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Approves Marian apparitions at Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help" the first and only in the USA" ( see video )

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Bishop Ricken Issues Formal Decree. Marian Apparitions at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help are first and only in the U.S. to be approved by the Church!

Bishop David Ricken announced on Wednesday, December 8th, that he officially approves the Marian apparitions that occurred on the the site of the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help. The announcement was made during a special Mass for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception held at the Shrine which is located at Champion, Wisconsin.
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.”
This declaration makes the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help at Champion 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 have never received formal Church approval. Along with his decree on the apparitions, Bishop Ricken further approved the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help as an official Diocesan Shrine of Green Bay.

Further details of the approval given during the Mass of the Immaculate Conception will follow later. In the meantime, you can view the official decrees and Diocesan press release by clicking the links below.

> Official Decree on Marian Apparitions.......http://www.shrineofourladyofgoodhelp.com/PDFs/decree_OurLadyofGoodHelp.pdf

> Official Decree on Diocesan Shrine.........http://www.shrineofourladyofgoodhelp.com/PDFs/diocesanShrine_Decree.pdf

> Green Bay Diocese Press Release......http://www.shrineofourladyofgoodhelp.com/PDFs/PressRelease_120810.pdf





http://sacradomusnazarena.blogspot.com/2010/12/wisconsin-apparition-and-shrine.html
Worthy of belief
Bishop Ricken approves Marian apparitions at Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help
GREEN BAY, Wis. December 8, 2010 (the feast of the immaculate conception ) -- Bishop David Ricken announced today that he officially approves the Marian apparitions at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help at Champion.

The announcement was made during a special Mass for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help at Champion.

Declared with moral certainty

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."

Today’s declaration makes Our Lady of Good Help at Champion the first and only site in the United States of an approved apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Three apparitions in 1859

In October 1859, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared on three occasions to Adele Brise, a young Belgian immigrant. Brise stated that a lady dressed in dazzling white appeared to her and claimed to be the "Queen of Heaven who prays for the conversion of sinners."

The Lady asked Brise to pray for sinners, as well as to gather the children and teach them what they should know for salvation. The Blessed Virgin followed the commands with these words of assurance to Adele Brise, "Go and fear nothing, I will help you."

Since 1859, countless faithful have made the pilgrimage to Champion, Wisconsin to offer prayers of thanksgiving and petition to Jesus and to ask for intercession from Our Lady of Good Help.

Fulfilling obligations

After receiving the apparitions, Adele Brise immediately began to fulfill the obligations the Blessed Virgin entrusted to her. She gathered local children and taught them how to pray, make the sign of the cross, and to give love, thanks, and praise to the Lord.

As part of her commitment to the Blessed Virgin, Brise set up a Catholic school and began a community of Third Order Franciscan women. Eventually, a school and convent were built on the grounds to further the mission entrusted to Brise.
Spared during Peshtigo fire

The 151-year history of the Shrine is rich with written and oral accounts of prayers that have been answered at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help. The sources document physical healings and conversions that have taken place as a result of pilgrimages to the Shrine.

In addition, as the Peshtigo fire of 1871 engulfed the surrounding area, the entire five acres of land consecrated to the Blessed Virgin remained unscathed. It is believed that the land was spared after Brise organized a prayer vigil that circled the area.



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Sister Adele Brise
Adele Brise was born in Dion-le-Val, in the Belgian province of Brabant on January 30, 1831. As a child, Adele was involved in an accident with lye that resulted in the loss of an eye. Despite this handicap and a meager education, Adele was known for her charming and inviting personality, fervent piety, simple religious ways, and confidence in the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
“She and several of her companions had promised Our Lady at that time to become religious and devote their lives to the foreign missions. The other girls followed their vocation. That was why Adele felt so sorry when our Blessed Mother said to her ‘What are you doing here in idleness while your companions are working in the vineyard of my Son?’" — Sister Pauline.

