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.
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.