Saturday, 1 November 2014

Saint Anne de Beaupré, Canada. Miracles, pilgrimages and relics. Saints from the First Nations. Redemptorist missionary order. Pope John Paul Il. Pope Benedict XVI. Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico.

The basilica of St Anne de Beaupré during the Fall

View of the basilica from the St Lawrence river

The Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, with over 1.5 million visitors a year, is the oldest Catholic shrine in North America.  It is 20 miles from Quebec near the St. Lawrence River and the.second most visited shrine in North America after Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico.

This place of pilgrimage  is not generally known about in the British Isles as we tend to go to famous shrines nearer to home like Walsingham here, Rome in Italy, Lourdes in France, Knock in IrelandFatima in Portugal, Santiago de Compostela in Spain and Medjugorje in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Statue of St Anne de Beaupré 
wearing a gold crown with diamonds, rubies and pearls.
St Anne is holding her daughter Mary, the mother of Jesus 

The first church to St Anne de Beaupré was built in 1658 to house a beautiful wooden statue of the saint: The first miracle attributed to her was the healing of builder Louis Guimont from acute scoliosis on completion of the church. 

Île aux Oeufs / Egg Island

The second recorded miracle came in 1676 when sailors were saved after praying to Saint Anne, the patron saint of sailors,  during a shipwreck off the Île aux Oeufs. Saint Anne is also the patron saint of the childless, carpenters, miners, Quebec, the Mi'kmaq people of Canada.and many other places worldwide. 

Chapel of St Anne in the basilica
with relic and original statue

More miracles followed, and a famous one occurred in New York in 1892, when an epileptic was cured on seeing relic of St. Anne, which had been sent by Pope Leo XIII to Beaupré via New York.  Pilgrimages from the US and elsewhere to St Anne de Beaupré's shrine in Canada increased, and the church had to be enlarged. St Anne's feast day is on 26 July when thousands visit her shrine. The main church which was rebuilt in 1926,  can seat 1,500  with standing room for 3,000.

Redemptorist priests from the order founded in Italy by St Alphonsus Liguori in 1748  to work with the poor have been in charge of the shrine of St Anne de Beaupré since 1878. They keep meticulous testimony - which can be seen on their website -  of healings and favours obtained, and give blessings to the many visitors.  Redemptorist missionaries work in more than 77 countries around the world.

An impressive array of walking sticks, crutches and other aids are left on the columns just inside the basilica. They bear witness to the many miracles by St Anne de Beaupré: the crutches etc. are similar to those discarded and kept in the Museum of Miracles at Lourdes.after Our Lady's intervention. 

The basilica is very beautiful, with 240 stained glass windows, parquet floor and many statues. Mosaics depict the life of St. Anne, the saints of Canada,  scenes from the life of Jesus and geometrical designs. Each end of the wooden pews has carvings of animals and plants.

 Pope John Paul Il meeting members of the First Nations 
 in St. Anne de Beaupré,  September 10, 1984

The Immaculate Conception Chapel

The Immaculate Conception Chapel on  the lower level of the basilica has a large statue of the Virgin Mary, paintings by Frédéric Doyon and Marius Dubois, a copy of Michelangelo's Pietà,  and the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. 

The Blessed Sacrament Chapel

There is also the tomb of Venerable Father Alfred Pampalon (1867-1896), a Redemptorist priest and native of Quebec. He is the patron of people with alcohol and drug dependencies, and was declared Venerable by Pope John Paul II in 1991. 

St Kateri Tekakwitha, c 1690, by Father Chauchetière

Outside the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré is 6’ 4” high bronze sculpture by Joseph-Émile Brunet of St Kateri Tekakwitha, 1656–1680. She was an Algonquin Mohawk Native American who was outcast when she converted to Catholicism aged 19. St Kateri was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI  in  2012 after various miracles. 

Fountain by Joseph-Émile Brunet

Way of the Cross
Bronze sculpture  by Émile Roy, cast in Vaucouleurs, France   

There is plenty to see outside the basilica, with the large fountain and gardens in front of it and museum to the side. The Stations of the Cross more chapels, a holy well,  and a replica of the Scala Santa/Holy Stairs in Rome are on the nearby hillside.

Throughout the year, services at the basilica take place. Each day sees an average of eight Masses plus Confession, the Rosary, Stations of the Cross, the blessing of the sick with one of three relics of St. Anne and a candlelight procession on Saturdays and Sundays. The shrine maintains a pilgrim hostel (the Basilica Inn) and facilities for the sick and handicapped. Souvenirs and gifts are available at the church shop. 

Shrine of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, 
10018 Royal Avenue, 
Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré (QC),