Before leaving Europe, Adele discussed her mixed emotions with her confessor, who told her to obey her parents and join them on their move to America, saying “If God wills it, you will become a Sister in America. Go, I will pray for you.”

Included in the wave of Belgian immigration to the Green Bay peninsula area during the 1850’s was the Brise family. Lambert and Marie Catherine Brise left Belgium in early June of 1855 with their four children, including 24-year-old Adele Joseph Brise. After a seven-week voyage, the Brise family landed in New York, then ventured westward for Wisconsin. By August of 1855, the Brises purchased 240 acres of land in the town of Red River for $120.00.

Upon moving to the new world, Adele obediently bore the burdens of pioneer life. But, according to Sister Pauline, Adele reluctantly left her native Belgium to come to America, because she intended to join a religious community in her homeland where she had made her First Communion.
The Mission of Sister Adele:
Adele was so convinced by her encounter with Our Blessed Mother that, from the time of the vision until her death, she devoted her life to the work that the Virgin Mary commissioned her to perform. So, with confidence in the promise made to her by the Blessed Virgin Mary, Adele Brise began catechizing the children and admonishing sinners throughout the Bay Settlement and the Green Bay Peninsula. Weather conditions, fatigue, lack of education, dangers of the forest, and ridicule did not deter Adele’s duty to Our Lady’s request to her. Adele would venture up and down the peninsula, as far as fifty miles from her home, to accomplish her mission.
In 1865, the Reverend Philip Crud was appointed pastor of the Belgian colony. Impressed with the sincerity of Adele and the success of her work, Father Crud advised Adele to recruit help for her assigned mission. He urged her to appeal for funds, and to build a convent and school so, in Sister Pauline’s words, those in need of religious instruction “could come to her instead of her going to seek them.” Enlisting others in her efforts would allow Adele to conserve her health and strength. With a letter of recommendation from Father Crud, Adele and an English-speaking companion, Sister Marguerite Allard, set out to solicit funds around the Green Bay Peninsula. One individual Adele and Marguerite encountered in their fundraising travels was Eliza Allen Starr, author of the book Patron Saints. Starr journaled her meeting with Adele in the book:

“On one of the warmest days of this last summer, coming into my little parlor, I saw two women seated there, dressed in black serge gowns and cloaks, and wearing bonnets exactly like the cape-bonnets that little girls wear. Theirs were made of black berège with narrow strips of pasteboard run in, to make them stand out from the face. It gave an air of rustic humility to their costume. I welcomed them as ‘Sisters’ of some order unknown to me, and found that only the youngest one could speak English; but a letter in choice French from Rev. Father P______ from Robinsonville (Champion), near Green Bay in Wisconsin, gave me a clue to the mystery before me. It introduced me to Sister Adele, a humble Belgian woman to whom had been granted undoubtedly, an apparition of our Blessed Lady, leaving her to tell me, through her young interpreter, the story of her graces and of her labors.

“…Sister Adele had no ‘price’ for teaching…no tuition bills to make out to her pupils, even at the end of a whole year; and their parents, finding the school a free school, were glad to send their children. Once started, there was no lack of scholars; and, very soon, Adele found her room was too small for her school. Then, this courageous woman undertook to beg, from more favored communities, the money necessary for building a large schoolhouse, then a Chapel, and, finally, to raise a home for the religious, whom she hoped to persuade to assist her in her great work. It was on this errand that she had come to our city, where churches and schools and sisterhoods flourish, and there were few hearts on which her appeal fell unheeded…Sister Adele does not yet belong to any religious Order, but if she ever does, I hope she will wear her simple cape-bonnet as a memorial of the rustic garb in which she met the Queen of angels and of saints, and received her commission to teach the little ones of the ‘household of faith’.”

