On July 26th, Holy Mother Church celebrated the feast of Sts. Joachim and Anne, the parents of Our Blessed Mother. Devotion to this duo has been forgotten in some areas of the world, but Catholics hold both in the highest favor, especially St. Anne.
St. Anne suffered as a Jewish woman the humiliation of being barren for many years. She is invoked by many young women to intercede in finding a husband. Both holy parents are invoked by many to aid in maintaining a holy marriage and dedication to the souls of their children.
In Québec, Canada, a magnificent building stands defiantly over the centuries named for its patroness, St. Anne, it is called the Shrine of Sainte Anne de Beaupré. Built in the Romanesque Revival style, the Basilica holds many mosaics dedicated to the beauty of the earth featuring images of flowers, birds, and more. The columns within have held over the years thousands upon thousands of crutches and other medical devices that memorialize St. Anne’s intercession for the many souls who pilgrimaged there asking for healing through her intercession.
The façade contains beautiful sculptures depicting St. Anne, St. Joachim, Our Lady, St. Joseph, St. John the Baptist, and more. The bronze doors below originally were hung at St. Joseph’s Church in Québec City but were later repurposed for the shrine.
Inside, the Basilica greets pilgrims with splendor and historical magnificence. It is impossible to not feel a sense of peace and calm when entering the grandmother of Christ’s shrine. A relic of her arm resides within the Basilica beckoning souls to come closer to her Divine Grandson.
The grounds contain a Scala Santa preceded by The Way of the Cross containing life-size bronze statues. The Scala Santa leads up into a building where a statue of the Condemned Christ sits with blood adorning his face. After the climb of the Scala Santa on the knees, His sorrowful eyes move further the soul asking for forgiveness, for intercession, or offering thanksgiving to God for favors granted.
The memorial chapel marks the donation of the land for the original Shrine of St. Anne. It was built in 1878 and was the third church dedicated in her honor. The cemetery that resides next to it received souls into its lush ground until 1930. It reminds pilgrims of the devotion that many Canadians maintained toward St. Anne.
Not far from St. Anne’s Shrine is the Église St. Joachim. This Church was built in 1779 and is considered one of the oldest in the Québec province. It is known for its dazzling gold sculptures created by François and Thomas Baillairgé.
This magnificent building, sitting not far from the Shrine of St. Anne de Beaupré, testifies to the devotion to both of these saints that Canadian Catholics held.
St. Anne’s protection was invoked by many sailors and those who pilgrimaged throughout the centuries. Devotion to both her and St. Joachim reminds us that Our Lord provided not only a mother for his children but also grandparents.
Sts. Joachim and Anne serve as wise counselors and protectors through life’s trials. Whether one is physically at sea or struggling in an emotional storm, one should ask for the intercession of these holy saints who extend their arms in love to assist their spiritual grandchildren in this pilgrimage of life.