St. Anne de Beaupré.
For a modern illustration of the class of miracles performed during the middle ages one need not even cross the Atlantic. Not far from the city of Quebec there stands today a shrine at which we are told may be seen evidences of the miraculous almost any time. Long ago a few Breton sailors who believed themselves lost in a storm vowed to St. Anne that if she would deliver them they would build a chapel at the spot at which their boat touched land. They were saved, and true to their promise built a modest wooden chapel.
In 1660 the chapel was rebuilt on another site and again in 1787. The foundation of the present structure was laid in 1872, and was completed in 1876 at a cost of nearly $200,000. About the year 1670 a relic of the saint was brought from the chapter of Carcassonne. We are told (Cath. W. 36 p. 87) that: "this relic is in fact a portion of the saint's finger and is vouched for by the cathedral chapter of Carcassonne, by Mgr. de Laval," etc. In 1877 another relic was brought from Rome, many valuable gifts were sent by patrons from various countries, some of whom belong to the royalty of France and Austria, and the shrine became so famous that on May 7, 1876, pope Pius IX declared St. Anne patroness of the province of Quebec. Relics of other saints are also now to be found there and (op. cit., p. 88) "the walls and sanctuary are fairly covered with crutches, hearts of gold and silver, and the like, each one telling of a belief in some cure obtained, or petition heard."
The popularity of this shrine does not seem to grow less but rather greater as the years pass. Pilgrimages are made at all times of the year and during the summer months the sick and those who have been cured come by trainloads to be cured or to render thanks for favors already received as the case may be, and the ancient prayer "Sainte Anne, Mére de la Vierge-Marie, priez pour nous" is on every tongue. The records for the year ending Oct., 1903, show that during the year some 168,000 pilgrims visited Beaupré, 1,250 of them coming from various parts of the United States. A study of several copies of the "Annales de la Bonne Sainte Anne de Beaupré" has furnished some information as to this interesting chapel as it is now.
This monthly publication given up to recording the miraculous cures which take place at the shrine and elsewhere through the help of St. Anne, and to some other matters of a more general nature, offers to its subscribers participation in the merits of the prayers, masses, communions, mortifications, works, and occupations of the fathers Redemptoristes of St. Anne de Beaupré, keepers of the venerable Sanctuary.
In the "Annales" we find recorded each month from one hundred and fifty to two hundred or more cures besides numerous material favors such as employment, protection on journeys, conversions and other spiritual and temporal blessings. Some are recorded with some detail so that it is possible to form an idea of the general nature of the cures here effected as well as the means used to this end. Among the most common means used are prayers to St. Anne, at the shrine if possible but often at the suppliant's home; pilgrimages to the shrine; promises to publish the fact of cure in the "Annales"; promise to subscribe for the same; the use of medals of St. Anne as a charm; promises to break bad habits; application of an image of St. Anne or of holy oil brought from the shrine of Beaupré.
Miracles of Healing
By Charles W. Waddle (1909)
Primitive Christian Worship