Persistent solicitation of funding and sustenance proved successful, and in 1867, the school was in operation. Adele’s fundraising consisted not only of raising money for building projects and education funding, but also for mere sustenance. Adele would beg local farmers for vegetables, grain and meat. But Adele’s confidence in Mary’s promise to her did not waver. Even when Adele’s fellow Sisters did not know where their next meal was coming from, Sister Adele would gather her companions after the children were in bed, and beg for Mary’s help in the Chapel. Before morning, someone would invariably drop off a bag of flour or supply of meat at the door. Many boarders brought supplies from home as a means of compensation for their education from the Sisters.

Following the advice of Father Crud, Sister Adele sought out and gained the help needed for operating a school and convent. Adele enlisted the aid of Sister Mary Gagnon, who was the school’s first teacher, and Marguerite Allard, affectionately known as “Sister Maggie”, who served as Sister Adele’s assistant for 20 years. Sister Adele taught religion to the French and Belgian speaking children.

Following an accident in which she was thrown from a wagon on her way to a Mass in Champion, Sister Adele experienced continual physical suffering from that point until her death. Adele soon passed more stewardship duties of the Chapel and School to Sister Maggie Allard. After the death of Sister Maggie in February of 1890, an ailing Sister Adele placed the management of the home to Sister Marie Madeleine, a young woman who joined Sister Adele’s group in 1888. This decision discouraged the older members, causing more than half of them to leave at one time. Six years later, Adele’s group of sisters dwindled to three, and the school greatly diminished in numbers. Near the time of Sister Adele’s death, Sister Pauline met with her mentor one last time.

“We went into the Chapel and prayed. I can still see the calm, serene and happy look on the face of the good Sister as if a light from heaven shone upon her."

On July 5, 1896, Sister Adele Brise uttered her last words: “I rejoiced in what was said to me. We shall go into the house of the Lord”.

She died that day, and was laid to rest near the Chapel. A simple tombstone bears the following in French: "Sacred Cross, under thy shadow I rest and hope. Sister Marie Adele Joseph Brise Died July the 5th, 1896 At the age of 66 years.”


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The Apparition at Champion, Wisconsin


Three important decisions were reached by the Church during the early 1850’s:
• On November 21, 1851, the Bishops of the United States admonished the faithful through the decrees of the First Plenary Council of Baltimore that no parish is complete until it has schools adequate to the needs of its children.

• On December 8, 1854, the Pope declared the dogma of the Immaculate Conception

• Seven years earlier, at a conference in Baltimore, the Bishops of the United States, under her title of the Immaculate Conception, chose Our Blessed Mother as the patron of the United States

Shortly after these important events in the Church, two manifestations of the Blessed Virgin Mary occurred, one in Europe and the other in North America:

• In February of 1858, the Immaculate Mother manifested herself and expressed her will to St. Bernadette in Lourdes, France.

• A year and eight months later, on October 9, 1859, the Queen of Heaven manifested herself to Adele Brise in Champion (Robinsonville), Wisconsin, USA. Note: Refer to the Snapshot on the Contact/Map page to find out why Robinsonville changed their name to Champion.

According to Sister Pauline LaPlant, to whom Adele often told her story:

“ She [Adele] was going to the grist mill about four miles from here [Champion] with a sack of wheat on her head […]. As Adele came near the place, she saw a lady all in white standing between two trees, one a maple, the other a hemlock. Adele was frightened and stood still. The vision slowly disappeared, leaving a white cloud after it. Adele continued on her errand and returned home without seeing anything more. She told her parents what had happened, and they wondered what it could be — maybe a poor soul who needed prayers?

“On the following Sunday, she had to pass here again on her way to Mass at Bay Settlement, about eleven miles from her home [...]. This time, she was not alone, but was accompanied by her sister Isabel and a neighbor woman [Mrs. Vander Niessen]. When they came near the trees, the same lady in white was at the place where Adele had seen her before. Adele was again frightened and said, almost in a tone of reproach, 'Oh, there is that lady again.'

