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st anne de beaupre basilica

A Canadian Jewel: Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré Basilica

Located at the Margins of the Saint Lawrence River, the Basilica is one of the many architectural pearls of the ‘Belle Province’. 

The history of this Basilica dedicated to St. Anne began in 1658. Built in the shape of a cross, the basilica holds a Romanesque Revival style. From the floor to the top of the bell towers, it measures approximately 100 metres high. At the transept crossing, the building is about 60 metres wide and at the façade it measures 50 metres. In length, the building extends about 100 metres.

st anne de beaupre basilica
St Ann – Mother of Mary – Ste anne de beaupre Basilica- Quebec, Canada


The basilica contains the tympanum which depicts St. Anne. A long frieze showcases essential moments in the history of the devotion to St. Anne which can be seen at her feet and on either side of St. Anne. The Angel of the Pilgrim lies just above the tympanum watching over the faithful who visit the basilica of St. Anne each year. A large rose window is surrounded by the 12 Apostles just above this. The façade is decorated with statues sculpted by the Quebec sculptor, Émile Brunet including the Blessed Mother Mary, St. Joseph, St. Joachim, St. John the Baptist, Bishop François de Laval and St. Mary of the Incarnation.

st anne de beaupre basilica
Statue of St Anne, mother of the Virgin Mary. St Anne de Beaupre basilica, Canada

Copper Doors

The Basilica’s main copper doors are hand-made and depict scenes of Jesus’ life. The art was originally hanging on St. Joseph’s Church in Quebec City back in the 1950’s and was created by the exceptional artist, Albert Gilles. It took 12 months of laborious work to create the three double doors alone. In 2003, when the church closed, Albert’s masterpiece was sent to St. Anne de Beaupré Basilica which benefitted many pilgrims and visitors.

Statue of St. Anne

Between the two bell towers, at the peak, is found the statue of St. Anne from the first basilica. It was spared from the destruction of a fire in the first basilica that took place in 1922.

st anne de beaupre basilica
Reliquary with the arm of St Anne, Mother of the Virgin Mary. St Anne de beaupre basilica

Immaculate Conception Chapel

On the lower floor of the Basilica, a beautiful chapel dedicated to Mary, the Immaculate Conception, holds a special place as she is the daughter of St. Anne. Paintings by Frédéric Doyon and Marius Dubois are present amidst the Romanesque architecture. There are 176 small mosaics of birds, flowers, and butterflies which are capitals for the columns. These give glory to the generous God who created all these beautiful things out of love for humanity.

side Chapel. St Anne de Beaupre basilica, Canada

Ambulatory Chapels

Surrounding the Sanctuary are beautifully decorated Chapels which were built before the Second Vatican Council. At this time, each Priest would celebrate daily Mass alone. A large mosaic illustrates the history of the Eucharist in the Church which lies above all the Chapels. Above the 10 Chapels, this mosaic extends around the Sanctuary like a crown. Each of these Chapels is dedicated to a different Saint who significantly impacted the Catholic Church.

Scala Santa

The staircase that Jesus ascended to Pilate’s praetorium is called the “Scala Santa”. This reminds pilgrims and visitors of the Passion of the Lord. The staircase still exists and is venerated in Rome. It has become more customary to build staircases the replicate this Scala Santa which is sanctified by the footsteps of the Saviour. In 1891, the first monument of this type in America was created. A souvenir from different shrines in the Holy Land was inserted at each of the staircase’s risers. The Holy Stairs are located on the second floor of the building.

Memorial Chapel

On the grounds of the Basilica, there is a souvenir of the third church which pilgrims travelled to from 1676 to 1876. The Memorial Chapel, built in 1878, is set on the foundation of the third church. The construction of the Memorial Chapel used material, décor and the steeple from the old church. On the top of the steeple is a rooster weather vane which symbolizes Peter’s denial as a follower of Christ. There is also a cemetery adjacent to the Chapel where parishioners were buried until 1930.

Way of the Cross

On the hill, fourteen stations depict the Way of the Cross, which are different moments from the Passion of Jesus. Each station includes five persons in bronze which was cast in the workshops in Vaucouleurs, France. Construction of the Way of the Cross took place between 1913 to 1945.

St. Anne’s Fountain

A beautiful fountain welcomes pilgrims in front of the basilica. It was installed in 2008 to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the Shrine. It reaches a height of 10 meters where water flows over a bronze basin which is 4 metres in diameter. A statue of St. Anne and her daughter, Mary, are present at the summit. A Canadian sculptor, Mr. Émile Brunet created this statue, representing St. Anne teaching Mary with a scroll which reads: “Caritas”, translated to Charity in Latin. The sculptor explained St. Anne’s expression is one of “meekness and kindness.” He explained how St. Anne would be about 45 years of age and the Virgin would be 3 years of age.

St Ann - St Anne de Beaupre Shrine - Quebec, Canada
St Ann – St Anne de Beaupre Shrine – Quebec, Canada

In 1958, Émile stated: “Since Saint Anne’s statue will be set up in Canada, I thought the Canadian spirit would require a crown of maple leaves to be made as a tribute to Saint Anne and the Holy Virgin.”

St Anne de Beaupre Shrine - Quebec, Canada
St Anne de Beaupre Shrine – Quebec, Canada


Tips for Getting There

The Shrine is about 34 km from the center of Quebec City, the train and bus stations.

It is about 49 km from the airport.

Address 10 018 avenue Royale – Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré (QC) –Canada- G0A 3C0

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Zephania Gangl

Zephania Gangl is a young writer from Schomberg, Ontario specializing in pilgrimages and travel destinations.
Zephania studies Human Biology and Christianity & Culture at the University of Toronto. You can reach her at

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