Though I’m a few days late, for Rebecca's Mornings With Mary, I wanted to post these two photos from The Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, a special place Mary Lou and I visited two weeks ago when we were in Quebec City, Canada. Mary Lou had a memory of visiting there as a child and walking on her knees with other worshipers up a staircase.
This photo is from the Basilica’s website as the day we toured, several people were in prayer nearby and our guide asked us not to use cameras of this particular statue. When I return to Quebec City one day, I would love to spend at least a half day here. They have several buildings, a museum, and a wonderful gift shop where I purchased a green rosary and a book about St. Anne. The energy here was breathtaking.
Wikipedia says the basilica is set along the Saint Lawrence River in Quebec, Canada, 30 kilometres (19 mi) east of Quebec City. It has been credited by the Catholic Church with many miracles of curing the sick and disabled. It is an important Catholic sanctuary which receives about a half-million pilgrims each year. The peak period of pilgrimage is around July 26, the feast of Saint Anne, the patron saint of Quebec.
According to a site called New Advent, devotion to Saint Anne, in Canada, goes back to the beginning of New France, and was brought forth by the first settlers and early missionaries. The hardy pioneers soon began to till the fertile soil of the Beaupré hillside; in the region which now forms the parish of Sainte Anne de Beaupré, the first houses date from the year 1650. Nor was it long before the settlers built themselves a chapel where they might meet for divine worship. One of their number, the Sieur Etienne Lessard, offered to give the land required at the spot which the church authorities should find suitable. On 13 March, 1658, therefore, the missionary, Father Vignal, came to choose the site and to bless the foundation of the proposed chapel which, by general consent, was to be dedicated to St. Anne. The very day the Saint showed how favourably she viewed the undertaking by healing Louis Guimont, an inhabitant of Beaupré, who suffered terribly from rheumatism of the loins. Full of confidence in St. Anne, he came forward and placed three stones in the foundations of the new building, whereupon he found himself suddenly and completely cured of his ailment.
This first authentic miracle was the precursor of countless other graces and favours of all kinds. For two centuries and a half the great wonder-worker has ceaselessly and lavishly shown her kindness to all the sufferers who from all parts of North America flock every year to Beaupré to implore her help. The old church was begun in 1676, and used for worship until 1876, when it was replaced by the present one, opened in October of that year. This last was built of cut stone, by means of contributions from all the Catholics of Canada. The offerings made by pilgrims have defrayed the cost of fittings and decoration. It is two hundred feet long, and one hundred wide, including the side chapels. Leo XIII raised it to the rank of a minor basilica 5 May, 1887; on 19 May, 1889, it was solemnly consecrated by Cardinal Taschereau,Archbishop of Quebec. It has been served by the Redemptorists since 1878.
Until our visit to St. Anne's basilica, I personally had never heard of her. Now I want to do more research. My beautiful green rosary has an image of her like the one I show above.