Catholic Prophecy: the Coming Chastisement, by Yves DuPont, the classic compilation of prophecies from mystics who have long forecast a coming chastisement and the potential arrival of a comet -- enthralling predictions from ancient times through nuns, mystics, and stigmatists in the twentieth century, for your discernment! CLICK HERE




By Michael H. Brown

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There isn't a theologian in the world who knows of all Mary's miracles, manifestations, and apparitions, or even a hefty percentage of them. It's astonishing how there's always something somewhere with which you're not familiar, no matter how much you've read or heard about the Blessed Mother.

I once wrote a book on all the major appearances of Mary since the first century A.D. and was amazed by the sheer volume of historical cases -- dozens upon dozens that were looked upon favorably by pastors and bishops and are now all but forgotten.

It's not true that there have only been a dozen or so apparitions approved by ecclesiastic authorities. It's way higher. And then there are those that fell between the cracks -- never formally ruled upon.

Remarkably, in the U.S. -- which always has had a strong Protestant presence -- no apparition has received full approbation (by way of a pastoral letter, approved by the Vatican), but two have come close: Our Lady of America, the reputed apparitions to a nun in Ohio, and our focus for today: Our Lady of Good Help in Wisconsin.

It is explained in an obscure booklet with the imprimatur of Bishop Stanislaus V. Bona of Green Bay that back on October 8 of 1859, the Blessed Mother showed herself to a devout 28-year-old Belgian farm woman named Adele Brice in the area of Robinsonville, Wisconsin, as she was headed for a grist mill with a sack of wheat on her head. Once more: a peasant circumstance (as at so many other strong apparitions).

Mary stood in white between two trees, then slowly vanished, leaving a white cloud after her.

When Adele told her parents, they wondered if it was a poor soul who needed prayers. On the following Sunday the young woman had to pass there again  on her way to Mass at Bay Settlement, which was the nearest place, when she saw the Virgin again.

"As they approached the hallowed spot, Adele could see the beautiful lady, clothed in dazzling white, with a yellow sash around her waist," it is explained. "Her dress fell to her feet in graceful folds. She had a crown of stars around her head, and her long golden wavy hair fell loosely over her shoulders. Such a heavenly light shone around her that Adele could hardly look at her sweet face. Overcome by this heavenly light and the beauty of her amiable visitor, Adele fell on her knees."

When she asked what the apparition wanted, Mary responded:

"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. If they do not convert and do penance, my Son will be obliged to punish them."

The Blessed Mother desired evangelization. She wanted Adele to show others the Catechism. A little log oratory was built on the spot. Today, they struggle (and could use help) in making it a more significant shrine. A second chapel had been built there along with a convent nearby and a school.

Adele was a tertiary Franciscan religious who wore a habit and lived as a nun (there was no formal order there to join).

But let's get back to the warning: Its words should be studied by modernists who deny chastisement.

For, in fact, on October 8, 1871 -- exactly 12 years to the date since her first appearance -- a tremendous catastrophe struck by way of a raging fire that destroyed massive swaths of  northeastern Wisconsin and Upper Michigan -- indeed, the worst recorded forest fire in American history. By the time it was over, 1.2 million acres -- 1,850 square miles (the size of Rhode Island) -- had been consumed, and one to two thousand were dead. It was described in some parts as "a wall of flame, a mile high, five miles wide, traveling 90 to 100 miles an hour, hotter than a crematorium, turning sand into glass."

The fire was so intense it sent cinders several miles over the waters of Green Bay and burned parts of the Door Peninsula. A witness named Edward J. Hall of nearby Oconto recalled to a historical site: "Balls of fire were observed to fall like meteors in different parts of the town [Peshtigo], igniting whatever they came in contact with. By this time the whole population was thoroughly aroused and alarmed, panic-stricken. A brilliant and fearful glare grew suddenly into sight. Man and women snatched their children and ran for the river.

"Inhaling the burning air, hundreds dropped within sight of the river while many fell within a few feet of the river. Those who reached the river throw water and wet cloths on their heads, and even kept under water as much as they could, and yet were burned to death."

Some of those who sought refuge in ponds or wells boiled to death.

Remarkably -- miraculously -- Adele, who was in the heart of it, escaped. Seeking refuge in the chapel, she and other farmers, nuns, and companions made the dash there as fire raged in every direction.

"Awe-stricken, they thronged the chapel ground," says the history. "Already, the chapel was filled with terror-stricken people, beseeching the Mother of God to spare them, many wailing aloud in their fright.

"Filled with confidence, they entered the chapel, reverently raised the statue of Mary, and kneeling, bore it in procession around their beloved sanctuary.

"When wind and fire exposed them to suffocation, they turned in another direction, and continued to hope and pray, saying the Rosary.

After hours of horror and suspense, Heaven sent relief by way of a downpour. The fire was extinguished. When they looked out the next morning, everything was destroyed. There was literally desolation for miles.

"But the convent, school, chapel, and the five acres of land consecrated to the Virgin Mary shone like an emerald isle in a sea of ashes," notes the pamphlet. "The raging fire licked the outside palings and left charred scars as mementos. Tongues of fire had reached the chapel fence, and threatened destruction to all within its confines -- but the fire had not entered the chapel ground."

No one ever found a cause for the disaster. They speculate that it was sparked from hunters' camp fires, fires used by loggers or those building a railway, lightning, or even fragments from the Comet Biela, which disintegrated in 1851 and is thought to have rained down meteors for years afterwards (though such fragments are usually cold by the time they hit ground). Whatever its cause, a key lesson: the only sanctuary then and in times to come is under Mary's mantle. Theologians are now studying the apparition. Its time has come.

There is this added mystery: October 8, 1871 -- date of the Wisconsin catastrophe -- was also the day of the Great Chicago Fire.

[Those wishing to contact or assist the shrine may click Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help or call 920-866-2571]

[resources: The Last Secret]

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