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The manifestation of Our Lady then lifted her hands, as though beseeching a blessing for those at her feet, and slowly vanished, leaving Adele overwhelmed and prostrate on the ground. Once the story of the apparitions got out, Adele’s father built a small chapel on the site and Adele went about fulfilling the mandate she received, a mission to which she devoted herself until her death in 1896. Throughout the 1840s and ’50s, Wisconsin’s population expanded rapidly. The Church, however, was unable to keep up with the growing need for pastors. When the Brise family settled in Green Bay in 1855, the nearest church was located in Bay Settlement, eleven miles away, and there was only one pastor to serve the entire northeastern part of the state.

As a result, people, especially children, were not able to receive proper religious instruction. There was, therefore, a very great need for the mission that Adele had been given by the Mother of God. With her characteristic confidence in the help of the Blessed Virgin, Adele went about catechizing the children and admonishing sinners. Teaching from house to house, and up and down the Green Bay Peninsula, she would travel as much as 50 miles on foot. Weather conditions, lack of education, fatigue, dangers of the forest and ridicule did not deter Adele’s determination to fulfill her duty to Our Lady’s request. Eventually, she was joined by several young women to form a community of Third Order (secular) Franciscans, and St. Mary’s Boarding Academy was founded next to the chapel dedicated to Notre Dame de bon Secours (Our Lady of Good Help) on the apparition. While Sister Adele and her small religious community suffered trials, persecutions and set-backs, they were also the means through which miraculous events and healings were manifest. One of the most spectacular of these events occurred in 1871, when the Shrine’s grounds and buildings were virtually untouched by the merciless fury and devastation of the Great Peshtigo Fire.

Since 1861, thousands of pilgrims have come to visit the Shrine of Our Lady Of Good Help to honor the Mother of God and implore her assistance. And after the great fire of 1871, large crowds gather annually with the local Bishop on August 15th, the feast of the Assumption, to celebrate this day in honor of Mary, the Queen of Heaven, with a Rosary procession and outdoor Mass. The Apparitions was approved in 2010.

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