On October 8th, 1871, almost twelve years to the date of Mary’s last appearance to Adele, the Great Peshtigo Fire broke out. It is still considered to this day the most devastating fire in United States history, killing between 1,200-2,400 people and burning 1.2 million acres. Due to the high winds and dry grounds, the fire quickly became a storm of fire and roared like a tornado right toward the Shrine’s grounds.
Desperate for help, people from the surrounding countryside fled to the Chapel where Adele and her companions were praying for Mary’s protection. Lifting the statue of Mary, those there that night processed around the sanctuary, praying the rosary and singing hymns to Jesus and the Blessed Mother. When the wind and fire threatened suffocation, they would turn in another direction to pray. Early the next morning, it is believed that a steady rain came and extinguished the flames of the fire.
The following is the account of Father Peter Pernin, a local priest who described the grounds after the events.