Saturday, April 18th
Good morning. Good morning.
Today I would like to devote this letter to the wonderful people involved with the apostolate of teaching the kids in the parish. They set the parish like a jewel with many facets. They include those in the parish CCD program, Chrsm Program, Good Shepherd, Atrium, and independent home school educators. The dedication for this day started with a conversation I had a number of weeks ago with Miss Celine Willard when she and I met up in the CCD office. The question at hand involved the name she was going to select for Confirmation. She mentioned several options, one being St. Anne. She found a relic of St. Anne in her backpack and was curious on its significance. With that question Celine became the representative of all the kids in the parish programs. With her our story begins.
In the fifth century with the collapsing Roman Empire the Church was far from the final throes of life. Like a massive lily She was exploding across the European Continent. Most especially in the North Western segment of France known as Brittany. The original name for the region was “Amoreca,” referring to the flat land by the sea. In the fifth century the inhabitants from North of what is now referred to as the English Channel were moving South into the flatlands of Northwestern France. It was the ideal place for the farming/agrarian life. And, it was near the sea. In the future the great fleets of France would find their ships and sailors coming from the region of Brittany. It was also a land ripe for the Faith.
As with so many many neophyte settlements opening up in the region known as Gall a great focus was set on a woman named, “Anne” as their advocate before God. St. Anne, the mother of the Blessed Mother, Mary. No surprise in that as one of the ancient legends of the Church promoted the idea that Lazarus and his two sisters, were set adrift in the Mediterranean Ocean during the Jewish persecutions taking place about four years after the Death and Resurrection of Christ. As happened they washed up on the Northern Mediterranean Coast just West of Marseilles, France. It is said, that with them they supposedly brought the relics of St. Anne.
With the social development of Northwestern France came the concrete religious formations of Churches, Monasteries and Convents. A fifth century chapel was built in Brittany, only to be destroyed by an accident in the seventh century. Despite the destruction of an icon of the community the people maintained a devotion to St. Anne. They even named the town after her, “Keranna,” the Village of Anne. Nine centuries later, in the fourteenth century, the apparitions of St. Anne started. And that is where our story begins.
St. Anne first appeared to a simple farmer. Next, she appeared to many others in the farm community. The Church investigated the witnesses and the Royal Crown, under King Louis XIII and his wife, “Anne” of Austria, investigated the apparitions. Both realms found the testimonies credible. How can you lose when the queen of France celebrates the arrival of her visiting namesake from Heaven.
Anyway, miracles of all descriptions began. The walls of the church soon filled with canes and crutches offered from those relieved of their physical maladies. The offerings are called “ex-votos,” (An offering given to fulfill a vow. We light a lamp by the statue of Mary and we make a “votive offering.”) Even today such offerings are part of the great appeal by certain members of the church to help them find a husband… “St. Anne, St. Anne. Bring me a man as fast as you can.” One popular novena follows: https://www.thebestcatholic.com/2017/06/17/novena-saint-anne-finding-husband/
Despite the French Revolution, in the later 18th century, people made pilgrimages from all over France to the Shrine of St. Anne. It was a most difficult time when the church and her people were suppressed by the revolutionary government and yet they never abandoned their great devotion to St. Anne. Time would pass as well as the revolutionary governments; statues restored, people returned, and the Church rose above the expected indomitable grave caused by the revolution. The church of the village Keranna was replaced by the great Basilica of Sainte-Anne d’Auray, seen above.
The French sailors coming to the Canadian territory known as, “New France” carried with them the great devotion to St. Anne. They built a church, now a magnificent basilica just twenty miles East of Quebec. They named it St. Anne De Beaupre. Once again St. Anne was honored as the patroness of Sailors. With them the miracles returned and, once again, the walls filled up with canes and crutches. St. Anne De Beaupre Basilica carries on the great devotion to St. Anne and is one of the five great Basilicas found in Canada.
All are invited to participate in Fr. Heisler’ coming seminar on the, “Inspiration and Interpretation in the Second Vatican Council. The seminar starts this coming Tuesday night, at 7 PM. All are welcome to once again join on line. You can reach Father Heisler’s presentation through the parish website or go directly to: https://www.gotomeet.me/StFrancisdeSales/mass-liturgyofthehours
Scott Grimard, Grand Knight of our local council, just dropped me a note calling for all men of the parish to join the Knights of Columbus. “We need all the men of the parish, more than ever, to join us to help our Parish, Families, Priests, Community, and Faith! During the “lock down” what better time to contact me about joining the Knights. My email is: email@example.com.”
Allow an added note from me. I am a Knight of Columbus. I like the Knights. I always have. In the close of the current pandemic, and there will be a close, the Knights will be needed for a tremendous strength in the restoration of the life of the parish. I heartily endorse their good work. Please consider joining. Bravo Zulu!!
Speaking of starting up a program for the parish. We need a Trail Life Program for the young men of the parish. Please call me if you are interested in setting up a group. Many thanks to one and all… Let us never stop, praying for one another.