The Story of Our Lady of Good Help
by Marge Steinhage Fenelon
Our Lady’s appearances to young Bernadette Soubirous in Lourdes, France, in 1858 are well known and well documented. Just one year later, a lesser-known but still important Marian apparition took place in an American frontier settlement.
Based on historical documents, testimonies, personal interviews, and expert analysis, America’s Mary: The Story of Our Lady of Good Help chronicles for the first time the United States’ only Church-approved Marian apparition.
In 1859 on the Door County Peninsula of northeast Wisconsin, Mary appeared three times to a young Belgian woman named Adele Brise. She identified herself as the Queen of Heaven and gave Adele instructions to teach the children their catechism, pray, do penance, sacrifice, and receive the sacraments frequently. Adele was initially met with skepticism, and during her lifetime she experienced many trials, including persecution. Still, she maintained that she was telling the truth and courageously carried on the mission the Blessed Mother had given to her.
Although the local community accepted Adele’s story as real, and popular piety built up around Mary’s appearances and messages, it was more than 100 years before the Church conducted a thorough investigation. In 2010, the apparition was approved.
Since then, thousands of pilgrims each year have visited the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion, WI, seeking the Queen of Heaven’s intercession for peace, healing, and help.
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