December 8th is recognized as celebration of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Read more about this day here.
At a special mass held at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help, in Champion, Wisconsin, to celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Bishop David L. Ricken of Green Bay read the official decree that approved the Marian apparitions by Adele Brise in October of 1859.
This decree officially recognizes the first and only site in the United States of an approved apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
According to the two year investigation that was sanctioned by Bishop Ricken, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared three times to 28 year old Adele Brise in October, 1859. During each of those three apparitions, the BVM was dressed in shining white clothes and appeared elevated.
Before coming to America, Adele Brise had already intended to become a nun. After the apparitions, Brise went on to become a Third Order Franciscan Nun. She traveled throughout the frontier state of Wisconsin and gave religious instruction to both children and adults, in fulfillment of the request made of her by the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The decree stated (in part) and the Bishop read, “I am the Queen of Heaven who prays for the conversion of sinners, and I wish you to do the same. 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... Gather the children in this wild Diocese of Green Bay 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.”
Read the Official Decree in its entirety here.
An important aspect to consider in framing this event in perspective is to consider the timeline of the apparitions. They occurred only 11 years after Wisconsin had been officially declared a state in 1848. The United States was largely undeveloped and the culture and the daily lives of people were much different than today. Priests were very scarce and the simple task of going to church many times was a strenuous journey.