Sainte Anne de Beaupré, Shrine of

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A Canadian sanctuary dedicated to the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The devotion was brought to Canada by the first French colonists, most of whom came from the east of France, where the cult had recently been revived at the Shrines of Sainte-Anne d'Auray and Sainte-Anne du Carrefour (St. Anne of the Crossroads). On March 8, 1658, Étienne de Lessard, of the Beaupré coast, donated a piece of land "on condition that, within the present year, the inhabitants of the place begin and continue without surcease the building of a church or chapel." Gabriel Queylus, then parish priest of Quebec, wished it to be dedicated to St. anne. According to the Jesuit Diary, March 13, 1658, "Father Vignard, delegate of Father [Queylus] blessed the site of the church of Petit Cap. My Lord the Governer [D'Ailleboust] laid the first stone." Miracles were described by the priest in charge, Thomas Morel, in the Jesuit Relations; in 1662 three boatmen whose skiff was wrecked off Cape Tourmente were said to be miraculously saved by St. Anne and cast up on shore close by the chapel. This event seems to have attracted pilgrims to the shrine, which became known as the Sailors' Chapel. Since then the pilgrimage movement has increased steadily. By mid-20th century about two million visitors and pilgrims, roughly half of whom are from the U.S., visit the Basilica of St. Anne yearly. In 1992, the first Basilica was destroyed by fire. The new Basilica was consecrated on July 4, 1976.

Bibliography: Archives, Basilica of Sainte Anne de Beaupré, contain thousands of MSS dating back to 1658. Archives, Seminary of Quebec, contain documents on the Confraternity of Ste. Anne and on the origins of the Shrine. Archives, Judicial, Quebec, contain all the original notarial acts, particularly those concerning land grants. g. bÉlanger, Royal House of Beaupré (Ste. Anne de Beaupré 1946). e. lefebvre, A Land of Miracles for Three Hundred Years (Ste. Anne de Beaupré 1958). g.-u. gagnon, St-Anne-de-Beaupré: Past and Present Churches (Quebec 1994).

[l. e. gagnÉ/eds.]

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Sainte Anne de Beaupré, Shrine of

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