Healing at the Shrine of St. Anne de Beaupre

            A few years ago, I considered making a pilgrimage, as distinguished from a trip, to the Shrine of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre in the Province of Quebec, Canada.  That journey never materialized, but my recent two-week excursion to the Northeast US and to Canada allowed me at least a brief visit to this Basilica. 


            St. Anne’s is reputed to be the most visited religious shrine in North America. I wanted to go, and I am glad I did.


            On the way to St. Anne’s from Quebec City, the tour bus took us to Montmorency Falls, which is one and a half times the height of Niagara Falls.  Impressive and worth seeing.


            St. Anne’s was massive.  The context for me is that I have seen many of the Cathedrals of Europe, and I got to the point of being bored by them.  My apologies, but after a week of castles and cathedrals, they begin to run together.  In Rome, Italy, near where Sally and I once stayed, I got up one Sunday morning to go to church at what I called the No-Name Cathedral.  I am sure it had a name, but it was simply the closest church to our room.  It was magnificent, but it was on no tourist map, and apparently of no historic or artistic or religious merit.  Huh?  If that No-Name Cathedral were in South Carolina, it would be our Number One Tourist Attraction in the Entire State.  I repeat: It was magnificent.  But, No-Name Cathedral was in Rome, and competing with St. Peter’s Basilica and the Basilica of St. John Lateran was just not gonna happen.  But, I digress.  St. Anne de Beaupre was huge and inspiring, but I have seen big already.


            Inspiring, however, it was.  Not because of the chapels or the statuary or the candles, but because of the walls of crutches.


            During my trip, I have been reading a book about Mormon fundamentalism, Under the Banner of Heaven:  A Story of Violent Faith, by Jon Krakauer.  Krakauer examines the murderous rage of many Mormons, throughout their history, as they claimed they were doing the will of God as they slaughtered other humans.  They claimed to be following God’s instructions.  As an honest Christian with a couple of seminary degrees, I am also aware of the sometime bloody and vile history of Catholics and Protestants, many of whom, at various times and places, killed others because they thought it pleased God.  Muslims and other faith groups don’t fare any better.


            In counterpoint to this sorry history of homicide stood walls of crutches at St. Anne’s, evidence of faith at its best:  life-giving instead of life-taking.  Men, women boys and girls journeyed to St. Anne’s to search for healing.  The crutches were the visible display evidencing that many found new health and new life through their faith at that place at that time. 


I needed that.  Having just retired from a career as a pastor/minister during which I often saw people and churches at their worst and most dysfunctional, it was life-giving to me to see these walls of crutches, left behind by people who had been healed while at the Shrine.


            We all need healing.  Sick bodies need to be made well.  Miserable souls need peace.  Tired and empty people need refreshment.  Broken relationships need to be mended.  I want to be among those people of faith who, instead of believing themselves to be emissaries of an angry God, devote themselves to being messengers of good news and grace. ImageImageImage

Categories: Faith/Spirituality, Health, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

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11 thoughts on “Healing at the Shrine of St. Anne de Beaupre

  1. Gail


  2. tjp

    I do not think the wall of crutches is evidence of anything except mass delusion. I still find it curious how such beliefs ubiquitously persist in spite of there not being a scintilla of evidence that is in any way measurable or repeatable BDI will you or dogma is completely infested with corruption, rampant abuse of power and largely built upon only the self interest of the holders of these beliefs. Furthermore, it seems to me such thoughts and beliefs and faiths are an impediment to cultural and intellectual evolution, change or personal growth and maintain such separations between people that solving problems as a group becomes increasingly more difficult. Humans, to survive, in my opinion, must accept as agreed-upon beliefs only those things that can be reasoned and depended upon for repeatable results. Where is there conflict, killing, atrocities and inability to function as human not the direct product of these delusional beliefs and faith.

    Mormonism, has consistently seemed to me, one of the more absurd religions, excepting Scientology which I do not see as a religion in any way. The history of Mormonism seems rife with bigotry, brutality and sexual deviance resulting in persistent persecution. This is not to say the Mormons I have known in any way represent this in their life; they appear just like the rest of us, mostly not engaging on any real thought concerning their beliefs. Today they seem to have evolved into an economic organization, further maintaining their separation from the society overall. This, however, does not distinguish them from any of the other religions who also must maintain a separation to continue to exist. A society based upon faith as its main ingredient or even a significant ingredient does not seem sustainable in any sense of the word in the world that is coming into creation, no, one that is already here.