“Adele had not the courage to go on. The other two did not see anything, but they could tell by Adele’s look that she was afraid. They thought, too, that it might be a poor soul that needed prayers. They waited a few minutes, and Adele told them it was gone. It had disappeared as the first time, and all she could see was a little mist or white cloud. After Mass, Adele went to confession and told her confessor how she had been frightened at the sight of a lady in white. He [Father William Verhoef] bade her not to fear, and to speak to him of this outside of the confessional. Father Verhoef told her that if it were a heavenly messenger, she would see it again, and it would not harm her, but to ask in God’s name who it was and what it desired of her. After that, Adele had more courage. She started home with her two companions, and a man who was clearing land for the Holy Cross Fathers at Bay Settlement accompanied them.

"As they approached the hallowed spot, Adele could see the beautiful lady, clothed in dazzling white, with a yellow sash around her waist. Her dress fell to her feet in graceful folds. She had a crown of stars around her head, and her long, golden, wavy hair fell loosely around her shoulders. Such a heavenly light shone around her that Adele could hardly look back at her sweet face. Overcome by this heavenly light and the beauty of her amiable visitor, Adele fell on her knees.

" 'In God’s name, who are you and what do you want of me?’ asked Adele, as she had been directed.

“ ‘I am the Queen of Heaven, who prays for the conversion of sinners, and I wish you to do the same. You received Holy Communion this morning, and that is well. But you must do more. Make a general confession, and offer Communion for the conversion of sinners. If they do not convert and do penance, my Son will be obliged to punish them’

“ 'Adele, who is it?'' said one of the women. 'O why can't we see her as you do?' said another weeping.

“ ‘Kneel,’ said Adele, ‘the Lady says she is the Queen of Heaven.’ Our Blessed Lady turned, looked kindly at them, and said, ‘Blessed are they that believe without seeing. What are you doing here in idleness…while your companions are working in the vineyard of my Son?’

“ ‘What more can I do, dear Lady?’ said Adele, weeping.

“ ‘Gather the children in this wild country and teach them what they should know for salvation’

“ ‘But how shall I teach them who know so little myself?’ replied Adele.

“ ‘Teach them,’ replied her radiant visitor, ‘their catechism, how to sign themselves with the sign of the Cross, and how to approach the sacraments; that is what I wish you to do. Go and fear nothing. I will help you.’ "

The manifestation of Our Lady then lifted her hands, as though beseeching a blessing for those at her feet, and slowly vanished, leaving Adele overwhelmed and prostrate on the ground.

When the news spread about Adele Brise’s vision of the Blessed Virgin, most people believed the account and were astonished. Some considered the event a demented delusion. Adele Brise, however, considered it a commission to catechize the children and admonish the sinners of the Bay Settlement. To honor the alleged apparition, Adele’s father erected a makeshift chapel near the spot of Adele’s vision.

Reports of Favors and Graces:
Because we are continually hearing stories of people who visit The Chapel and have their prayers answered, we are interested in keeping records of all favors and graces granted to those who come to this Shrine. Please send us details of healings and miraculous favors that directly result from a visit to The Chapel, or to requests made of Our Lady Of Good Help or Sister Adele.

The Shrine of Our Lady Of Good Help
4047 Chapel Drive
New Franken, WI 54229

Commission of Investigation and Final Decree
God continues to reveal Himself to individuals "not indeed for the declaration of any new doctrine of faith, but for the direction of human acts" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica II-II q174 a6 reply 3).

In 2009, the most Reverend David L. Ricken, Bishop of Green Bay, opened a formal Church investigation into the apparitions that occurred in 1859 on the site of the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help. While private revelation, the task of the commission was to review all the historical information on the apparitions, as well as the life of the Sister Adele and test its consistency with Public Revelation as guarded by the Catholic Church. On Wednesday, December 8, 2010, the feast day of the Immaculate Conception, the Bishop announced that based on the findings of the commission, he officially approves the Marian apparitions that occurred on the site of the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help at Champion, Wisconsin.

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.”

This declaration makes the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help at Champion the first and only Marian shrine in the United States that is on the site of an approved apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary.



