While some are familiar with the only approved Marian apparition in the United States, few know much about the woman who reportedly saw the Virgin Mary.
The apparition occurred on October 8, 1859, in the forests of Wisconsin, north of Green Bay, near present-day Champion, Wisconsin.
Adele Brise was the woman who saw the Virgin Mary on that day while walking on a trail in the woods.
The Champion Shrine offers a short biography, explaining where she came from and the circumstances of the private revelation.
Adele Brise (Brice) was born in Belgium to Lambert and Catherine Brise on January 30, 1831. Although she suffered an accident at a young age that left her blind in her right eye, those who knew her best describe her cheerfulness, fervent piety, and simple religious ways. Upon receiving her first Holy Communion, Adele and a few close friends promised the Blessed Virgin Mary that they would devote their lives to becoming religious teaching sisters in Belgium.
However, her family made the trip to America and joined a Belgian settlement in Eastern Wisconsin. Her promise to Mary would not be fulfilled in Belgium, but in America.
Adele’s mission from the Virgin Mary
When the Virgin Mary appeared to Adele, she told her to teach children where she was located.
Gather the children in this wild country and teach them what they should know for salvation.
Adele recalled her promise and traveled all throughout Eastern Wisconsin, teaching children. She eventually gathered like-minded women around her and lived in a lay community as members of a third-order.
She died on July 5, 1896, and is buried near the Champion Shrine in Wisconsin. Currently there does not exist a cause for her canonization, though that does not rule out the possibility in the future.