The National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help is located in the quiet, peaceful, humble farming community of Champion, WI where the Blessed Mother appeared in 1859 to Adele Brise, a young Belgian immigrant. According to Adele Brise, Mary stated, “I am the Queen of Heaven…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.”
Adele dutifully followed Our Lady’s instructions to teach children their catechism, traveling by foot throughout a 50-mile radius of the area that now serves as the Shrine’s main grounds, in the wild and then heavily forested country of Northeast Wisconsin. Eventually, Adele’s father built a chapel on the site and Adele started a school and a community of women to teach in it. The actual apparition site is on the grounds where the fourth and current chapel is located with a Shrine to Mary in the Chapel’s lower level. The Chapel was dedicated on July 12, 1942. Adele Brise is buried near the Apparition oratory site.
When the Peshtigo Fire spread across the bay of Green Bay on Oct. 8, 1871, and began ravaging the countryside, area residents flocked to the chapel grounds praying the rosary all night, carrying a statue of Mary. Miraculously, everything outside that five-acre area was burned except the grounds where pilgrims – most of whom were connected to Adele Brise through her teaching – were praying the rosary.
Every year, on Oct. 8th, people reenact the procession, holding an all night Rosary procession and vigil at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help. In 2016, Oct. 1st-9th became the week during which the inaugural National Novena to Our Lady of Good Help was introduced worldwide. Our Lady of Good Help was designated a National Shrine by the U.S Conference of Bishops during a Mass Aug. 15, 2016, the Feast of the Assumption of Mary into heaven, the Shrine’s largest annual outdoor mass and processional event.
The Diocese of Green Bay provides oversight of The National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help. An on site staff of over a dozen manage, operate and, with help from more than 200 volunteers, care for the apparition site, Chapel and grounds.
Each year, thousands of pilgrims come to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help for peaceful prayer, retreat, healing, reflection, spiritual edification and to give thanks for blessings received through intercessory prayer with Our Blessed Mother to her son, Jesus. Two priests from the Fathers of Mercy live on site and provide spiritual guidance. Fr. John Broussard serves as the Shrine’s Rector and Fr. Jewel Aytona, as its Chaplain. Sister Mardelle Meinholz of the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity, Manitowoc, WI serves as an on-site Catechesis Coordinator.
On Dec. 8, 2010, at a special Mass at the Shrine for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Bishop David L. Ricken of Green Bay announced that he officially approved the Marian apparitions at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help™.
All pilgrims – individuals and those in groups, large or small – are encouraged to visit and experience the peaceful, serene beauty of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help. Pilgrims are also encouraged to learn more about the history of the apparition of Our Lady of Good Help and the The National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help itself at the Shrine’s new Welcome Center onsite or online at championshrine.org. To set up a pilgrimage or event contact: Corrie Campbell, National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help, Communications and Pilgrimage Planning Coordinator at 920-866-2571 ext. 113.