The Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help
On October 9, 1859, Adele Brise, a 28 year old Belgian woman, claimed that the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to her. She said Mary asked her to teach religion to children. Adele’s father, who owned 240 acres of land, built a log chapel on the site. Adele started working on building a school and founding a community of women to teach in it. In 1861, a new wood frame chapel was built. Four years later, work began on a frame convent and a school near the chapel. A fire spread across Green Bay on October 8, 1871. Area residents walked around the chapel grounds all night praying the rosary and carrying a statue of Mary. The chapel was saved, but everything outside that five-acre area was burned. On July 5, 1896, Sister Adele Brise died at the chapel. She was buried on the grounds. In 1942, the “Our Lady of Good Help” chapel with a shrine to Mary in the crypt was dedicated. The chapel school was converted into a pre-Novitiate for the Sisters of St. Francis in 1953.
Bishop David Ricken announced that he officially approves the Marian apparitions at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help at Champion. The announcement was made during a special Mass for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help at Champion. Reading his decree, the Bishop 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 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.” This 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.
Visit The Shrine of our Lady of Good Help at 4047 Chapel Drive, New Franken, Wisconsin (Diocese of Green Bay). Phone: (920) 866-2571.
The Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help – Holy Hill
Holy Hill was discovered and mapped by Jesuit missionaries between 1673 and 1679. Based on their information, a French hermit name Francois Soubrio went there around 1850 and camped. In 1855, Fr. Paul Huber of Salzburg, Austria purchased 40 acres at the top of the hill from the government and three years later erected a 15 foot high oak cross made from a tree growing on the hill. In 1862, a simple log chapel named “The Shrine of Mary” was dedicated by Fr. George Strickner. Wooden Stations of the Cross were set up alongside the road that lead to it. In the winter of 1880, the chapel was replaced by a new shrine which was in use for 45 years. In 1906, the Shrine was put under the care of a group of Discalced Carmelites of Bavaria. Holy Hill was declared a Shrine with “Portuincula priviledge” by Pope Leo XIII in 1903. As a result of the increasing number of pilgrims, the Discalced Carmelites of Bavaria were invited to staff the Shrine in 1906. On November 19, 2006, the Shrine was elevated to the status of Basilica. Soon the Basilica attracted so many pilgrims that it had to be replaced. It was razed in 1926. The present chapel was started in 1926 and was consecrated in 1931. The chapel dominates Holy Hill. Above the entrance to the upper church are two 8-foot marble statues. The statue of St. Mary Help of Christians is on the left, and the statue of St. Joseph, protector of the order, is on the right. Inside the upper church, St. Teresa of Jesus and St. John of the Cross, founders of the Discalced Carmelites, are depicted in mosaics. More than 500,000 people from all over the world visit the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians, at Holy Hill each year.
Visit the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians at Holy Hill at 1525 Carmel Road, Hubertus, Wisconsin. Phone: (262) 628-1838.
Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe
In November 1998, the Most Reverend Raymond L. Burke, then Bishop of the Diocese of LaCrosse, met with a small group of people to discuss his ideas for a Marian Shrine. A beautiful site of approximately 70 acres was gifted by the Robert Swing family and in 2005, the Shrine purchased additional adjacent acres to bring the grounds to approximately 100 acres of beautiful woodlands. The following projects have been completed at the site: The Shrine Church, The Pilgrim Center, Mother of Good Counsel Votive Candle Chapel, Meditation Trail and Devotional Areas, Outdoor Stations of the Cross, Rosary Walk, Memorial to the Unborn and Friars’ Residence.
Visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe at 5250 Justin Road, LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Phone: (608) 782-5440.
OTHER SHRINES IN WISCONSIN
The National Shrine of Saint Philomena
In the late 1940s, Father Wiltzius came from the Milwaukee area and brought with him a first-class relic of the Little Virgin Martyr, originally obtained by Father Maurice Dorney in Naples, in 1937. Father Wiltzius planned a shrine to be a replica of the dungeon where the young Martyr-Saint, Philomena, had suffered and died to preserve her virginity. At the time he was seventy-six years old. Together with a boy of sixteen, they started building the shrine on August 8, 1949. They completed it on September 1, 1950. There are forty-five tons of granite in the superstructure alone, all hauled and laid by the two. Old Jake used a cane to support himself because he was badly crippled…until the fourth day of work…that’s when his “Little French Girl,” as he fondly called Saint Philomena, fixed him, he swears. His discarded the cane and didn’t use it again.
Visit The National Shrine of Saint Philomena at W8650 State Road 23, Briggsville, Wisconsin.
