US bishops to consider sainthood of Wisconsin Marian visionary

US bishops to consider sainthood of Wisconsin Marian visionary

When U.S. bishops meet this month for their plenary assembly, they will vote on the cause of canonization of Servant of God Adele Brise, an illiterate nun who received apparitions from Mary in Wisconsin nearly 200 years ago .

Adèle Brise. Credit: The National Shrine of Notre-Dame de Champion.

Brise’s life will be discussed at the June plenary meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, as part of the process necessary to advance his cause for sainthood.

Brise was born on January 30, 1831 in Belgium. Although she wanted to join a community of Ursuline sisters in her home country, her family immigrated to America and she joined them in a colony in Wisconsin.

In October 1859, Brise had a series of three visions of a beautiful lady dressed in white. She then described the woman as wearing a crown of stars and emitting celestial light.

When Breeze asked the woman who she was and what she wanted, the woman replied, “I am the Queen of Heaven who prays for the conversion of sinners, and I wish that you would do the same.” »

The woman then asked Brise to teach local children the Catholic faith, particularly “their catechism, how to sign themselves with the sign of the cross, and how to approach the sacraments.”

Even though Breeze herself was not well educated, she obeyed the instructions given to her. At that time in Wisconsin, there were few opportunities for religious instruction for children in the local Catholic community.

For seven years, Brise traveled from house to house throughout the Green Bay Peninsula, providing religious lessons to the children of local families.

After that, she raised funds to establish a school near the site of the visions. A chapel was also built there. Joined by several other women who felt called to participate in her mission, she also founded the Sisters of Bon Secours – Franciscans of the third order – and built a convent so that they could live there.

Throughout her life, Brise faced challenges such as poverty, illiteracy, and even losing the sight in one eye as a child. But despite these obstacles, she was known for her joy, her piety and her trust in God’s providence.

She had the words “Our Lady of Good Help, pray for us” inscribed above the entrance to the chapel built on the site of the Marian apparitions.

Even during its lifetime, Brise was associated with miracles, most notably during the Great Peshtigo Fire of 1871.

The fire, which ultimately burned more than a million acres, ravaged the countryside toward the community of Brise.

As the fire quickly approached, Brise led school children and other local residents in a procession with a statue of Mary, praying for deliverance.

Eyewitnesses report that as the fire approached the grounds of the convent, school and chapel, the sky opened in a downpour which extinguished the fire. It was October 9, the anniversary of Marie de Brise’s first vision. While the fire had destroyed the surrounding land, it stopped at the fence of the chapel grounds.

Brise died on July 5, 1896, after more than 30 years teaching the Catholic faith to children in the Green Bay area.

Today, the National Shrine of Our Lady of Champion – formerly known as the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Good Secours – sits on the site of the 1859 apparitions, declared “worthy of belief” by Bishop David Ricken of Green Bay in 2010, making them the first approved Marian apparitions in the United States.

The sanctuary welcomes thousands of pilgrims each year and is the site of many reported miracles.

The national shrine of Notre-Dame de Champion. Credit: The National Shrine of Notre-Dame de Champion.

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