Upon entering Conception Seminary College in Conception, Mo., to discern a priestly vocation, Looney felt compelled to fill several sheets of paper with notes reflecting Mary’s mission to Adele to pray for sinners and educate children in their faith with the mysteries of the rosary.
The notes were filed away until recently when Looney, now a second-year theology student at University of St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein, Ill., formally compiled the writings in his third book to be published about the shrine in as many years.
“Praying the Rosary with Sister Adele” joins Looney’s other writings on the shrine and the Catholic faith: a children’s book, “The Story of Sr. Adele,” and “The Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help,” a frequently-asked-questions booklet about the shrine.
“I first visited the shrine on a school trip when I was in eighth grade ,” Looney said. “I remember I served Mass. That trip raised my awareness of my faith, but I don’t know if it had a serious impact. It was the 2005 visit on the feast of the Assumption after I had gone to Europe and visited sites of purported Marian apparitions that really awakened my own faith.”
More importantly, the 2005 shrine visit proved a game-changer in Looney’s life, directing him to the seminary.
Looney, 23, a native of Oconto, is currently serving a 13-week internship at Holy Family Parish in Marinette.
In his spare time, Looney authors articles in print and online concerning the Catholic faith and the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help.
In one recent online article, “Sides of the Same Coin: St. Angela Marici and Sister Adele Brise,” published at catholiclane.com, Looney explores a long list of similarities between the Italian saint who founded the Ursuline religious order and Sr. Adele, who received instruction as a young girl by the Ursuline sisters in Belgium, broaching a case for sainthood for Sr. Adele.
“Maybe one day we will see her (Sr. Adele) elevated to the altar of the church as a saint of the church. She clearly lived a holy life dedicated to the Lord,” Looney said.
Looney recently completed work on his fourth, as yet untitled book, a more scholarly look at the shrine and the meaning of the message given to Sr. Adele by the apparitions 153 years ago.
The book is currently under ecclesiastical review.
“The purpose of the fourth book is to go deeper, look into and analyze each fragment of the message given by Our Lady to Sr. Adele,” Looney said. “I argue in the book there was a personal message for Sr. Adele, but, by extension, could apply to all of us.”
The book explores similarities between the apparitions at Champion and appearances by the Blessed Virgin at Lourdes, Fatima, Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico and two other Belgian apparitions.
“At the heart of all these private revelations is the message of conversion of life and returning to the Lord in prayer and through the sacraments,” Looney said.