My friend Jennifer has been orgainizing the Legion of Mary Pilgrimage to our Lady of the Cape and Saint Anne de Beaupre for the past three years. This year's pilgrimage, which took place during the first weekend in August, was a wonderful occasion, and so abounding in God's blessings and Grace, that I want to share the weekend with you. Below is the transcript of Jennifer's summary that she wrote for the Senatus of Ontario.
IN MEMORY OF BROTHER TONY CORRIGAN (1931-2008)
LEGION OF MARY PILGRIMAGE 1-3 August 2009
The 2009 pilgrimage of the Legion of Mary, Senatus of Ontario
http://sites.google.com/site/legionofmarysenatusofontario/ was held in memory of Brother Tony Corrigan. Br Tony was a long time legionary and dedicated pilgrim who died in Kingston, Ontario on 15th August 2008, the feast of our Lady of the Assumption, just eleven days following his return from the 2008 pilgrimage.
On Saturday 1st August, 2009, three buses carrying 141 pilgrims, including Father Anthony Hannon the Spiritual Director for the Senatus of Ontario departed the Ottawa Diocesan Centre en route the Shrines of the Sacred Heart in Montreal http://www.gcatholic.com/churches/montreal-reparation/index.htm , our Lady of the Cape in Trois Rivieres http://www.sanctuaire-ndc.ca/ , St. Anne de Beaupre in Quebec City http://www.ssadb.qc.ca/en/index.htm and the Shrine of Blessed Father Frederic in Trois Rivieres http://www.ofsnational.ca/easterncanada/frederic.html . For the 63rd consecutive year, the Legion of Mary pilgrimage was completed and is considered very successful!
I wish to extend my heartfelt thanks to the bus supervisors, Marilyn Montminy, Anne Stewart, Leslie Anne Juneau (who filled in for Wayne Smith) and Maureen Ward who filled in for Leslie Anne for the trip to St. Anne de Beaupre. Although Wayne was unable to attend this year he dedicated many hours to receiving pilgrim enquiries and collecting their payments. The bus supervisors spend many hours answering enquiries, mailing information, collecting money and that is only the beginning of their work. The real work starts on the first day of the pilgrimage as they meet 46 pilgrims who are intent on finding their favoured seat on the bus. Without the dedication of bus supervisors, the pilgrimage could not unfold with the proficiency that it does. As customary, forty eight hours prior to departure there were some last minute surprises. Fortunately there was a waiting list and with a few adjustments, vacancies were short lived. This year there were broken bones, a serious viral illness, a funeral to attend, a dental emergency, and a car accident; even Father Hannon almost had to cancel due to scheduling problems.
Before departing, Father Hannon boarded each bus to pray over the pilgrims and the bus driver and then to bless all on board. I always wonder how our faith and prayerful journeys impact the drivers. Throughout the three days, bus supervisors include the driver in prayer intentions. The first order of business, after departure, is to recite the rosary, imploring Our Blessed Mother to protect us as we travel to the shrines in Quebec. Hymns are sung where we praise and worship God and honour Our Blessed Mother Mary. Videos are also viewed while en route; this year all pilgrims saw the latest Legion video: Meet the Legion. Pro life movies ‘Bella’ and the beautiful in utero development story ‘Baby Steps’ were included in the on board entertainment. The pamphlet “Why I love the Legion” is distributed to non legion pilgrims. The annual pilgrimage is an opportunity to promote membership in the Legion of Mary and to evangelize. I believe Frank Duff would agree that the pilgrimage is a great form of Legion work.
The first stop was at the Shrine of the Sacred Heart in Montreal where we were met by Father Manuel. We remained at this shrine where we enjoyed lunch on the grounds. Some lucky pilgrims shared home baked carrots muffins prepared early on the morning of departure by Sister Dorothy Harris (Morning Star Praesidium) who will celebrate her 93rd birthday this month and 77 years as a legion member.
The Shrine of the Sacred Heart is nestled in Montreal and provides a setting of serenity and beauty. The outdoor Stations of the Cross, the Scala Santa with its magnificent carving of the Last Supper, the Grotto of Lourdes and the Padre-Pio Chapel are just a few of the sacred places to visit on the grounds.
