By Father Christopher Kubat
In October 1859, The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to a young Belgian immigrant woman named Adele Brise, on the east side of Green Bay, Wisc. (just 20 minutes northeast of the present-day city). I had heard of the Our Lady of Good Help shrine and know of a handful of people who have visited the site.
Our Blessed Mother appeared to Adele clothed in dazzling white with a golden sash. She said, “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… Gather the children in this wild country and 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; that is what I wish you to do. Go and fear nothing, I will help you.”
After hearing this, a chapel was built on the site of the apparition and Adele started a community of Third Order Franciscan Women dedicated to teaching children the faith.
Two years after the apparition, a large fire engulfed both sides of the bay and surrounded the 5-acre sanctuary. It was spared after those at the site processed, with a statue of the Virgin Mary, around the perimeter of the site. Despite that thousands of acres and countless lives were lost in the blaze, all at the site were miraculously spared. In the museum, I saw the newspaper articles concerning the tragedy.
On Tuesday, Nov. 6, I had the privilege of visiting the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help. It is a beautiful place where one can feel the peace that our Lady bestows on her children which originates from God our Father through her Divine Son.
Later that evening, Dr. Gianna Emanuela gave a wonderful testimony of her mother, St. Gianna, and her late father. She was speaking at the annual fundraising gala for the St. Gianna Clinic in Green Bay. Right before her talk I met a 14-year-old girl who, along with her brother, were cured at the Our Lady of Good Help Shrine of a severe food allergy. As I found out, they are not the only ones who have experienced cures at the shrine.
In the Decree on the Authenticity of the Apparitions of 1859 at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help Diocese of Green Bay, Bishop David Rickens wrote that the apparitions and locutions are “worthy of belief.”
I am happy to report that one of the ladies at our own St. Gianna’s Home is in the middle of an RCIA class and wants to be baptized along with her son. This is what Our Lady of Good Help asked us to do; instruct her children in the faith. I am very grateful to all of our donors at St. Gianna because without their help, none of this would be possible. Our Lady of Good Help, pray for us, St. Gianna, pray for us!