By Father Rich Tomkosky
The message of our Lady of Champion/of Good Help is the one approved apparition of the Blessed Mother in the history of the United States.
I just came across this apparition in the last few months. It has been kind of a hidden apparition until recent years when the Bishop of Green Bay, Wisconsin, formally investigated it, and published a decree on December 8, 2010, saying that it is authentic and worthy of veneration and devotion and something supernatural did occur at Champion with the 28-year-old young woman Adele Brise on October 9, 1859.
It’s a message of our Lady worth reflecting for us in the United States and to make a pilgrimage to someday to the Marian Shrine in Champion where many physical and spiritual miracles have occurred over the years.
Our Lady’s example in what she is doing to help us sinners
In October 1859, Adele Brise, a Belgium immigrant whose family had settled in Wisconsin a few years earlier, was on her way to a grist mill four miles from Champion and along the way saw a remarkable sight. A lady all in white was standing between two trees, one a maple and the other a hemlock.
Adele gazed at the vision frightened and just stood still until the vision disappeared leaving a white cloud after it. She went on to the grist mill and came back and told her parents, and they all wondered if it was a soul from Purgatory who needed prayers.
Then a few days later, Adele was on her way to Sunday Mass which was 11 miles one way (a good reminder for us in 2023 — when your faith is vibrant, you will make any sacrifice to get to Mass however big) traveling again past the two trees mentioned before. This time she was not alone, but her sister Isabel and a neighbor woman were traveling with her to Mass. When they got in front of those two trees, Adele again saw the Lady in white. She froze in fear and just said, there is that lady again. Her two travel mates didn’t see the Lady. Again, they all thought it was a poor soul who needed prayers. They waited a few minutes and the vision disappeared.
After Mass, Adele went to Confession and told her Pastor about the vision of the Lady in white, and he told her if it happens again to ask in God’s name who it was and what it desired of her. On the way back to her home after Mass, Adele saw for the third time in a week, and the second time that day, the Lady again who was beautiful in white but also now with a yellow sash around her waist and with a crown of stars around her head, and with long golden wavy hair which fell at her shoulders. Adele could barely look at her as she was so splendidly beautiful with a sweet face. Adele fell on her knees and said in God’s name who are you and what do you want? The beautiful lady responded: I am the Queen of Heaven, who prays for the conversion of sinners, and I wish you to do the same.
The call from our Lady to all of us to grow in holiness
Mary, the Queen of Heaven, goes on to tell Adele, 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.
This is something we can all do, as I have spoke about many times before of the beautiful grace to make of General Confession of our whole life up to this point. Schedule an appointment to do so sometime soon, as it takes more time than a regular Confession to get a fresh start with God in light of this mission to help our Lady in Jesus to save souls.
Also, remember to always offer your Holy Communion for the conversion of hardened sinners if you are able to receive right now (meaning you do not have mortal sin on your soul and are in a marriage recognized by the Catholic Church). Pray daily, especially the Rosary, for the conversion of hardened sinners to change before it is too late as our Lady also warns us in her famous apparition at Fatima; and especially warn the people who are closest to us if they are not practicing the Catholic faith at present when they should be.
The personal mission God gives us through our Lady’s intercession
One of Adele’s companions asked Adele, who is it and why can’t we see her as you do? Adele said, Kneel. The Lady says she is the Queen of Heaven. And then the Blessed Mother looked at them and said, blessed are they that believe without seeing. She then looked at Adele and said, what are you doing here in idleness… while your companions are working in the vineyard of My Son? Adele said with tears in her eyes, what more can I do? Our Lady said, gather the children of this wild country (a good description of the United States to the present) 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 properly approach the Sacraments, that is what I wish you to do. Go and fear nothing, I will help you.”
Adele began to immediately carry out that mission. Will we do the same? God bless you.
Father Rich Tomkosky is the Pastor of Saint Thomas the Apostle Parish in Bedford and the Pastor of Seven Dolors of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Beans Cove.