A shrine in the Town of Green Bay is one of only a handful in the world — and the sole location in the United States — officially designated as a place where the Virgin Mary appeared.
David Ricken, the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay, announced today his official approval of the Marian apparitions at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion during a special Mass for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
Ricken’s decision makes the shrine the first and only Marian shrine site in the United States of an approved apparition of the Virgin Mary. The designation puts it in the same category as other famous Marian apparition sites such as Lourdes, France; Guadalupe, Mexico; and Fatima, Portugal.
According to the diocese, the Virgin Mary appeared in the area to Belgian immigrant Adele Brise three times in 1859.
Brise’s account states the apparition appeared in dazzling white claiming to be the “Queen of Heaven who prays for the conversion of sinners” and asking Brise to also pray for sinners and teach children about salvation. Brise’s family built a chapel at the site of the apparitions.
In the past 151 years, thousands have made pilgrimages to the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help, the diocese said. The shrine’s history includes a number of accounts of prayers that have been answered, including documented physical healings and conversions that have taken place as a result of pilgrimages there, the diocese said.
A fire in Peshtigo in 1871 engulfed the surrounding area, but the entire five acres of land consecrated to the Blessed Virgin were not affected, the diocese said. It is believed that the land was spared thanks to a prayer vigil that circled the area, which was organized by Brise.
“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,” Ricken said in a written statement.
Green Bay bishops have long supported the shrine as a place of prayer and pilgrimage but had made no formal decree regarding the apparitions from Brise’s account.
Ricken appointed experts to investigate and study the apparition in January 2009, and from documents, letters and written testimonies the experts determined the accounts of the apparition consistent with the Catholic faith without error.According to the diocese, few documents remain from the era of the apparition because Green Bay was frontier country at the time. But one of the experts said the lack of information does not invalidate the event’s overall coherent impression and similarities to other recognized apparitions
- Decree approving the Authenticity of the Apparitions of 1859 at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion
- Decree approving the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion as a Diocesan Shrine in the Diocese of Green Bay
- Basic information on apparitions at Champion
- Brief history of the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion
We do seem to have a problem with this "apparition." The first report says it is in the town of "New Franken." Then there is a report saying it is in the "Town of Green Bay." And also there is a report saying that it occurred in the "Town of Champion." I think the "Devils Advocate" better get busy on this one.
Web site for the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion
Father Z's Blog
Diocese of Green Bay Investigates Apparitions at New Franken Shrine -- WDAY-TV