Our Lady of Champion: “Go and fear nothing, I will help you.”

h/t to Father Nix, additional links at the end.

Our Lady of Champion is an approved Marian apparition, the Blessed Virgin Mary having appeared in October 1859 to a 28 year old Belgian immigrant at Champion, Wisconsin, near Green Bay. The story is as follows.

Adele Brise (Brice) was born in Belgium to Lambert and Catherine Brise on January 30, 1831.  She and some companions made a vow to the Blessed Virgin at an early age to become religious sisters.  However, her parents soon moved the family to a new Catholic community in Wisconsin, founded by Belgian settlers.  One day as she was walking through the forest,  Adele saw a lady dressed in white, standing between two trees believed to be a maple and hemlock. (If you have never “walked through the forest” in this part of the world, especially Door County, you need to put it on your bucket list. Some of the trees are over a thousand years old. The smell alone is captivating. Go September if you can. -nvp)

The account continues:

A few days later, on what is believed to be Sunday, October 9, 1859, 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 being the only one to see her, she and her companions continued their journey to Mass.

After Mass, Adele spoke to her parish priest, and he instructed her that if the lady appeared to her again to ask the question, “In God’s name, who are you and what do you want of me?”

On her journey home, Adele saw the lady for the third time. As she and her companions 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 over her shoulders. The lady had such a heavenly light around her that Adele could hardly look at her face. Overcome by the light, Adele fell to her knees and said, “In God’s name, who are you, and what do you want of me?”

The lady replied, “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’s companions, unable to see Our Lady asked, “Adele, who is it? Why can’t we see her as you do?”

“Kneel,” said Adele, “the Lady says she is the Queen of Heaven.”

The Blessed Lady gazed kindly upon them, saying, “Blessed are they that believe without seeing.” Then, looking toward Adele, the Queen of Heaven asked, “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?” asked 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?” Adele said.

“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.”

Adele then gave herself tirelessly to catechesis and eventually became a nun.

Full post, including America’s failed mission: https://padreperegrino.org/2023/10/wildamerica/

Site of the shrine in Wisconsin, with further details including the massive fire of 1871 and the miraculous protection of the shrine, sisters, liveststock: https://championshrine.org/our-story/


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