When we arrived in Trois Rivieres, the staff at the Madonna Hotel at Our Lady of the Cape greeted us and made our arrival seem like a blessing. Both Father Oulette and Father Dunston welcomed us to the Cape. It was very special that Father Hannon was with us as we were met by Fathers Oulette and Dunston. After checking baggage into our cozy rooms, we gathered for Mary’s outdoor Stations of the Cross, led by the faithful Mrs. Burns. During dinner, fellow pilgrim friends from Bellville, Ontario arrived and old friendships were renewed. A special mention is made that Maureen Ward’s uncle Frank Maloney and his wife Patricia are faithful pilgrims with the Bellville group. Maureen’s uncle is increasingly becoming “Uncle Frank” to many Legion of Mary pilgrims.
Following the opportunity to receive the sacrament of reconciliation, and to attend mass on Saturday evening, we experienced the beautiful and sacred candlelight procession at the Cape. Dorothy Harris, although not able to walk in the procession can always be spotted wearing a gorgeous hat and singing from a bench along the route. Ceremonially, I take the honour of giving my candle to Dorothy and asking her to wait until her friends from Morning Star Praesidium meet her for the stroll back to the Madonna Hotel. Once back at the hotel, a good nights’ rest followed and prepared the pilgrims for an early Sunday morning start.
Following Sunday morning mass, most pilgrims boarded buses and travelled to St. Anne d’Beaupre. This is always a special place to honour St. Anne, our heavenly grandmother. This shrine, now over 350 years old is a very special place for many pilgrims. Amongst my friends, I am aware of two miracles that happened at St. Anne de Beaupre. Whilst at the Shrine, I lit candles of thanksgiving for both friends. Construction traffic on the return trip slowed us down somewhat but supper was still waiting for us upon our return at the Cape. The delay was seen as an opportunity to pray, to sing, to sing more and to view movies.
After dinner, a huge number of pilgrims gathered in the magnificent Basilica for adoration; we were led in prayerful song by Father Oulette. Once again the evening was adorned with our second candle light procession. It is worthy to note that rain held off until late evening with pilgrims safely back at the Madonna Hotel.
On Monday morning Father Oulette met with us and introduced Father De lafontaine, the new director of Our Lady of the Cape Shrine. Father welcomed the pilgrims; he thanked us for coming and reminded us of the importance of our presence at the shrine. Father Oulette and Mrs. Burns briefed us on the history of the Cape and we viewed an historic video depicting the history of the Cape. Just before morning mass, a group photo (enclosure) was taken with pilgrims in the sanctuary of the old chapel where Our Lady of the Cape smiles on us. http://sites.google.com/site/legionofmarysenatusofontario/Home/pilgrimage-to-our-lady-of-the-cape-2009 Mass was celebrated by Father Dunstan. Prior to departure a healing service was held in the old chapel. During the service the Blessed Sacrament was exposed, we sang hymns of praise and each pilgrim was individually blessed by either Father Oulette or Father Dunstan. Soon after the healing service pilgrims boarded buses and departed for the Shrine of Blessed Father Frederic.
Again this year, were blessed that M. Jean Normandin, a long time friend of Our Lady of the Cape accompanied us to Trois Rivieres to the church where the body of Blessed Father Frederic is resting. Jean recounted many interesting facts about Blessed Father Frederic and shared how he has been present and involved at significant events related to Father Frederic’s history. Thanks to Jean, pilgrims had the opportunity to reverence the tomb and a first class relic of Blessed Father Frederic. We are indebted to Jean for taking his time to accompany the Legion of Mary pilgrims to the tomb of Blessed Father Ferderic and to share information about the life of this holy Priest.
The buses arrived at the Ottawa Diocesan Centre on schedule at 6:30 PM and thus the 63rd annual pilgrimage was completed. In view of this summer’s record rainfall, we were blessed that the rain we did receive over the weekend did not interfere with our outdoor activities.
Jennifer Snell, Pilgrimage Coordinator