When one thinks of Marian Apparitions immediately Lourdes, Fatima, and Guadalupe come to mind. For many, these distant holy sites are not possible to visit due to the nature and expense of international travel. Little is it known though, that Mary has appeared here, in the United States.
Our Lady of Champion appeared to a young Belgian woman, Adele Brise, in 1859 in Northeastern Wisconsin. For over a century and a half, stories of this apparition were known and venerated by local Catholics. Many miracles have been attributed to the intercession of Our Lady of Champion and the site of the apparition has been considered holy since the visions. In 2010, after extensive investigation, Bishop David Ricken of the Diocese of Green Bay declared the apparitions “Worthy of Belief” by the Authority of the Catholic Church. In 2016, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops designated the grounds as a National Shrine. And just earlier this year (2023) it was declared that annually October 9th will be the Solemnity of Our Lady of Champion.
During the apparitions, Mary referred to herself as “the Queen of Heaven” and annually the Shrine has held a large celebration on August 15, the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This year Catholics from across Montana will join Bishop Jeffrey Fleming, in making pilgrimage to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Champion for this celebration.
In addition to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Champion, pilgrims will visit the National Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe (La Crosse, WI), the Basilica of St. James (Jamestown, ND), the Family Fatima Shrine (Alexandria, SD) and other holy sites along the way. The dates for this pilgrimage are August 12 – 18, 2023, leaving from both Great Falls and Billings via charter bus. Space is limited, and is already filling up quickly, so do not hesitate to register before the price increases on July 10, 2023.
For specifics on pricing and the itinerary of this pilgrimage visit: www.diocesegfb.org/pilgrimage2023