Our Lady of Good Help
The National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help is a place for all who seek help and healing through the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Whether you are Catholic or not, whether you believe or are still searching for faith, you are welcome here. Following the example of Adele Brise, who first encountered the Queen of Heaven at this site, we journey together, seeking a deeper relationship with Christ through Mary.
Pilgrims from around the world have been experiencing the Shrine for over 150 years.
The apparition was formally approved on December 8, 2010, by Bishop David Ricken, becoming the first Marian apparition approved by the Catholic Church in the United States. Bishop Ricken also approved the Chapel as a Diocesan Shrine, recognizing its long history as a place of pilgrimage and prayer.
Apparitions of 1859
Adele Brise was born in Belgium in 1831. Together with her parents, she immigrated to Wisconsin in 1855. In early October 1859, Adele reported seeing a woman clothed in white and standing between two trees, a hemlock and a maple. Adele described the woman as surrounded by a bright light, clothed in dazzling white with a yellow sash around her waist and a crown of stars above her flowing blond locks. She was frightened by the vision and prayed until it disappeared. When she told her parents what she had seen, they suggested that a poor soul might be in need of prayers.
The following Sunday, which was October 9, 1859, she saw the apparition a second time while walking to Mass in the community of Bay Settlement. Her sister and another woman were with her at the time but neither of them saw anything. She asked the parish priest for advice, and he told her that if she saw the apparition again, she should ask it, "In the Name of God, who are you and what do you wish of me?"
Returning from Mass that same day, she saw the apparition a third time, and this time asked the question she was given. The lady replied, "I am the Queen of Heaven, who prays for the conversion of sinners, and I wish you to do the same." Adele Brise was also given a mission to "gather the children in this wild country and teach them what they should know for salvation."
At the time of the apparition Adele was 28 years old, and she devoted the rest of her life to teaching children. At first she traveled by foot from house to house, and later she began a small school. Some other women joined her in this work and they formed a community of sisters according to the rule of the Third Order Franciscans, although Adele Brise never took public vows as a nun. She died on July 5, 1896.
The original chapel was a small wooden structure built by Lambert Brise, the father of Adele Brise, at the site of the Marian apparition. Mrs. Isabella Doyen donated the 5 acres (20,000 m2) surrounding the spot, and a larger wooden church was built in 1861. This chapel bore the inscription "Notre Dame de bon Secours, priez pour nous", giving the shrine its present name. The site became a popular place of pilgrimage and the chapel was soon too small to accommodate the pilgrims who were coming. A larger brick chapel was built in 1880, and dedicated by Bishop Francis Xavier Krautbauer, the second bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Green Bay. A school and a convent were also built on the site in the 1880s.
On August 15, 2016, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops designated the shrine as a National Shrine. In recognition of this, the shrine's name was changed to The National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help.