This was exciting news, appropriately announced on yesterday’s Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
Marian Apparition in US Declared Worthy of Belief
Our Lady Appeared in 1859 to Belgian Immigrant in Wisconsin
GREEN BAY, Wisconsin, DEC. 8, 2010 (Zenit.org).- On today’s feast of the Immaculate Conception, patroness of the United States, apparitions of Our Lady in Wisconsin have been given official diocesan approval.
Reading from his decree at a special Mass today at the Champion, Wisconsin, shrine, Bishop David Ricken of Green Bay stated, “I declare with moral certainty and in accord with the norms of the Church that the events, apparitions and locutions given to Adele Brise in October of 1859 do exhibit the substance of supernatural character, and I do hereby approve these apparitions as worthy of belief — although not obligatory — by the Christian faithful.”
Today’s declaration makes Our Lady of Good Help at Champion the first and only site in the United States of an approved apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The apparitions — there were three — occurred in 1859. Our Lady spoke with Adele Brise (1831-1896), a young immigrant from Belgium.
It was early October when Brise saw Our Lady the first time: a lady clothed in dazzling white, with a yellow sash around her waist and a crown of stars around her head.
The vision slowly disappeared after several moments, without speaking to Brise.
The following Sunday, Oct. 9, Brise was on her way to Mass when the Lady returned. After Mass, Brise had the chance to ask her confessor about the apparitions, and he told her that if it were a heavenly messenger, she would see it again. He encouraged her to ask in God’s name who it was and what it desired of her.
On the return trip home, Our Lady again appeared and Brise did as her confessor had recommended.
“I am the Queen of Heaven who prays for the conversion of sinners, and I wish you to do the same,” the Lady responded to Brise’s question. “You received Holy Communion this morning and that is well. But you must do more. Make a general confession and offer Communion for the conversion of sinners. If they do not convert and do penance, my Son will be obliged to punish them.”
One of the women with Brise asked her with whom she was speaking and why they couldn’t see anyone.
“Kneel,” said Brise, “the Lady says she is the Queen of Heaven.” At this, the Lady looked kindly at Brise’s companions and said, “Blessed are they that believe without seeing.”
The Lady continued, “What are you doing here in idleness while your companions are working in the vineyard of my Son?”
“What more can I do, dear Lady?” Brise asked. “Gather the children in this wild country and teach them what they should know for salvation.”
“But how shall I teach them who know so little myself?” Brise replied.
“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,” the Lady said. “Go and fear nothing. I will help you.”
Brise’s father built a small chapel on the site and Brise went about fulfilling Our Lady’s mandate, a mission she continued until her death in 1896.
Bishop Ricken’s approval comes after an almost two-year investigation of the events and their consequences, which he initiated in January 2009.
The Diocese of Green Bay has published information on its Web site regarding apparitions in the Church.
The statements clarify that it is a diocesan bishop and not the Holy See nor the episcopal conference that is responsible for judging the authenticity of apparitions that are said to have occurred in his diocese.
The statements further noted that not all alleged apparitions are given Church approval, and in the United States, for example, supposed apparitions at Necedah, Wisconsin, and Bayside, New York, were examined and declared to be false.
“No one can prove the supernatural,” the statement recalled. “The Church judges apparitions on the basis of their consistency with sacred Scripture, sacred Tradition and the teachings of the Church, the subsequent spiritual benefits in the lives of people, and whether there is anything in the life of the seer that detracts from the credibility of the account.”