Sunday, April 29, 2007

St Anne de Beaupre Catholic Shrine

Last summer, I had the good fortune to visit the world famous shrine of St Anne de Beaupre just outside of Quebec City. The history of the shrine is fascinating, dating back to 1658, when the first chapel was built on the site by early settlers to to house a miraculous statue of St. Anne. The first miracle attributed to the intercession of St. Anne at Beaupré was the cure of a crippled workman in 1658. The story we were told was that the crippled man, not content to merely watch his companions labour all day to build the chapel, decided to help carry the bricks. Unable to walk, he placed a brick in each hand, and crawled, sliding along on his belly to deliver the bricks, two at a time to the work site. His was a labour of love and was not to go unrewarded. The following morning, when he woke up, he could walk! The first miracle of St Anne de Beaupre had occurred, and was soon followed by another when a group of sailors were delivered safely from a storm through the intercession of St. Anne.

Above, the miraculous statue of St. Anne

By 1688 it had become a site of local pilgrimage, and by 1707, Native Indians, (who have a great devotion to St Anne throughout all of Canada) were coming to venerate the saint they called "Grandmother in the Faith." The current basilica was built in 1926, to replace the one that was destroyed by fire in 1922.

Inside the basilica

In the ex-voto chapel of the Church, you will see stacks of crutches, canes and folded wheelchairs left behind by those who have been miraculously healed, and the miracles continue to this day.

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