Three Saves In One

Editorial

 

The Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help

 

The Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help is the only Marian Apparition site in the U.S. approved by the Church and this was not until December 8, 2010.  It is only a few miles from Green Bay, Wisconsin in Champion, a very small town in the middle of many acres of unimpressive farmland.  Having been to Fatima in Portugal, Lourdes in France and the very impressive Shrine to the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico, the site of Our Lady of Good Help was not what I expected. There is no congested area with numerous shops, restaurants, hotels and thousands of tourists. There is absolutely no commercial enterprise at all unless you call someone selling vegetables at a roadside stand an enterprise, but it had a charm none of the others had. The friendliness of the people living in this area projects warmth to visitors. A local handing out free rosaries, the holiest of priests conducting a beautiful Mass, the angel of a salesgirl helping you at the gift shop and the helpful workers at the site make it a memorable visit.

 

In October of 1859 it was a forested area, and it was at that time the Blessed Mother appeared to a young immigrant girl from Belgium named Adele Brise. She was walking through a wooded area when she saw a beautiful woman standing between a maple and a hemlock tree. She walked past the lady again on her way to Mass. After Mass she told her priest about the apparition, and he told her to ask the lady, “In God’s name, who are you and what do you want of me?” When Adele walked past the spot again, the lady was there, and Adele asked the question given her by the priest. The lady replied, “I am the Queen of Heaven who prays for the conversion of sinners.” To Adele she gave the mission of teaching Catechism to the children of the area.  She instructed Adele to “Gather the children in this wild country and teach them what they should know about salvation...” At that time, the country had few priests, and the children were not well educated in their faith. Adele began her mission and eventually was joined by several other women. 

 

Soon after the apparition, Adele’s father built a small chapel between the trees, and later two more churches were built on the spot before the present small but impressive brick Tudor Gothic Church constructed in 1942. The present-day church was actually built above the site of the apparitions. The apparition site itself is located in a beautiful crypt below the church which contains relics of the many miraculous healings since the first apparition.

 

The site of the apparitions became the site of many miracles, one being that the chapel and other buildings were virtually untouched during the Great Peshugo Fire that took 1500 lives and destroyed 2,400 square miles of forest. The fire burned right up to the fence line of the chapel

 

The message the Queen of Heaven gave to Adele 150 years ago is as needed today as it was then. Educating our children in their Catholic religion is of the utmost importance in this day and culture. They are tested every day and if they are not grounded in their faith they will be ill-equipped to combat the temptations and perils of an increasingly materialistic and godless society. We need to teach our children about salvation.  Maybe that is the reason this apparition took so many years to be approved.

 

If you visit the shrine in Champion I urge you to cross the state and also visit Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe located on 100 beautiful acres of land on a hillside next to the Mississippi River in the outskirts of La Crosse.  It is well worth your trip.

Jim Fritz

Three Saves in One

 

It was a regular downpour when Angela and I began sidewalk counseling at the Hagerstown, Maryland abortuary. The abortuary wasn’t open as yet so Angela and I were standing under the awning on the stoop at the adjacent building to keep dry. About this time a mother and her daughter drove up and parked their car down the street. It was from West Virginia so it was an easy decision that the girl was there for an abortion.

            When we saw the mother and daughter get out of the car we both went down to intercept them. Angela started talking first while showing them our flyers. The mother seemed interested and was listening. I suggested we go into the building where we had been standing to get out of the rain.

            While talking to them we found out the girl was 19 years old, her name is Margaret and neither she nor her boyfriend have jobs. The boyfriend didn't care if she got an abortion. Margaret is living with her grandmother who did not want her to get an abortion.

            It turned out she wanted an abortion so she would not lose her figure. Her mother said she would not lose her figure as she did not when pregnant with her.

            The mother did not want her to get an abortion although she got the money for her and drove her down there. We found out the mother had an abortion at the same place many years ago, has become Christian since then and has regretted the abortion. She told me the name of the church she attends, but I was not familiar with it. She said she wished someone was outside of the abortion clinic when she was there so long ago.

            Angela continued through the flyers when all of a sudden the mother took one of the papers and showed the picture of an aborted baby to her daughter. The mother was visibly very shaken and couldn't even hold the paper still. I am sure she was thinking of her own abortion. She asked her daughter if she wanted her baby to look like that. The mother then continued through the flyers like she was one of us -.listing out the problems of abortion - now and in the future.

            I had my coffee cup with my three year old granddaughter’s picture on it and I told both of them how the girl’s mother had almost aborted her three times before she finally ended up giving her birth and then giving her to my daughter for adoption. Margaret smiled when she saw the picture of my beautiful granddaughter. I told her my daughter wants to adopt another and would be happy to have her child.

            The mother did most of the talking. The daughter didn’t want to hear anything. The girl wanted to go out to the car and her mother kept insisting she stay and listen. When I went outside to get a fetal model I had in the car, Angela told the mother about cooperating in the sin of abortion and expecting to be forgiven was the sin of presumption and worse than the sin itself.

            The mother also told Angela that she had been praying the night before for a something to happen so that her daughter would not go through with the abortion.

            Angela says, "There you go. This has been an answer to your prayers."

            Angela later offered to take her down to St. Mary's to pray. Angela told her how beautiful and inspiring the church is, but the mother knew her girl would not go.

When I returned I asked Margaret how many weeks along she was and she said, “I think I am nine weeks.” I then showed her the fetal model and told her that her baby was just about that size with eyes, nose, ears, toes and fingers plus a beating heart. (Her mother later said this was the clincher for the girl.) I gave her the model and she took it and then later gave it to her mom.

            We told them about all of the help available including a pregnancy center in her home town. I gave both of them a card with my phone number on it.

            The girl left first and Angela gave her a reassuring hug and a CD of a recent very inspiring pro-life talk.

            With her daughter gone, I gave the mother some information on healing for herself, another good flyer on the facts of abortion and I also gave her a hug with the promise we would help her if she needed it.

            We watched as the mother entered her car and handed her daughter the fetal model and told her, “Here, hold your 'baby'.”

            After a ‘save’ or a ‘near save’ we usually do a “Lessons Learned” and ask ourselves, “What did we do right and what did we do wrong?”  When I am by myself I usually say, “I should have said… I should have said….” This time we felt the flyers and the fetal model were the right material and we used them properly.  I jokingly told Angela that she should have told the mother that God answered her prayers by sending two angels to talk to her this morning, or at least one angel and an Angela :-)

            A good triple save! A baby was saved from being killed; a girl was saved from making a mistake she would regret the rest of her life; and, a woman is on her way to being healed from a mistake she made many years ago and still suffered from.

Jim Fritz

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