    • I certainly can’t testify that 100 people out of 100 who leave crutches at St. Anne’s were healed in any medical sense of that word. There are psychosomatic cures, I’m sure. But occasionally, if not often, I think people are healed. And I absolutely applaud the effort of religious people or bodies to put an emphasis on health and wholeness rather than to function toxically, being a part of the problem instead of the solution.

  3. Patsy P

    I love this Marion and want to share it with my Circle Sisters. But this is how mine ends: to being messengers of good news and > Can the last of this sentence be made visible please?

    • Let me figure out what happened. Thanks for alerting me. I should be able to fix this, but who knows?

    • Patsy, It should say “messengers of good news and grace.” Which is what mine says, every way I look at it, so I don’t know how to fix it. So you only missed two words. But “Grace” is a pretty important word in my vocabulary, so let them know when you forward it. Marion

  4. Clyde

    tjp raises some interesting questions and deserves another response. Even his/her superior intelligence cannot explain all the mysteries of this world and its universe. Believing only that which can be proven leaves a lot of gaps. The Judeo-Christian tradition teaches that there are times and places in which we walk by faith and not by sight. And faith is believing to be true that which cannot be proven. Sometimes we find out that we were wrong and sometimes we find out that we were right.

  5. margaret aldridge

    Thank you, Marion, for such a meaningful and refreshing message. Actually I have personally known two people who have been healed through prayer and the grace of God.

  6. Karin S.

    Thank you for placing my son, Erich’s, name, nieces, nephews, godchild and her sister (parents, grandparents, greatgrandparents (step), etc.) at the base of St. Anne’s relics, tomb for intercession with the following areas of scripture: Hebrews 13:3; Matthew 25:35-46; Psalms 69:33; Psalms 102:20; Isaiah 61:1; Psalms 79:11; Genesis 39:20-23; Luke 4:18; Acts 12:7; 1 John 1:9; 2 Corinthians 11:23; Acts 16:25; Acts 16:19-40; Acts 12:6; Isaiah 42:7; Romans 12:2; Acts 25:16; Psalms 103:1-22; 2 Timothy 4:16; Acts 22:24; Acts 28:16; Acts 25:8; Acts 16:24; Mark 15:6; Matthew 11:2; Matthew 6:33; Jeremiah 37:15; Exodus 23:7; Jude 1:6; James 5:13; Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 4:22-24; Galatians 3:28; 2 Corinthians 9:7; 2 Corinthians 6:5; Acts 27:1; Acts 16:23; Acts 12:3-19; Acts 5:17-42; John 3:16; Luke 22:47-71; Matthew 26:47-75; Hebrews 2:12; Acts 21:24; Acts 16:33; John 18:39; John 18:19; John 4:24; Luke 3:20; Mark 15:15; Mark 6:17; Matthew 27:15-17; Matthew 18:14; Matthew 16:19; Hosea 4:6; Jeremiah 39:14; Jeremiah 38:7-28; Jeremiah 38:6-28; Jeremiah 38:6; Proverbs 3:6; Judges 16:21; Genesis 40:3; Ephesians 5:19; 2 Corinthians 11:24; Romans 3:1-31; Acts 28:31; Acts 26:1; Acts 24:10; Acts 21:28; Acts 21:27-40; Acts 21:27; Acts 21:26; Acts 21:25; Acts 21:23; Acts 21:22; Acts 12:19; Acts 12:18; John 18:3-40; John 4:23; Luke 23:16-18; Luke 22:23; Mark 14:43-72; Mark 14:26; Mark 14:15; Mark 11:25; Matthew 27:26; Matthew 26:30; Matthew 26:27; Matthew 14:3-12; Matthew 8:5-10; Matthew 5:9; Amos 1:13; Lamentations 3:54; Lamentations 3:53; Jeremiah 37:21; Jeremiah 37:20; Jeremiah 32:2; Jeremiah 29:26; Isaiah 2:4; blessed Saint Anne, pray for us, may the living be unbound as you pray for them in heaven.
    Finding The Saints in Rome!: St

  7. How can I send my prayer intentions to St. Anne de Beaupre? Please help as I know She will hear our help for my husband, Larry, to be cancel free.

  8. JEarl

    The eternal question: why are some healed and some are not? I tend to agree with Rabbi Kushner.

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