Wisconsin Marian shrine: "Turnout has been incredible"

Thousands have flocked to the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help since it became the first and only shrine in the United States to be officially recognized for an apparition of the Blessed Mother.  And it will get even more attention next week, when it will be featured in a report by ABC News on Marian apparitions.


“The immediate aftermath was the phone was ringing off the hook,” said Karen Tipps, a caretaker of the shrine in northeastern Brown County. “Right from Dec. 8 on, we never had a slow time this winter.”

People began flocking from across the country in the middle of a harsh Wisconsin winter, coming from as far away as Texas, New Orleans and even the south Pacific island of Tahiti — to pray and pay respects.

Tipps estimates visits have grown tenfold, going from an average 75 to 100 visitors a day to now drawing between 500 to 800, including daily bus tours. Similar in traffic, she said, to what used to be one of the busiest days of the year, the Catholic Feast of the Assumption on Aug. 15.

“It was kind of an eye-opener. It was like Aug. 15, every day for seven days straight,” Tipps said. “Our whole classification of what normal is has changed.”

The shrine will even be featured in a primetime ABC “Nightline” documentary at 9 p.m. July 13 that examines the Virgin Mary as a religious icon and visits apparition sites around the world.

The sudden and dramatic intrigue has forced the diocese to play catch-up, adding staff, volunteers and amenities to the small but swamped chapel and beginning to plan for future growth and possible expansion to the site.

“The turnout has been incredible,” said Bishop David Ricken of the Green Bay diocese. “It’s been a wonderful gift to the diocese. So many people are coming, and there are all kinds of reports of answered prayers and healings continuing.”

Read the rest. And you can learn more about the shrine and the apparition at this link.

Photo by: H. Marc Larson / Press-Gazette

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6 responses to “Wisconsin Marian shrine: "Turnout has been incredible"”

  1. I hope they can manage to avoid all of the crass commercialism and atmosphere of a ‘tourist destination’ that makes these places such a turn-off for me.

    The first lady in the pic above looks like she’s rushing out to the gift shop to make her purchases before she has to get back on the bus. God help anyone that gets in her way.

  2. Years ago, a friend of mine, a cradle Catholic, and I, a convert, went to Lourdes. My friend was shocked at the tacky souvenier shops lining the streets, filled with cheap plastic this and that. But I was not at all put off. Cheap and tacky souveniers are just a form of popular culture and if people want to buy them, why shouldn’t someone make a living by selling them? It’s not like it’s a sin to buy a plastic holy water bottle or an inexpensive statue. Maybe people like plastic statues, or maybe it’s all they can afford.

    So good luck to the people in Wisconsin. I hope I can visit there someday.

  3. Don’t judge based on interpretations of the looks on people’s faces in a “frozen in time” photo image. The shrine is, and I am confident will remain a peaceful and prayerful place. Those of us who have grown up and lived in its shadow are not wringing our hands worrying about commercialization. We think Our Lady can handle it just fine.

  4. When I looked at the picture, I smiled and thought, what a wonderful woman, filled with the Holy Spirit.

  5. Ummm, just my observation, but I see a lot of gray hair in this picture. Deacon are there any others of middle age adults or young people there? Just curious.

    [The caption says its a group of tourists from the Catholic Daughters of America. Insert age joke here. 😀 Dcn. G.]

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