First U.S. Visit of the Virgin Mary Confirmed in Wisconsin
A small-town shrine is on the verge of becoming a mass attraction.
By LEWIS WALLACE in Religion Dispatches
About twenty miles outside of Green Bay and over a mile from even the smallest town, a tiny sign at a remote intersection points visitors toward Chapel Drive, site of the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help, where a young Belgian woman experienced apparitions of the Virgin Mary more than 150 years ago.
Behind the chapel and small gift shop, visitors can tramp through the snow to a grotto and Stations of the Cross, passing on their way the burial place of Adele Brise, the French-speaking Belgian immigrant who saw and spoke with the Virgin Mary in 1859.
In the linoleum-floored crypt, flyers and pamphlets explain the history of the shrine. A three-ring binder explains the site’s fundraising needs to visitors on scuffed-up laminated pages. If it weren’t for a port-a-john next to the parking lot, the whole scene in this snow-covered countryside could be taking place in the 1950s, or even the 1880s, when the current chapel was first built.
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All this peace and quiet is about to disappear. On December 8, 2010, Bishop David L. Ricken of the Diocese of Green Bay concluded a two-year investigation into the validity of the apparitions at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help, making the Wisconsin site the 13th Marian apparition site in the world to be formally recognized since the Vatican established a new approval process in 1978.