In a rural area of Wisconsin Mary appeared to a 28-year-old woman named Adele Brise 159 years ago this month.
Today the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion, Wisconsin, occupies the location of the apparition. It’s the only approved Marian apparition site in the United States.
During this time of crisis in the Church, we need a powerful intercessor like the Blessed Mother. The month of October’s dedication to the rosary is a gift to the Church, especially this year (see page 4 of our October 2018 print issue for a staff editorial that reflects more deeply on these important issues).
We should consider praying to Mary under her patronage as Our Lady of Good Help. Just as Our Lady of Good Help assisted the people of Wisconsin starting in the mid 19th century and countless others since then, she can support us today.
As Bishop David Ricken of the Diocese of Green Bay recalled in his 2010 decree that approved the shrine:
Graces have been poured out through the sacraments celebrated in this place especially through the celebration of the Mass and the sacrament of Reconciliation, as well as through the recitation of public devotions and private prayers.
Our Lady has lessened or relieved the burdens of the people of God, whether about financial, familial, relationship, or employment matters or even through diminishing inclement and tempestuous weather.
I was fortunate to visit the shrine in June. With its beautiful grounds, the shrine is a wonderful place to reconnect with Jesus and Mary.
“The impression that most people leave here with is that sense of peace and stability that they get by extending that hand of devotion and faith to the Blessed Mother,” said Fr. John Broussard, CPM, the shrine’s rector. “She leads them to Our Lord Jesus, and he provides them with what they’re seeking, ultimately, that ability to trust and to know that the Lord is with them in their struggle.”
Marian scholar Fr. Edward Looney serves two parishes near the shrine. Here, Fr. Looney gives us four lessons that the Blessed Mother taught Adele at Champion.
There is something comforting and peaceful about Mary and turning to her. If you haven’t developed a relationship with the Blessed Mother, now is a perfect time to reach out to her with Our Lady of the Rosary’s feast day on Oct. 7. As Catholics we should be grateful that we have such a powerful advocate.
“[Mary’s] presence is definitely always felt [at the shrine],” Fr. Broussard said, “and the people who come here say that when they experience that, it’s like nothing they’ve ever experienced before.”
You are in my prayers,