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Cancer Patient Says She Was Healed By Shrine Of Virgin Mary - And She's Not The Only One

Today / Discover Wisconsin

Last summer, during a trip to a famous cathedral, I lit a prayer candle for my grandmother who had passed away years earlier.

Less than a week later, I heard some unexpected good news about a problem that had been troubling my family for months.

I don't know if I would call it a "miracle," but it certainly felt like my grandmother (or someone else) was looking out for me.

A cancer survivor from Wisconsin shared her own miraculous tale this week.

And it's connected to a special shrine that has inspired dozens of similar stories.

Two Years To Live

Nancy Foytik.

Nancy Foytik says her doctors expected the worst when they diagnosed her with stage four colon cancer.

The disease had already spread to her lungs, and they were convinced her case was terminal.

They gave her just two years to live, and Foytik says she "didn't have any hope."

But the diagnosis convinced Foytik to cross a trip off her bucket list.

She had always wanted to see Wisconsin's Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to visit the holy site.

The Miracle At Champion Shrine

Our Lady of Good Help shrine
Green Bay.org

Foytik says that when she visited the shrine with her family, she felt - not heard - a voice speaking to her that no one else in her family could.

The voice told her, "You're going be okay."

"We just knew when I walked out of the chapel that day that I was going to be cured," she told Megyn Kelly this week.

And her feeling turned out to be right, in a medical miracle that stunned her doctors.

"He said, 'Check it again'"

Foytik had already had one round of chemotherapy and a pair of surgeries to remove tumors from her colon and left lung.

When she returned for the surgery on her right lung, doctors found there were no tumors, despite scans that had showed them clearly.


"Check it again," her doctor told the lab technicians, but the result was the same.

"Check it again," he insisted, but the results still came back negative.

Today, Foytik is cancer free.

She doesn't call her case a miracle, but her friends and family do.

And it's not the only story of healing connected to the famous shrine.

Our Lady of Good Help

The shrine outside of Green Bay, Wisconsin was established in 1859, after a Belgian immigrant named Adele Brise saw apparitions of the Virgin Mary.

Adele Brise and the Virgin Mary
Our Lady of Good Help / Wikimedia

The visions instructed her to teach children about her faith, and Brise later founded a school and a convent.

Today, the shrine - also called the Marian or Champion shrine - is the only shrine in America recognized by the Catholic Church for an appearance by Mary.

And ever since Brise saw her vision, the church has inspired a host of miraculous and unexplained cases.

The Firestorm of 1871

One of most famous incidents connected to the shrine was a massive fire just a few years after its founding.

Peshtigo Fire
Families flee the fire in this illustration from 1871.Harper's Weekly

A storm and wildfire combined to create a natural disaster that killed nearly 2,000 people, and torched more than 1,200,000 acres.

To this day, the storm is still the worst recorded fire disaster in U.S. history.

And despite being caught in the fire's path, the shrine survived.

Brise refused to leave the building during the disaster, and no one who found shelter inside the chapel was harmed.

"Graces" at the Shrine

Like Foytik, staff at the shrine shy away from calling its famous cases "miracles."

On their website, they explain that the shrine has been connected to "graces," or special favors from what they believe is God.

the Virgin Mary at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help.
A statue of the Virgin Mary at the shrine.Discover Wisconsin

While there are many stories of medical cures, they say that mainly the shrine provides "emotional healing [through] peace of soul."

Here are just a few examples of the shrine's famous works:

  • Michelle Adler and her children prayed for her mother at the shrine, after she had a stroke in 2010. The woman had been given just weeks to live, but soon made a full recovery - and even returned to living independently.
  • A family were worried after their toddler's feeding tube fell out during a visit to the shrine in 2013. Later that day, doctors found they could not replace the tube - because the girl's wound had healed.
  • The shrine also displays a collection of crutches left behind by visitors and pilgrims who traveled there for healing.

Do you believe in miracles? Have you ever experienced one?

[H/T: Today, Green Bay Press Gazette]

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