Adele Brise: A woman devoted to the Eucharist

By Fr. Edward Looney | Special to The Compass | April 23, 2020

The year 2020 has been a difficult time for Catholics. The coronavirus outbreak forced the suspension of public liturgies all throughout the world. Daily and Sunday Mass-goers no longer could receive the Eucharist. Spiritual communions became a way of life Sunday after Sunday, creating a longing within believers for the day they could once again be united with their Eucharistic Lord.

A statue of Our Lady of Good Help appearing to Adele Brise stands outside of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help’s Mother of Mercy Hall in Champion. (Sam Lucero | The Compass)

The Belgian immigrants who settled in northeast Wisconsin began to abandon their faith and its sacramental practices. One priest wrote to the church in Belgium asking for them to send accompanying priests with their flock arriving in America. This sacramental scene may be one of the contributing factors as to why the Queen of Heaven chose to appear to Adele Brise in 1859 — to renew the faithful of the people.

On Oct. 9, 1859, Adele was on her way to morning Mass, accompanied with her sister and a friend, when for the second time she saw a beautiful woman between two trees along the path. Walking along the wooded trail, several miles each way for the privileged holy encounter, demonstrates Adele’s devotion to the Mass and the Eucharist. After attending Mass, Adele went to the priest and asked him for advice about the mysterious woman. He told her to ask a simple question and that is what she did on the way home.

From Our Lady’s message to Adele, we learn that she received holy Communion on that Sunday because Mary commended her reception: “You received holy Communion this morning and that is well. …” But the Blessed Mother unlocked for us a secret about our reception of holy Communion, allowing Adele, and now us, to deepen our eucharistic devotion.

The message went on, “but you must do more, make a general confession and offer your Communion for the conversion of sinners.” Since Adele responded to the mission Our Lady entrusted to her of gathering the children and teaching, we can safely believe that she took seriously the invitation to prayer and offering her Communion for the conversion of sinners.

When returning to the pew after receiving holy Communion, what do you do? Maybe you join in singing the hymn or pause for a few moments in silent prayer, having a heart-to-heart conversation with our Savior about our fears and hopes. It is a powerful moment of prayer, and Our Lady asks us to pray for the conversion of sinners, which begins with ourselves, our family and friends, and the rest of the world.

The next time you receive the Eucharist, fulfill Our Lady’s request and pray for the conversion of sinners. You can pray with your own words or use the prayer I wrote (seen at right) to teach people how to pray in this way.

Adele attended Mass and received holy Communion. After the apparition, she offered her holy Communion for the conversion of sinners and prepared children to receive their first holy Communion in response to Our Lady’s request to “teach the children how to approach the sacraments.”

The next time you approach to receive the Eucharist, remember the words Mary spoke to Adele and use them to deepen your eucharistic devotion and prayer.

More of Fr. Looney’s writings, prayers and devotions about the Champion apparition can be found in his book, “Our Lady of Good Help: Prayer Book for Pilgrims,” available from TAN Books and the shrine gift store.

‘Prayer after Communion for the conversion of sinners’
By Fr. Edward Looney
Eternal Father, I kneel before you this day with a grateful heart because you have allowed me to receive the Body and Blood of your Son Jesus in holy Communion.
Thank you for sending the Queen of Heaven to earth with a message calling us to conversion and emphasizing the sacraments. For when she appeared to Adele Brise in 1859, she asked her to offer her holy Communion for the conversion of sinners. Just as Adele did long ago, I wish to do likewise this day.
I offer to you, Eternal Father, the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of your Son, for the conversion of sinners, including my own conversion, in reparation for sin, and the salvation of souls. Through Our Lady’s maternal solicitude, may the hearts of hardened sinners return to the sacraments of penance and Eucharist, especially to Sunday Mass and to daily prayer.
As I go forward from this holy Mass, help me to fear nothing, knowing that you are with me and are always guiding me and that Our Lady constantly intercedes for me. Make me aware of your presence this day and always. Amen.

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