The Shrine, which celebrated its 350th anniversary in 2008, is one of the oldest pilgrimage sites in North America. Through the presence of Saint Anne and her daughter Mary, the Redemptorist community and their collaborators welcome you to Saint Anne’s loving home.
The history of the Shrine began in 1658, with the construction of a small chapel. It is believed that a man named Louis Guimont, crippled at the time, was healed after having placed three stones in the foundation of the church. He is considered to have received the first healing of Good Saint Anne. News of this miracle spread and “Sainte-Anne-du-Petit-Cap” quickly became a popular place of pilgrimage.
A second church was built in 1661, but it was replaced in 1676 by a stone church that better met the needs of the parishioners and the increasing number of pilgrims. This third church was used as the place of worship for the next two hundred years. The present-day Memorial Chapel stands on the foundations of the third church’s southern transept.
In 1872, due to the steady increase of pilgrims and the deteriorating state of the church, the construction of a fourth church began. Architect L.-A. Dion from Québec City drew up the plans, which were later revised by Charles Baillargé. On October 17, 1876, this church was open for worship.
Later that year, on May 7, Saint Anne was proclaimed patron saint of Québec by Pope Pius IX. During the summer of 1877, 38,500 pilgrims visited the shrine. The three secular priests who were in charge at the time could no longer meet the needs of the pilgrims and parishioners. The shrine was therefore confided to the Redemptorists, a religious community founded in Italy in 1732 by St. Alphonsus Liguori.
Replacing the diocesan priests at Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré was a great challenge for the community. The first Redemptorist priests arrived from the United States in 1878. They were replaced the following year by Redemptorists from Belgium. The community has been the guardians of the shrine ever since. On May 5, 1887, the church was given the title of minor basilica by Pope Leo XIII.
The architecture of the Shrine of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré is inspired by the French religious architecture of the Middle Ages. It follows the roman tradition in its archways and detail, but its vast proportions and elevations lend to a more gothic style. The exterior tympanum reminds us of the great European churches. This basilica is one of the rare churches in North America that has five naves each having its own distinct vault. The elevation of the central nave includes three elements that are often seen in gothic cathedrals: large archways, a triforium and tall stained glass windows.
The Basilica’s central vault is decorated with a gleaming mosaic, created by the Auguste Labouret workshop in Paris, which portrays the life of Saint Anne. The same artist was also behind the creation of 240 magnificent stained glass windows.
The central nave finishes by a two-level apse surrounded by twelve radiating chapels, each dedicated to a different saint. These chapels open onto the vast ambulatory (walkway) surrounding the sanctuary.
Émile Brunet, over a period of 25 years, also created brilliant works of art for the Basilica, which decorate its interior but also the grounds. These works, sculpted in stone by Maurice Lord, include the Way of the Cross (interior), 88 capitals representing scenes from the life of Jesus, three tympanums and fifteen statues.
The impressive gilded bronze baldaquin that hangs above the main altar was created in 1961 by the Fabrico House. The Italian artist Franz Moroder sculpted a St. James’ shell (a traditional symbol of a pilgrim), as well as a different animal and plant at the end of each of the 260 pews.
Points of Interest
· The Basilica
It houses numerous catechetical elements of decoration: chapels, stained glass windows, capitals, mosaics and sculptures.
· The Immaculate Conception Chapel
This chapel, situated in the crypt of the Basilica, is consecrated to Mary, daughter of Saint Anne. The lighting and Marian colours create an atmosphere of serenity. A Carrara marble copy of Michael Angelo’s Pieta is placed in this chapel, as well as original artwork by Frédéric and Marius Dubois.
· A Way of the Cross with life-size statues (on the hillside)
Sculpted by Émile Roy, this Way of the Cross includes 14 stations, each with 5 life-sized statues made of bronzed cast-iron. They were installed between 1913 and 1943.
· The Memorial Chapel
This chapel is a memorial of the third church (1676-1876). In front of the chapel, there is a miraculous fountain that was built in the 1880’s, fed by a source originating from the hillside. A statue of Saint Anne, work of Louis Jobin, stands at the top of a granite column that rises from the fountain.
· The Scala Santa
The Scala Santa, built on the hillside, was inaugurated in 1891. On the second floor, it houses a replica of the Holy Stairs that Jesus ascended to face Pontius Pilate. A statue of the Immaculate Conception, work of Louis Jobin, which previously stood in front of the old Basilica, is now placed in front of the Scala Santa.
· Eucharistic celebrations, adoration, way of the cross, novena to Saint Anne
· Information booth, guided tours
· Special Events: pilgrimages by boat, annual pilgrimages for The Catholic Women’s League, First Nations, The Knights of Columbus, “Marguerites”, etc.
The Shrine is open year-round, hours vary throughout the year.
Guided tours are offered Monday to Saturday during the summer season, and year-round upon reservation for groups.
Services offered vary throughout the year. For more information, contact the Secretariat of the Shrine or consult our website: http://www.ssadb.qc.ca/en/horaires.htm
- 10018, Avenue Royale
- Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, Québec
- G0A 3C0
- Phone: 418 827-3781
- Web site: http://www.ssadb.qc.ca/