Well, technically we didn’t visit Jesus’ grandmother….we visited part of her forearm. Today Fr. Stephen and I made a pilgrimage to the shrine of Saint-Anne-de-Beaupré, the oldest pilgrimage site in North America. Saint Anne, apart from being Mary’s mother (and therefore the grandmother of Jesus), is also the patron saint of Quebec. The shrine itself centres on a stunning basilica with a beautiful way of the cross set into the adjacent hillside. It really is magnificent.
We began our day with a guided tour of the basilica itself. Unfortunately, we wound up with a tour guide who seemed very tense, constantly making strange remarks during the tour that really distracted from the spirituality of the visit. Fr. Stephen and I then walked around the grounds praying the rosary, and making a visit to the local house of the Community of the Beatitudes. We closed our day by concelebrating the English mass at 3:15 pm in the upper church.
The forearm comment, by the way, refers to the major relic of St. Anne donated to the shrine by Blessed John XXIII. I wonder how we know that the relic is really from St. Anne — we don’t know that much about her, given that she is only mentioned in texts outside of the Bible. In general, though, I trust the piety of the faithful, especially when it is approved by the Magisterium. Good Saint Anne, pray for us!