.
A new school, established by Sr. Adele and her companions around 1867, was soon in operation. Find out next week how Sr. Adele continued to fulfill Our Lady’s mission through the convent and school.