FALL 2002

SAINT ANNE'S SHRINE

A Spiritual Sanctuary in the Lake Champlain Islands

Story and photos by Dan Heath

 

chapel and open air pavilion
A view of the chapel and pavilion from the entrance to St. Anne's Shrine.

 

 

Saint Anne's Shrine combines historical and spiritual significance in one small property. Accessible by boat or car, this peaceful religious facility on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain makes a pleasant day trip from any location in the North Country.


Worship in the open air

Arriving by car, visitors immediately notice a tidy white chapel where the religious services are conducted. The chapel is open to the lake, with wide steps leading up to the altar. Numerous pews for worshippers sit under a roofed open-air pavilion. The grounds are sprinkled with several grottos and statues dedicated to religious figures, with lit candles marking the visits of petitioners.

There is a beach and wooded picnic area along the lake. A large building behind the chapel houses a cafeteria and small chapel for services during inclement weather. The combination of lake, trees, open grounds and tidy structures allows visitors to immediately relax. A sense of peace and serenity seeps from the surroundings to remove troubling thoughts from your mind.

Saint Anne's Shrine


The shrine to St. Anne surrounded by offertory candles placed by worshippers.


Bishop Louis de Goesbriand, the first Bishop of Burlington, originally acquired the property from local resident H. H. Hill in 1892. As leader of the local parish, the Reverend Joseph Kerlidou directed the efforts of local Catholics in clearing the land and building the new chapel.

Bishop de Goesbriand blessed the site during the Feast of St. Anne on July 26, 1893. St. Anne's Shrine was entrusted to its current caretakers, the Edmundite Order (link to sidebar), in 1904. They have made many improvements to the grounds during their stewardship, including overseeing construction of the present (much larger) chapel and the large cafeteria building. They also were involved in acquiring the statues of Samuel de Champlain and Our Lady of Lourdes that now grace the property.

The Edmundites

The Society of Saint Edmund developed in the middle 18th Century in response to the continued splintering of the Catholic Church. Initially roving missionaries, they organized as the Society of the Fathers and the Brothers of Saint Edmund, Oblates of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1852.

While the order helped rekindle religious fervor in the rural areas of France, they had their greatest success as educators. They were instrumental in forming the Catholic universities at Mont Saint-Michel, the College de l'Immaculee Conception in Laval, the College Saint-Michel in Chateau-Gontier and the Ecole Saint-Edme in Sens.

Witnessing the rising struggle between Church and State in France at the end of the 19th Century, the society decided to expand to North America, initially in Quebec. They were advised to seek out Burlington's Bishop de Goesbriand, who was looking for French-speaking clergy for northern Vermont. The society established roots in Keeler's Bay and Swanton, Vermont.

The Edmundites helped found Winooski's Saint Michael's College in 1904. St. Michael's was granted the authority to award college degrees in 1913, becoming the first Catholic College in Vermont awarded this power.

The Edmundites have since expanded into the southern United States, using the society's aim to provide education for the poor and minorities to bring new members to the Church.

Samuel de Champlain


 

 

 

 

 

The statue of Samuel de Champlain guards the lakeshore across the street from the chapel. It was sculpted by F. L. Weber at Expo '67 and donated to the shrine by the state of Vermont in 1968.

The lakeshore in front of the chapel is marked as the location of a landing by Samuel de Champlain in 1609. He was the first European to visit the lake and islands that bear his name. A seventeen-ton statue of the explorer identifies the spot. It was sculpted by F. L. Weber in the Vermont pavilion at Montreal's Expo '67. The state of Vermont donated the statue to the town of Isle La Motte at a dedication ceremony on July 7, 1968.

Fort Saint Anne

The property also encompasses the location of Fort Saint Anne, Vermont's oldest settlement. It was the fourth in a series of forts built by the French as they moved south from their base in Montreal. Soldiers under the command of Captain Pierre de St. Paul, Sieur de La Motte, built the fort in 1666. That same year a chapel was built within the fort. It was the first chapel in Vermont, one of the first chapels in New England, and the first Church of St. Anne in the United States. The fort was abandoned and razed by the French shortly before 1690. While it was not permanent, it is recognized as Vermont's first white settlement.

Saint Anne

Saint Anne was the mother of the Virgin Mary, and is revered by Catholics to nearly the same degree as her daughter. She has been the patron saint of the Province of Quebec since 1876. Prayers to Saint Anne have been credited with many miracles, especially at the cathedral in Sainte Anne-de-Beaupré, Quebec, located northeast of Quebec City. Both the cathedral and the shrine in Vermont display a small collection of crutches and other mobility aids abandoned upon healing while praying to Saint Anne.

Our Lady of Lourdes


 

 

 

 

 

 

The gold-leafed statue of Our Lady of Lourdes, previously located atop the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception in Burlington until fire destroyed the cathedral in 1972. The Diocese of Burlington donated the statue to the shrine in 1991.

A 15-foot gold-leaf statue of Mary, Our Lady of Lourdes, stands out among the many grottos. Previously located atop the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception in Burlington since 1904, the statue survived the fire that destroyed the cathedral in March of 1972. The statue was in storage for 19 years before it was restored and donated to St. Anne's Shrine by the Diocese of Burlington. There was a dedication ceremony on September 8, 1991.


Questions, Comments? Email me

 

 

 



Details

Facilities at the site include a campground, cafeteria, picnic tables, beach, history exhibit and a small store selling religious items and souvenirs.

To reach the shrine by car, cross Lake Champlain via the Cumberland Head ferry or the bridge to Vermont at Rouses Point.

Follow Route 2 north from the ferry or south from the bridge. Turn left onto Route 129 and follow to the causeway crossing to Isle La Motte. Follow the signs to the shrine from this location.

Call 802-928-3362 for more information.
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Season - May18 through October 18.

· Masses - Monday - Friday 11:15
Saturday - 7 p.m.
Sunday - 8:30 a.m., 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 4 p.m.

· Gift Shop open Monday through Saturday - 10 a.m. through 4 p.m.
Sunday - 10 a.m. through 5 p.m.

· Cafeteria - 10 a.m. through 2 p.m. daily

 

The Edmundites

The Society of Saint Edmund developed in the middle 18th Century in response to the continued splintering of the Catholic Church. Initially roving missionaries, they organized as the Society of the Fathers and the Brothers of Saint Edmund, Oblates of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1852.

While the order helped rekindle religious fervor in the rural areas of France, they had their greatest success as educators. They were instrumental in forming the Catholic universities at Mont Saint-Michel, the College de l'Immaculee Conception in Laval, the College Saint-Michel in Chateau-Gontier and the Ecole Saint-Edme in Sens.

Witnessing the rising struggle between Church and State in France at the end of the 19th Century, the society decided to expand to North America, initially in Quebec. They were advised to seek out Burlington's Bishop de Goesbriand, who was looking for French-speaking clergy for northern Vermont. The society established roots in Keeler's Bay and Swanton, Vermont.

The Edmundites helped found Winooski's Saint Michael's College in 1904. St. Michael's was granted the authority to award college degrees in 1913, becoming the first Catholic College in Vermont awarded this power.

The Edmundites have since expanded into the southern United States, using the society's aim to provide education for the poor and minorities to bring new members to the Church.

 

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