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The Town of Robinsonville Gets A New Name:
One day when Sister Adele walked into the town of Robinsonville on business, the town council was in the middle of trying to decide on a new name for their town. When they asked Sister Adele what she thought, without hesitation, Adele told them to rename the town Champion after the City in Belgium where she had always planned to move to and join a religious community. The town council agreed and changed the name of the town to Champion, which indirectly fulfilled Adele's childhood dream.


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Bishop Ricken: Why I Approved the Apparition

The bishop of Green Bay talks to the Register about today’s historic approval of the authenticity of the 1859 apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Adele Brise.

Bishop David Ricken speaks today at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help during Mass for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.

The Catholic Church in the United States has extra reason to celebrate on this particular December 8 feast of the Immaculate Conception.

After a special morning Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help at Champion, Wis., Bishop David Ricken concluded two years of investigation by officially approving the authenticity of the Marian apparitions that took place on this site in 1859.

As Bishop of Green Bay, his official decree and proclamation makes Our Lady of Good Help the very first and the only site in the United States of an approved apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Citing in his decree the continuous streams of faithful who have come to the shrine for over 150 years to pray to Jesus through the intercession of Our Lady of Good Help, the long tradition of answered prayers, the graces poured out through the sacraments, the character of the visionary, and the immediate and continuing effects and mandate of our Blessed Mother, Bishop Ricken decreed: “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.”

“I encourage the faithful to frequent this holy place as a place of solace and answered prayer,” he added.


More than 250 invited guests filled the shrine chapel to hear Bishop Ricken read the official decree on the authenticity of the apparitions. He also issued a second decree, formally approving the shrine as a diocesan shrine.

It has been that almost immediately after the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared three times in two days — Oct. 8-9, 1859 — to Adele Brise, a young Belgian immigrant. Mary identified herself as the Queen of Heaven and gave the young farm girl a twofold mission: to pray for the conversion of sinners and to catechize children: “... Teach them what they should know for salvation … Teach them their catechism, how to sign themselves with the Sign of the Cross, and how to approach the sacraments …”

Brise “was given the charge and mission to be an evangelist in this mission territory, then a heavily forested area,” Bishop Ricken told the Register. At the price of great personal sacrifice, she brought the Gospel and taught children to pray.

In a few short sentences the Blessed Mother gave Adele Brise “a mission that would take the rest of her life and a mission that would last here 150 years later,” Bishop Ricken said.

“Today the messages are just as pertinent as in the days of Adele Brise,” he explained, because today, more than then, there is “a need to hear the gospel and the truth proclaimed and lived and also the need to be catechized, to be made more aware of the teachings of the Church and to be able to defend and explain them.”


Adele Brise, a Belgian immigrant, was 28 when Mary appeared to her three times in October 1859. The first appearance took place while Brise, who later became a Third Order Franciscan sister, was carrying a sack of wheat to a grist mill about four miles from Robinsonville, now known as Champion.

Today’s young generations need to hear the Gospel proclaimed afresh and new and to hear the teachings of the Church in a clear way.

Earlier, at a press conference shortly after the announcement, Bishop Ricken made the same point when he said that the country is hungry for the Gospel and the Good News. Calling our times an opportunity to do what Brise did as she went home-to-home to evangelize, he said that Catholics should be inspired to invite people to come to church and to catechize the younger generation.

“For the last few decades in the Church we have been wandering about in our efforts to educate people in the faith,” he said. Some of the basics are being forgotten, he continued, and youth especially are deprived of the gospel and hungering for it.

Karen Tipps, who volunteers at the shrine and has lived on the grounds for 18 years with her husband Steve who is the caretaker, said that this proclamation is something everyone at the shrine has been hoping and praying for for years.

Now the message will reach the wider world. “I think the Blessed Mother wanted this message out now — teach children the faith; make sure we don’t lose any more generations; now is the right time to evangelize the world,” Tipps said.

