For as long as I have known Lorraine, I have heard the story of how her father was a victim in a horrible train accident while living in Prince Edward Island, Canada and was crippled for four years. During recovery, his family took him to the St. Anne de Beaupre Shrine in the hope that his healing process would be enhanced by St. Anne's intercession. Lorraine's father did recover, whether or not because of St. Anne's help (we leave that up to your own beliefs). In any event, Lorraine's family was devoted to St. Anne de Beaupre ever since. Therefore, being so close to this shrine, we just had to make a visit.
Located just 22 miles northeast of the heart of Quebec City, the shrine is near the foothills of the Laurentian mountains. The first church was built here by shipwrecked sailors who dedicated it to their patron saint, Anne, mother of Mary and grandmother of Jesus. While not a whole lot is known about St. Anne, many believed that miracles could be obtained by praying to her. The first recorded miracle attributed to her occurred during the construction of the first chapel in 1658. Louis Guimont, a construction worker who suffered from scoliosis, reportedly was cured while working on the chapel. Since then, millions of pilgrims have come here seeking St. Anne's help for more than 350 years. Pillars just inside the main entrance are covered by crutches from people who claimed that St. Anne cured them.
By 1661, the simple first chapel was replaced by a larger wood and stone church. Fifteen years later, this was replaced by an even larger all stone edifice. In 1876, the first Basilica dedicated to St. Anne was erected on this site. Destroyed by fire in 1922, this was quickly replaced by the current structure. Nearly a million visitors a year now come by car, train, or bus.