Sainte Anne de Beaupré Sainte Anne de Beaupré 

St. Anne de Beaupré: A Shrine for all Québec’s communities

The Sanctuary of St. Anne de Beaupré, where Pope Francis celebrates Holy Mass on Thursday is dedicated to the good St. Anne, the grandmother of Jesus. The rector of the Basilica at the Shrine says it welcomes almost a million visitors annually.

By Vatican News

The National Shrine of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré was established in 1658, after what many believed was a miraculous intervention by Saint Anne herself.

Tradition holds that the crew of a small ship from Brittany, in France, was sailing up the St. Lawrence River to emigrate to Canada, when suddenly a storm arose in the night.

Death was almost certain, but the Bretons on board prayed to the good Saint Anne – the grandmother of Jesus, who is venerated in Brittany, promising her a sanctuary if she would save them from their peril.

By morning, their ship had drifted ashore, and a blue sky shone overhead. Almost immediately they began construction of the chapel.

A healing miracle

The first reported miracle at the site occurred during the construction of the shrine itself when a man, Louis Guimond, was hired to help build the chapel, even though he was crippled by scoliosis.

After placing three stones on the foundation of the shrine, Guimond was cured of all his ailments. This healing was followed by other testimonies of healed people and the shrine quickly gained in popularity.

Major pilgrimage site

Today, it is one of the four major shrines in Québec and the oldest pilgrimage site in North America.  

The complex, which includes a Basilica, a Holy Staircase, a Memorial Chapel, a Fountain, and the 14 Stations of the Way of the Cross, welcomes almost a million visitors annually. It is filled with beauty thanks to its numerous paintings, mosaics, stained-glass windows, stone and wooden sculptures, many of them dedicated to the extraordinary history of Saint Anne and the important role she played in the faith of the peoples of Canada. A recognition that was officialized with the proclamation, in 1876, of St. Anne as patroness of the province of Quebec.

A place of worship for Indigenous communities

Speaking to Vatican Radio just before the Pope’s arrival, Father Scott Katzenberger, the Rector at the Shrine, said the lion’s share of the crowd that has tickets for the Mass are members of the indigenous community.

Fr. Katzenberger also recalls Pope St. John Paul II’s visit to the Shrine in 1984, pointing out that inside the Church there is a mosaic on the floor that marks where he prayed before the statue.

Listen to Father Scott Katzenberger

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28 July 2022, 17:01