“When school groups come, they’re in the presence of Our Lady and they respond,” Tipps said, pointing out that Our Lady said to gather the children. She also believes that Bishop Ricken, the 12th bishop of Green Bay, was handpicked by the Blessed Mother to be here at this point in history.


Adele Brise devoted the rest of her life to teaching children. She began a community of Third Order Franciscan sisters and built a school next to the shrine.

In fact, although Bishop Ricken’s announcement that he would declare the authenticity of the apparitions came less than a week ago, he was named head of the USCCB’s Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis at the USCCB meeting in mid-November.

“This certainly wasn’t a plan of mine or the bishops,” he said, adding that it seems providential.

After the proclamation of the decree, Father John Doerfler, the rector of the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help, said that he has a deep love for our Blessed Mother. “She is the most beautiful woman in the world, and this is a moment of great joy and honor for her, and that gives me great happiness.

“For the people who come here to the shrine through the years,” he continued, “it’s an affirmation of what they know in their hearts and experienced of the Lord working in their lives.”

Bishop Ricken noted that the answers to prayers here have included miraculous events. In 1871, 12 years to the day after the apparitions, the Peshtigo Fire, the worst forest fire ever recorded in North America, destroyed 1.5 million acres (bigger than the state of Rhode Island) of the land surrounding the shrine and took over 2,000 lives. The only oasis to survive was the shrine chapel and its other buildings on the five acres consecrated to our Blessed Mother as Brise, then Sister Adele, gathered the children and people and prayed in the chapel.

Healing of both body and soul have also marked the shrine since its beginning. Prayers after prayers have been answered, Bishop Ricken said. And not just simple prayers, but prayers in hopeless cases, he noted.


Brise’s father, Lambert, built a small chapel near the spot of the apparitions. When a brick chapel was built in 1880, the trees where Mary appeared were cut down and the chapel’s altar was placed over the spot.

He said this apparition fits the qualities of other apparitions in Church history. Marian apparitions date back to the fourth century and have been reported around the world, according to the University of Dayton’s Marian Library, which holds one of the world’s largest collections of research on Mary. The Marian Library lists 11 Marian apparitions that have received official approval by diocesan bishops worldwide since 1900.

In fact, Bishop Ricken was surprised to discover that no official approbation had ever been given for this shrine, despite the fact that all of his predecessors had been supportive of it. That was part of his decision for today’s decree.

The other two reasons? “My love for the Blessed Mother, and the simple messages to get the faith out there.”

As for what will happen now at the shrine, the bishop said that depends on Divine Providence. For sure, there’s going to be cooperation with “whatever God and the Blessed Mother want here.”

Share by Register staff writer Joseph Pronechen is based in Trumbull, Connecticut.
CNS contributed to this story.


http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/bishop-ricken-why-i-approved-the-apparition/


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From...http://www.spiritdaily.com/robinsonvillewitness.htm
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AT THE MASS WHERE APPARITION WAS APPROVED, STRONG EMOTIONS AND A SENSE OF 'HOME'

By Linda Clerkin

Home.


Peace. Silence. Simplicity. It’s still here. In a world drugging itself with darkness, ignorance of God, impurity and crazy cacophony, there is a place in the midst of a sea of cornfields and dairy farms, under a wide sky not lit by streetlights. It’s not gone forever. It’s still here.

A friend from church and I just returned from the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion, Wisconsin. Learn all you can on this website and other good Catholic sites about it. This site has had its story, old and new, covered thoroughly, so I won’t repeat it. If you live in Wisconsin -- or not -- and you have never heard of Champion, don’t fret. Most people here haven’t either.

Don’t worry, you will. You’ll visit and won’t want to leave, or at least you’ll be wanting to return as soon as you drive off on Highway K.

I can’t stay away. Neither can the friends and family I've brought here in the last year.

