Champion, Wisconsin: National Shrine of Our Lady of Champion (formerly Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help)….only approved Marian apparition in the U.S.A.)
About Adele Brise & the Apparition:
Upon receiving her first Holy Communion, Adele and a few close friends promised the Blessed Virgin Mary that they would devote their lives to becoming religious teaching sisters in Belgium. However, this promise grew difficult to keep when her parents decided to move to America alongside other Belgium settlers. After seeking advice from her confessor, she was told to be obedient to her parents. He assured her that if the Lord willed her to become a teacher and a sister, she would serve in that vocation in America. She was 24 years old at the time.
After the six-week voyage to America, the Brise family joined the largest Belgian settlement – near present-day Champion, Wisconsin. Belgian pioneers’ and settlers’ lives were difficult, and many died in the harsh Wisconsin winters. Adele served her family’s needs by often taking grain to the grist mill.
While walking along a trail in the woods on October 9, 1859, Adele saw a lady dressed in white, standing between two trees believed to be a maple and hemlock. Although the mysterious woman stayed silent, it left Adele wondering what sort of encounter it may have been. When Adele told her family, they believed her, but thought perhaps it was a soul in purgatory visiting this earthly life asking for prayers.
Adele walked to Mass with her sister and a friend. The church was 10 miles away from home, but Adele made the journey every Sunday, no matter the weather. Along the same path, Adele saw the mysterious lady standing in the same spot between the two trees. However, Adele was the only one to see her, so she and her companions continued their journey to Mass.
Adele started a school for the children of the settlement and formed a community of women to help teach religion. Although Adele and her helpers wore habits as they taught the children and begged for money, they never took vows to any order of nuns. Rather they were third order tertiary, who were lay people who were linked to a specific religious order—in this case the Franciscans.)Sister Adele began a school and soon, a chapel, and a community of women formed to help teach religion.
Adele had three separate apparitions of the Blessed Mother, beginning on October 9, 1859.
Initially frightened, by the third apparition, she finally had the strength to ask the Blessed Mother what she wished of her. The Blessed Mother replied “Gather the children in this wild country and teach them what they should know for salvation“.
It is interesting to read accounts of the great Peshtigo Fire where almost all of the town was destroyed……except for the chapel. As the fire approached (and would surely have wiped out both the building and the people in it), Adele led a procession with a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary around the chapel. The fire stopped just a short distance from the Chapel and it was saved.
About the Shrine of Our Lady of Champion:
The Shrine at Champion, Wisconsin is the first and only Marian shrine in the United States that is on the site of an approved apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
While the Bishops of Green Bay had given full support of the Shrine throughout its history as a place of prayer and pilgrimage, the Apparitions had never received formal Church approval until December 8, 2010, when Bishop Ricken of the Diocese of Green Bay gave official approval.
Reading from his decree, the Bishop 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.”
The grounds are open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. daily and the Shrine from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily.
The Shrine offers daily Masses & Confession. Visiting priests may con-celebrate Masses with permission. There is also a gift shop and cafe. Among the items available on the website is a video about Sister Adele.
Traveling to the Shrine of Our Lady of Champion:
Address: 4047 Chapel Drive, Champion, WI 54229
GPS coordinates: 44° 35′ 27.3048” N, 87° 46′ 25.4676” W
Tel: +1 (920) 866.2571
e-mail: use contact form on their website
Click here for the official website of Our Lady of Good Help shrine in Champion, Wisconsin