Did you know that we have a confirmed Marian apparition site, right here, in Wisconsin? It is the only approved site in the United States! How cool is that!
I had the pleasure to visit the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion, Wisconsin, in the spring of 2013. Considering other approved apparition sites are out of the United States, I all but gave up hope on the possibility of ever setting my feet on such sacred ground.
Now, those of us who grew up in Wisconsin understand how the Green Bay area is “the holy land,” but for an entirely different reason. Never would I have imagined making this type of pilgrimage to Green Bay, let alone for the opportunity to place myself where Mary was. (Needless to say, I went with the hope of having Our Lady appear to me. A girl can still hope!)
This little shrine sits among acres and acres of cornfields. If you blink, you will pass it. It is a gem of a place.
The story goes that 153 years ago, Our Lady appeared to a 28 year-old Belgium farm woman, Adele Brise. The Blessed Virgin appeared to her three different times beginning in October of 1859, encouraging her each time to teach the children their faith. Adele struggled with the message at first, for she didn’t feel confident in her catechism to begin so lofty a task. The Blessed Virgin told her not to be afraid, as she would be with her. Similar to other stories of this type, some believed Adele, while others questioned her honesty and sincerity, and were quite skeptical.
While the local priest was cautious, Adele’s father supported her and proceeded to build the first chapel shrine at the site where Our Lady appeared among the trees. Adele proceeded to travel the area teaching the children about Jesus Christ and His saving power by leading them and their families to the sacraments.
She established a school and a religious order dedicated to the task, thus becoming Sr. Adele. The school stands at the site of the shrine. Adele never wavered in her devotion to Mary, and in her devotion, Adele was greatly blessed.
To read more about Adele, visit: http://www.thecompassnews.org/2010/12/guided-by-mary-adele-brise-taught-children-about-catholic-faith/
God is good in so many ways! For me, this story only serves to reiterate how supremely magnificent our mother is when you place your trust in her. She will take care of you. So will her Son.
Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.
Jill Fischer is Principal of St. Dominic Catholic School.