Remember what it felt like being a little child on Christmas Eve? Multiply that by maybe 1,000. No, more. That's what we felt like on Tues. Dec. 7. We couldn't fall asleep in anticipation of what might be announced today. We left the shrine after a brief visit last night under a starry December sky, not a breeze stirring, not a sound on stubbled fields and Christ in the Tabernacle inside. And His Mother having touched this very ground. . Do you remember quiet moments like that?

When you get here --and you will -- look around. Stop. Don't speak. Just listen. Can you hear? Our Lady and the Lord gently beckoning you to remember who you are as Christians, learn again who you are as Catholics. If you're forgotten, come here, come home, and be reminded. Learn. Its all so wonderful and simple and beautiful. Just like the landscape of family farms Our Lady is calling us back to here.

Remember when life was simpler and not a cauldron of noise and crazy images and a culture of legalized death and materialism? No? Come home here and remember, then. Remember the God Who loves you. Who is merciful. Yes, who is just, too. You can't get away from that in this place. But this place was an island of God's mercy then and it never stopped being that. Come back. Come home.

Learn who you are, learn your precious faith all over again, maybe even for the first time.

I am so thankful to Our Lady for the blessing of being there on her feast day and in the place where today the United States of America, and Canada for that matter, has its first official approved apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

You’ve by now read or heard the amazing accounts on this website about the apparitions of Our Lady to a young Adele Brice in a Wisconsin primeordial virgin forest in 1859, the strange and massive fire that to this day is the largest forest fire in United States history and that destroyed living things and thousands of lives in Northeastern Wisconsin and Upper Michigan in 1871. The Shrine grounds that miraculously -- and that is not just a figure of speech – survived that inferno without a scorch inside its boundary.

Amazing stuff for me, a Wisconsin girl who learned about the Great Peshtigo Fire in Miss Kiviko’s fourth grade class at Fontana Elementary School in 1974. But we never learned back then about Our Lady’s apparition to Adele or the miracle that occurred 12 years later nearly to the day. I learned about that one afternoon about three years ago on Drew Mariani’s show on Relevant Radio. I knew I had to go see this for myself. Eventually I did, and found a peace and maternal presence of Our Lady there that is hard to put into words. And home. The silence. The fields. I’ve been there at dawn and heard, while on my knees praying inside the church in the gloamy dawn light, the roosters on the farm next door crowing up the sunrise. The cows mooing in the barn. What is found there is different for everyone. Physical and spiritual healing, serenity, rediscovery of their faith and their catechism, a landscape and simplicity you feared was long gone, years ago, decades ago. It's not. All of that and more is here. Right in the middle of what some folks call "nowhere". Here in the farmlands of Wisconsin. But Our Lady didn't think it was nowhere. And today, Holy Mother Church doesn't think it's nowhere, either. It's the first of it's kind in the United States of America. Our poor, sick United States of America.

This little hidden place, that only about a month ago, finished construction on its first parking lot, now takes its rank among magnificent names such as Lourdes, Fatima, Guadalupe.

I don't know about anyone else, but a thought kept occurring to me yesterday, today and each time I've visited: Is God and the Blessed Mother calling us back to a simpler way of life and thinking? One that we lived not that long ago? Is that why the first approved Marian apparition in the history of the U.S. is a little plot of land on a county trunk highway almost obscured by the farm fields, grain silos and placid animals that surround it for miles and miles? Is She trying to tell us something?

A well known missionary priest two years ago spoke at these grounds about our Catholic faith and the life and death matter it is for a soul to know his or her faith. Folks from a few states away had arrived by car for his mission talk. The man got out of his car and looked around at fields and sky and with smile and open mouth said "Where am I?"

Father smiled and answered "Holy ground, my friend. Holy ground."

Are you asking yourself that same question in your life and in your soul - "Where am I?"

Come home, my friend, to holy ground.
[resources: The Last Secret]





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On Dec. 8, 2010 -the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception- the bishop decreed with "moral certainty" that the Virgin Mary had indeed appeared to a young Belgian immigrant woman, Adele Brise, on three occasions in October of 1859.

