Sunday, 14 July 2013

Ste. Anne de Beaupre

Last weekend I visited the Ste. Anne de Beaupre Basilica.  I spent a couple hours there on Saturday, and returned on Sunday morning for mass.

It was moving.  There is so much to see and so many invitations for prayer and reflection.  It is hard to describe the experience without sounding evangelical, but even an atheist would find an indescribable serenity, beauty and truth at this place.  I prayed a lot.  The Santa Scala.  The Stations of the Cross.  The statues of Saints.  The mosaics and murals.  Sitting on a park bench watching the wind in the trees, listening to the Stations of the Cross being recited and sung by a young priest.  I was so glad I went alone and uncluttered - it allowed me the opportunity to linger.  My cup was filled.

If you ever do go, although impressive just to see, the basilica can be better appreciated with a guided tour.  Every window, mural, and mosaic has meaning and significance.  The time and gifts were used to create the space awe-inspiring.

When I took the kids the next day, Nevin really soaked it up.  His eyes were wide and he kept asking his sister to slow down.  There is this steep hill that he wanted to climb to see the view from the top.  The easiest way takes you past the Stations of the Cross.  Somewhere along the way, he started asking about the statues.  This place draws you in.  We ended up going stopping at all the Stations and talking about what was happening and how the people in the scene must have felt.  At the last station, when I told him it was the end and Jesus died, he responded, "Oh!  Don't worry, Mommy.  He comes alive again on Easter."  (Who knew?  I guess he is paying attention at mass when he's humming his Hot Wheels around the pew.)

When we got back to the hotel both kids were excited to tell Shawn about their experience.  Nevin's highlight, besides how short mass was ("Mom, it wasn't like at home at all... it was waaaay shorter!"), was that it was big enough for two masses to be going on at the same time and the English mass was in the basement.  Nose-scrunching, mind-blowing news for a four-year-old, I guess.  Scarlett's experience would be much more profound if she were any older: when Shawn opened the door, she opened her eyes wide and exclaimed, "me saw JEEDSUS!"

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