The Dickeyville Grotto and Shrines
The Dickeyville Grotto and Shrines were erected by Father Matthias Wernerus, Pastor of the Holy Ghost Parish from 1918 to 1931. His handiwork in stone, built from 1925-1930, is dedicated to the unity of two great American ideals – love of God and love of country. These religious and patriotic shrines were constructed without the use of blueprints. There are several shrines in the Grotto garden. Besides the main shrine (which houses the Grotto of the Blessed Virgin), there is a patriotic shrine, the sacramental shrine of the Holy Eucharist, the Sacred Heart shrine, Christ the King shrine, Fatima shrine and the Stations of the Cross.
Visit The Dickeyville Grotto and Shrines at 305 W. Main Street, Dickeyville, Wisconsin 53808. Phone: (608) 568-3119
Sacred Heart School of Theology
Sacred Heart School of Theology focuses on preparing men over 30 years of age for priesthood. Sacred Heart’s expertise ensures a rich, rewarding and effective formation experience for older men, while rigorously following the Program of Priestly Formation. The school was founded in 1932 and is an apostolate of the Priests of the Sacred Heart. Sacred Heart is situated on an expansive campus and is a showpiece of the Mid-Century architecture. The school has inspiring chapels, modern classrooms and inviting common spaces.
Visit Sacred Heart School of Theology at 7335 S. Highway 100, Hales Corners, Wisconsin. Phone: (414) 425-8300.
The Basilica of Saint Josaphat
The Basilica of Saint Josaphat was built to accommodate Milwaukee’s growing Polish Catholic congregation. Construction began in July 1897 and it was not dedicated until July 1901. This historic basilica has one of the largest copper domes in the world. The building seats 2,400 people. It was raised to a Minor Basilica by Pope Pius XI in 1929 (the third church so honored in the United States). It fulfilled the necessary characteristics required by the Church to be so designated. Namely: it is a place of pilgrimage and special devotion, it is a center of historic significance for the faith, and it is architecturally and artistically qualified to such an honor. Patterned after St. Peter’s in Rome, it has all the elements of a classical Romanesque basilica. It is recognized by the city of Milwaukee as an officially designated landmark. The Basilica is also a Franciscan center for prayer and spirituality. The friars invite you to join them as they unfold this special story of faith. Learn about their Parish, their roots in Roman Catholicism and Polish culture, the beauty of the Basilica and the history of this great structure.
Visit The Basilica of Saint Josaphat at 601 West Lincoln Avenue, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Phone: (414) 645-5623.
St. Anne Chapel
The tiny St. Anne’s Chapel was built a half century ago on top of the high, wooded hill west of St. Luke’s Catholic Church in Plain, Wisconsin. This little house of prayer was constructed on the highest hill in the area and dedicated to the glory of God and named St. Anne, mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The hill itself has historical significance. The Winnebago, Fox, Sauk and Sioux Indian tribes chose it many years ago as a meeting place. They called it Council Bluff and sent smoke signals from its summit. Nearby Camel Hill was used as an Indian burying ground.
Visit St. Anne Chapel at 1240 Nachreiner Avenue, Plain, Wisconsin. Phone: (608) 546-2482.
The St. Philip the Apostle Parish
While studying in Europe for the priesthood, Philip Wagner became very ill. In 1912, he visited the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes. Here he promised to build a shrine in Mary’s honor. His condition improved and his strength returned. In 1917, Father Philip Wagner was appointed Pastor of the Parish in Rudolph. Two years later, in 1919, plans were made for a new church and the shrines. The grotto garden consists of about ten shrines plus a museum, chapels, Stations of the Cross, a cave with eight shrines, statues and more. There is a small charge for the cave. The Grotto is open to visitors from May until October, but especially visit and enjoy during the annual St. Philip Church picnic on the first Sunday of August.
Visit The Rudolph Grotto Shrine and Shrine Garden at 6975 Grotto Avenue, Rudolph, Wisconsin. Phone: (715) 435-3286.
Marian Center for Peace
The Center is a Roman Catholic association of the faithful, which seeks to follow Christ by imitating his mother, Mary. Its purpose is threefold: to encourage and promote Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration; to spread the message of Our Lady of Guadalupe through stewardship of her relic image; and to promote devotion to the Divine Mercy. Located in the former convent of Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church, the Marian Center houses the Mother of America Perpetual Adoration Chapel where, since October 2004, Our Eucharistic Lord has been continually adored by members of the Wisconsin Rapids community. In the chapel hangs the relic image of Our Lady of Guadalupe as well as a digital copy of the Vilnius Divine Mercy painting. The facility also houses life-sized, back-lighted copies of the Shroud of Turin, a small lending library and a resource center/gift shop.
Visit the Marian Center for Peace at 241 Apricot Street, Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. Phone: (715) 424-6279/