Since 1861, the site of those apparitions has been home to a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary under her title "Our Lady of Good Help." Following a two-year investigation of the alleged apparitions, Bishop Ricken proclaimed them "worthy of belief," and confirmed his diocese's official recognition of the popular shrine.

During each of those three apparitions, a lady in shining white clothes appeared to Adele. The third time, she identified herself as "the Queen of Heaven who prays for the conversion of sinners."

"I wish you to do the same," she told the 28-year-old woman, who had intended to become a nun before coming to America. Adele and her family lived on a small homestead in Wisconsin, which had become a U.S. state only 11 years earlier.

The Virgin Mary also gave her a mission of evangelism and catechesis: "Gather the children in this wild country, and teach them what they should know for salvation … Go and fear nothing. I will help you."

Adele Brise went on to become a Third Order Franciscan. She traveled throughout the frontier state giving religious instruction to children and adults, striving to fulfill the heavenly mandate. Her work was especially important at a time when Wisconsin severely lacked priests, and simply attending church could involve a strenuous journey.

Near the chapel, her community of Franciscan women also established a school. When a fire ravaged the area near the apparition site in 1871, the chapel and school were the only buildings left standing, along with their convent and a surrounding area of land consecrated to the Virgin Mary.

In 1890, six years before she died, Sister Adele's adopted hometown of Robinsonville renamed itself after the Belgian town of Champion. The Franciscan sister had asked for the change, in honor of a childhood promise she had made to the Virgin Mary to enter a Belgian religious order in that region.

Bishop Ricken told CNA that Sister Adele's own life was among the most convincing testimonies to the validity of the apparition. Rather than calling attention to herself or the apparitions, she had humbly devoted the rest of her life to fulfilling the instructions she had received.

"She went all over this area, and visited the homes that were scattered far and wide," Bishop Ricken said, recounting the sister's Franciscan spirit of humble simplicity. "She walked most of the time, and she'd spend several days with the children teaching them the catechism and talking with the parents about their faith."

"She really had an evangelistic spirit … and lived that out, not just immediately after the message, but her whole life long."


http://www.ewtn.com/vnews/getstory.asp?number=109982


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Bishop Ricken told EWTN News that Sister Adele's own life was among the most convincing testimonies to the validity of the apparition. Rather than calling attention to herself or the apparitions, she had humbly devoted the rest of her life to fulfilling the instructions she had received.



“She really had an evangelistic spirit … and lived that out, not just immediately after the message, but her whole life long.”

Bishop Ricken said the simplicity and clarity of Mary's message also testified to the truth of the apparitions. Her instructions to Sister Adele were “simple, but very much loaded with the main message of the Gospel and with the teachings of the Church.”

The bishop also recalled discovering “countless stories of answered prayers,” including reports of “what many call miracles,” among those who had visited the shrine to seeking intercession from Our Lady of Good Help.

Although the bishop's approval of the apparitions is new, his recognition of the chapel's status as a diocesan shrine simply confirms what pilgrims have implicitly understood about the sacred place for over 150 years.

Bishop Ricken explained that he has heard “story after story” of “incredible” cures and conversions – and understands that the events of October 9, 1859 are still having life-changing effects among the faithful. Like the famous French apparition site at Lourdes, the shrine in Champion has a collection of crutches that pilgrims have discarded as unnecessary after receiving healing there.

Fr. John Doefler, rector of the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help, indicated there could be an even more profound connection between the Blessed Virgin's appearance in Lourdes, and the apparition to Adele Brise. He pointed out that she had appeared to Adele Brise one year after her appearances to St. Bernadette Soubirous, and announced herself in a way that connected both events.

“In Lourdes, Mary identifies herself as the Immaculate Conception,” Fr. Doefler explained. “Here, she identifies herself as the Queen of Heaven … Between the two of them, it encompasses all of the Marian mysteri


http://www.ewtnnews.com/


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