“The first book I’ve written is a children’s story called ‘The Story of Sister Adele.’ It is written from the perspective of Adele as if she is telling the story,” said Looney. He said two people suggested he write it. One of those was Christie Mongin who drew the illustrations for the book.
“I was at a conference in Scottsdale, Ariz.,” explained the Oconto native, “and got a call from Christie who said, ‘You are going to write a children’s story and I am going to draw pictures.’ And I said, ‘No I am not. I am an academic and not a children’s book writer.’”
However, when longtime caretaker of the shrine Karen Tipps asked him to do it, Looney sat down and put the story of Adele Brise together. He notes that the book is catechetical in nature.
“The book introduces people to such things as Marian apparitions as well as the sacraments and purgatory. My vision is that religious ed programs would pick this up and provide it to their kids and then come on out to the shrine,” he told The Compass.
Looney has become a resident expert of sorts on the shrine and the apparitions, as he has studied extensively about the various events that have taken place there. Last May, he presented a paper at the 62nd annual program of the Mariological Society of America on Adele Brise and the apparitions.
His second book comes from that work, as well as the talk he has been giving to pilgrims at the shrine over this past summer. The 40-page booklet is titled, “A Self-Guided Tour of the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help.”
“The book is in a question-and-answer format of 40 questions. I’ve grouped the questions in categories to make it a guided tour, per se,” said Looney. “For instance, the pilgrim can go into the main church and make their way around by looking at the questions.”
Looney adds that much of what is in this second book is already posted or written on the shrine grounds. His hope is that by putting it all together it will be much more user-friendly.
Both books are being printed by Independent Printing Company in De Pere and will have an initial run of just 500 copies to get started. Looney has been told that the books will be ready for the outdoor Assumption Mass at the shrine.
“We are looking to have a table set up outside after the Mass, where we are going to just do cash sales on the $6 children’s book,” said Looney. “We hope to sell them all out that day and get another print run of them.”
Proceeds from the sale of these books will be split between the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help and the annual Diocesan Seminarian Collection.
While Looney will be headed back to school as a first-year theology student at the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Ill., in just a few weeks, he is not slowing down in his list of projects that relate to the United States’ only approved apparition site.
“I want to put together an academic work that would encapsulate the Mariology of this place. That one will be a lot of work and research. But a work that would be a little more accessible to the masses is an oral history of this place. I want to collect those stories and get them out as an anthology.”
For more information about the books, visit http://www.edwardlooneybooks.com/.