My Day 14: ONTARIO/QUEBEC TRAVEL SERIES #07 Quebec City – The Shrine of Saint Anne de Beaupré
My Travel to The Shrine of Saint Anne de Beaupré
We went to visit the Basilica of the Shrine of Saint Anne de Beaupré in Quebec City and there in the church are the relics of the Saint placed at the altar. This miraculous Saint have been revered all over Canada. Saint Anne de Beaupré has become the Patron Saint of the Province of Quebec and as the Mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary, little else is known about her. She is barely mentioned in the bible stories but everyone knows that she is the Mother of the Virgin Mary.
At the City of Quebec during our Visit to the Shrine of Saint Anne de Beaupré
My travel adventure in Quebec City to the Shrine of Saint Anne de Beaupré with my family was on a long weekend holiday so we only stayed there for three days and then back to Toronto after more than ten long hours of driving on a round trip basis.
Before proceeding to the Shrine, we went to the Downtown area of Quebec City to tour the place and have dinner in one of the Restaurants. The car was parked on the road near the sidewalks and we walked around the city proper. Quebec City is a lovely place, makes you feel the French culture all around.
The Basilica of Saint Anne de Beaupré
At the City of Quebec with Family on our Visit to the Shrine of Saint Anne de Beaupré
The architecture of the buildings also reminded me of the French influence in this beautiful place. It feels like being in Paris once again even if it’s still in Canada in the Province of Quebec, our only French-speaking neighbor province.
We did not have any hotel reservations so we stayed at the shrine’s Basilica Inn known for its hospitality, atmosphere, accessibility and proximity designed especially for pilgrims and visitors. Their rates were very reasonable and they had single, double and triple rooms with two twin beds so we got two rooms for four adults in the family. There’s also a dormitory for group occupancy.
They also have a cafeteria instead of a restaurant and the food was good. Here you have to line up and it’s a self-serve cafeteria. You choose from the smorgasbord and then pay at the cashier for the tray of food that you got. There are lots of tables and seats at the cafeteria that everyone can occupy. After we checked into our rooms we checked out the cafeteria and then we left to go to the basilica nearby, just a walking distance from the inn.
The Basilica of Saint Anne de Beaupré
(Courtesy of www.shrinesaintanne.org)
The RELICS of Saint Anne:
The Shrine has in its possession three notable relics. (Photo Courtesy of www.shrinesaintanne.org)
The FIRST RELIC (a portion of the bone of Saint Anne’s finger) was obtained by the Carcassonne Chapter, and was brought to the Shrine on March 12, 1670 by Bishop François de Laval.
The first MAJOR RELIC arrived at the Shrine on July 26, 1892, as a gift from Pope Leo XIII. It is a 4-inch portion of the bone of Saint Anne’s forearm. It was obtained from the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, and was brought from Rome to Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré by Bishop Joseph-Calixte Canac-Marquis (1821-1904).
Finally, on July 3, 1960, another MAJOR RELIC of Saint Anne (also from her forearm) was brought to the Shrine from St. Paul Outside the Walls, this time as a gift from Blessed Pope John XXIII.
The present-day Basilica was built to replace the first Basilica that was destroyed by fire on March 29, 1922.
Two architects, Mr. Maxime Roisin of Paris and Mr. Louis N. Audet of Sherbrooke, worked for several years on the design and construction of this church. The construction began on July 6, 1923 and there are still parts that have not yet been finalized even today.
Like many churches, it was constructed in the form of a Latin cross. It is Neo-Romanesque in style, respecting the Roman style of architecture but using more modern techniques. It rests on solid rock. The granite used came from the quarry at Saint-Sébastien, in Beauce, QC.
The Basilica’s central vault is completely covered with a series of mosaic dedicated to Saint Anne. Her life is portrayed in the vault of the central nave and of the two transepts. Her virtues are written on the part of the vault where the nave meets the transepts. Her glorification is depicted in the apse (vault of the Basilica’s sanctuary). These mosaics are the works of Mr. Auguste Labouret.
An ensemble of 240 stained-glass windows adorn the Basilica. They represent Christ, his apostles and disciples, as well as prophets and patriarchs who announced His coming. They also tell us of the history of devotion to Saint Anne here in the province of Quebec and as it spread throughout North America. Here’s what architect Mr. Audet has to say about these stained-glass windows:
“Saint Anne’s stained-glass windows are of a new kind in North America, for very few glass-painters have succeeded in mastering this art. The glass used in these windows must be perfectly clear and luminous in pieces one-inch thick and set, not in lead, but in reinforced concrete. The edges are chipped away with a hammer. Chipped in this manner, the glass pieces present numerous glittering facets ever twinkling in the sun. I dare say that these stained-glass windows are the best that have ever been produced since the Middle Ages. They are the work of Mr. Auguste Labouret, who invented this new technique.”
The 26 stained-glass windows in the ambulatory consist of relatively thin glass set in lead strips.
Two renowned sculptors shared the main sculpting work of the Basilica. First, there was Mr. Émile Brunet, renowned for his stone sculptures, particularly the capitals found atop each column in the church. These capitals, that portray the life of Christ, are considered pure works of art. Mr. Franz Moroder worked on the wooden sculpting, for instance the pews found in the nave and the 51 statuettes found on the pews in the sanctuary.
The chapel of Saint Anne, that of the Holy Family and the 10 ambulatory chapels.
These chapels form a top-quality artistic ensemble: mosaics, marble of various colours, stone, and granite come together in harmony to create a place of peace, beauty, and prayer.
Constructed by Casavant & Frères of Saint-Hyacinthe, it includes 44 stops. It was completely restored in 1988.
The Basilica’s set of bells is composed of nine bells, six of which were installed in the south tower and three, the heaviest bells, which were installed in the north tower. The total weight of the bells is 43,087 pounds. Each one has a name:
- – Angelica: sol
- – Jesus: la
- – Mary: ti
- – Anne: do
- – Joachim: re
- – Joseph: mi
- – John the Baptist: fa
- – Alphonsus: sol
- – Patrick: la
History about Saint Anne
Historically speaking, we know very little about Saint Anne. The Bible says nothing about her, whereas other writings that circulated in the early Church speak about her at great length. The mosaic of the Basilica’s central vault brings many accounts found in these early writings to life. However, devotion to Saint Anne is grounded in something that is historically certain: the Virgin Mary had a mother, and being the mother of the Virgin Mary and the grandmother of Jesus was a sufficient reason for the Church to have a great veneration and respect towards Saint Anne from the very beginning.
Important moments in her life
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 some time later, Anne gives birth to Mary.