Sunday, March 7, 2010

Ste. Anne de Beaupre

Thousands and thousands of crutches and hundreds of faithful people holding candles in the dark are two of the strongest images I've ever seen as a Roman Catholic who has visited some of the world's most famous churches.
This was Ste. Anne de Beaupre Basilica. When I was not more than 12 years old, we went on vacation to Quebec, Canada. And, we went to Mass there. I remember it was sad to see so many sick people but also hopeful and encouraging to be immersed in it.
Worship of Ste. Anne de Beaupre dates back to 1650 where French settlers set up their homes along the hillside. Ste. Anne is the mother of Mary and grandmother of Jesus.
On March 13, 1658, Father Vignal, a missionary, chose the site to build what is now the basilica. Miracle upon miracle happened in the name of Ste. Anne. The old church started in 1676 and was used for 200 years. There have been many renovations and there are also side chapels. In 1876, Ste. Anne was named the patron saint of Quebec. The present basilica was built in 1926.
Thousands of crutches are left at the main entrance of the basilica. These are from people who were healed in her name or have come to ask for her help.
Ste. Anne's relics are her finger bone (brought there in 1670) and wrist bone (brought there in 1892). Her feast day is July 26.

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