HT: Homily taken from the Shrine of St Anne deBeaupre website:
We form together a large family, the family of Good Saint Anne.
Saint Anne is our spiritual ancestor. We read in Sacred Scripture: “Now will I praise those godly people, our ancestors… Their virtues have not been forgotten…; their glory will never be blotted out…; their name lives on and on…; the assembly proclaims their praise” (Si 44:1ss). Saint Anne, our spiritual ancestor, deserves to be praised. From all eternity, God chose her to be the mother of Mary, our Blessed Mother.
Saint Anne is always represented with Mary. Mary is the glory of Saint Anne. Mary is the miracle of Saint Anne. Mary is the fruit of Saint Anne. And remember what Jesus says in the Gospel: “You can tell a tree by its fruit” (Mt 7:20). We can judge the holiness of Saint Anne by the fruit of her life, the Virgin Mary, the greatest creature who ever lived, the future Mother of God, the future Queen of angels and saints. It is in Saint Anne’s body that Mary was conceived immaculate and full of grace. Saint Anne must have been very holy for such a privilege! She gave birth to Mary, she educated Mary.
One day, Saint Anne became a grandmother, the grandmother of Jesus, our Saviour. Like all grandmothers, she must have loved tenderly her Grandson Jesus. Now that she is in Heaven with Jesus, how can Jesus refuse her anything? Saint Anne is powerful, being so close to Jesus. And not only is she powerful; she is kindness itself! She is a grandmother! We always call her ‘Good’ Saint Anne. She is the Saint of God’s tenderness.
Devotion to Good Saint Anne goes back to the beginning of the Church. We walk in the footsteps of our ancestors who loved and venerated Good Saint Anne. We too pray to her with deep confidence. We pray to her for the Church and the world, for ourselves and all suffering people, living or deceased.
Everywhere in the world, there are shrines, churches and chapels dedicated to her, in Jerusalem, in Rome, in Auray…, in each of our dioceses.
In 1658, a modest chapel was built in her honour, at Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, in Quebec, Canada. There was a first miracle: an infirm was miraculously cured. In 1661, the chapel was replaced by a church soon called The Church of Miracles. We have, in our archives, written testimonies of eyewitnesses of that time, including Father Thomas Morel, the first parish priest of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, Blessed François de Laval, the first bishop of North America, Blessed Mary of the Incarnation, a holy Sister living in Quebec City…
After the great fire of 1922, a new church was erected. The church of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré became a magnificent Basilica, a high place of faith and prayer, a capital of spiritual life, an international parish entrusted to the care of the Redemptorist Community. This is God’s Providence. A million and a half people come every year, from all continents. They are young and old, sick and healthy, rich and poor, Catholics and non-Christians. All are welcome. All share fraternally as they pray, like members of the same family. They thank Saint Anne for graces received, for better health, for financial assistance, for happiness in their family, above all for conversion, interior peace and greater love for Jesus.
They also pray downstairs near the tomb of Venerable Alfred Pampalon, a young Redemptorist priest who, after a holy life, died at Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré. He is the Patron of alcoholics and drug addicts. He obtained the cure and liberation of hundreds of people enslaved by their addiction.
Pilgrims who come to the Shrine return home with renewed courage. They resume their life pilgrimage to the great Basilica of Heaven. They move in the right direction, no longer anxious to eat the fast food of sinful pleasures, remembering what is essential in life, their eternal salvation.
We are united to such pilgrims as we pray to Good Saint Anne privately or during Holy Mass. Jesus says to each one of us in the Gospel: “Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28). Let us go to Jesus, in the company of our beloved Saint Anne.
There is so much suffering in our life, physical suffering and moral suffering. The Lord “gives strength to the wearied, he strengthens the powerless” (ls 40:29). If we implore Saint Anne to intercede on our behalf, she will do so.
More than anything else, we should strive to do God’s will. We should unite our sufferings to Jesus’ sufferings to give them an eternal value. Stay peaceful. If you do not get a cure, Our Lord will give you courage and consolation. He will not forsake you.
Does he not remain with us always? He is our companion during our life on earth. He is alive and he loves us. He loves you!
One day, we will be with him, enjoying eternal happiness. One day, we will be with our sweet Mother, the Virgin Mary. One day, we will enjoy the loving presence of our dear protectress, Good Saint Anne.
We keep praying for our intentions. We pray for one another.
We say in our heart: “Good Saint Anne, intercede on our behalf! Good Saint Anne, be blessed forever! We love you!” Amen.