Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 48.djvu/246

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
234
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

MIRACLES IN FRENCH CANADA.
By EDWARD FARRER.

THE village of Beaupré, on the north shore of the St. Lawrence, twenty-one miles east of Quebec, is famous as the chief seat in America of the cult of Saint Anne, mother of the Virgin Mary. About 1620 a Breton crew, struck by a tempest off the lower end of the Isle of Orleans, vowed a sanctuary to her if she would rescue them, and on being driven ashore at Beaupré, then known as Petit Cap, built her a log chapel. A large wooden church was afterward put up, and in it Laval, first Bishop of New France, whose spiritual empire was so vast that it has since been divided into seventy dioceses, deposited a piece of a finger bone of Saint Anne.[1] In 1686 a stone church was erected and remains to this day. A much more splendid edifice was completed in 1889, at a cost of half a million dollars. In 1876 Pius IX "was pleased," writes one of the Redemptorist Fathers in charge, "to declare Saint Anne patroness of the Province of Quebec, without prejudice to the title of Saint Joseph, the patron of all Canada." The present Pope has bestowed honors and privileges upon the new church, which has received more relics of the saint, including a fragment of rock from her house in Jerusalem, "from the room, indeed, wherein took place the mysteries of the Immaculate Conception."

In the grandeur of its buildings and decorations, and in the elaborate machinery employed to fire devotion and attract pilgrims, the shrine is now second to none, except perhaps those of Lourdes and La Salette. A railroad has been built from Quebec, and steamboats make connection with the Intercolonial, Quebec Central, Grand Trunk, and Canadian Pacific. Huge boarding houses and hotels offer accommodation to visitors, who can also obtain rooms in the convent of the Gray Nuns. A miracle-working spring has been discovered, and the water is sold in bottles at a depository in the church. The Redemptorists issue a monthly


  1. The Manual issued by the Redemptorists says Saint Anne was buried near Jerusalem, but her body was subsequently laid in the Church of the Sepulchre of Our Lady, in the Valley of Jehoshaphat. "One day a mysterious bark was seen to approach the shores of France. It had neither sail nor rudder, but God was its pilot. Never had the ocean borne a greater treasure. In this bark were Saint Lazarus with his two pious sisters, Saint Mary Magdalen and Saint Martha, together with several other saintly women. They were fleeing from Palestine with a number of priceless relics, the most precious among which was the hallowed body of Saint Anne. This treasure was placed in the hands of Saint Auspicius, the first Bishop of Apt." It was buried "to protect it from sacrilegious hands, and the place where it had been secreted was wholly forgotten" till, Charlemagne being at Apt one Easter day, "a miracle led to the discovery of the place."