I absolutely love pilgrimages. Ever since our family made a pilgrimage to Lourdes almost ten years ago, we have had many opportunities to visit the many places in our own backyard that hold special significance to pilgrims, Catholic and non-Catholic, the world over. Today we are making our first trip to the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré (right outside of Quebec City) for the first time as a family. This shrine, dedicated to the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is one of the most beloved pilgrimage sites in Canada, and the intercession of St. Anne has led to many healings.
The website for the Shrine has this tidbit about St. Anne: “After 20 years of marriage, Anne had not yet given birth to a child. As a result, Joachim, her husband, withdrew to the desert. An angel appeared to them both, and told them that their desire to have a child would be fulfilled. They meet at the Golden Gate at the entrance of Jerusalem, and sometime later, Anne gives birth to Mary.” I absolutely love how these traditions (and so many others related to the saints) have been passed down through the centuries and make the exploration of the history of our Faith so much more than simply “delving through dusty history books” (as a friend of mine once said). Now, the opportunity to pray at a shrine built in her honour adds so much beauty to those traditions…to summarize, I love being Catholic. If you have not yet had a chance to visit the Shrine of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, you definitely should find the time, it is absolutely beautiful!
St. Anne, pray for us!