Saint Anne and My Return to the Catholic Faith.
Why Saint Anne de-Beaupre? About three years ago I heard of the shrine of Saint Anne de-Beaupre for what I thought was the first time and it intrigued me. The name was strangely familiar and I didn't initially realize why. Well about 60 years ago, my mom and dad took their honeymoon in Canada and stopped at the shrine of St. Anne de-Beaupre. I had long forgotten this but it all came back to me recently including the stories of my dad drinking one cup of coffee after another at the famed Chateau Frontenac because it was so good- until he discovered he was being charged about 7 dollars per refill! Well, it all the memories did come back to me and the stories my mom told me about the eye patches and crutches and canes left at the shrine as people had received physical healing through the intercession of St. Anne. Sadly, I couldn't ask my parents about it because they have been long passed away and never lived to see me come back to the Catholic faith, though I am convinced they are well aware, and have played a part in it by their prayers from heaven directly to the Father.
So I toyed with the idea of getting up there but have never made it, until this past week. I had extra vacation time to use so Deborah got on the internet, and planned our pilgrimage to St. Anne de-Beaupre.
As we approached the little town of Beaupre on the Saint Lawrence, I suddenly saw the two great spires reaching up towards the sky. As we got closer I could make out the golden statue of St. Anne holding her daughter, Mary. I never saw a structure so beautiful and huge. I felt a little like Dorothy and the Scarecrow as they approached the Castle in the Wizard of Oz! (Except we weren't scared, but were filled with joy and expectation)
My heart was in my throat as we walked inside the basilica and I suddenly felt my parents with me. I was walking in the same footsteps they trod 60 years before. As I stared at the crutches, canes and prosthetics each representing a touch from God, I remembered my mom's stories and could barely keep from weeping. Then it all came together for me: I suddenly realized, I came back to the Catholic Church at the parish of St. Anne's in Emmaus, Pennsylvania 7 years ago. I believe that 60 years ago with a hearts full of faith, hope and love, my newlywed parents asked St. Anne to intercede for them that they would raise a faithful Christian family. Though sadly, things unraveled quickly in my parent's life due to alcohol and mental illness, God still heard their prayers and the prayers of Saint Anne as I stood in the same spot, as an answer to their prayers, 60 years later!