Just 18 miles (30 km) outside of Quebec City stands one of the most important pilgrimage sites of Canada and the Catholic word: the Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré Basilica. This Catholic sanctuary receives more than half a million visitors every year, which represents quite a lot of people for this modest village.
The reason why this basilica is so famous—even more so than its Montreal counterpart—is because it is credited with many miracles, especially when it comes to curing the sick and disabled. Initially built as a shrine to Sainte-Anne, the basilica, whose history goes all the way back to 1658, got its healing reputation when Louis Guimont, a local carpenter suffering from rheumatism, came to help with the construction of the first chapel and was miraculously healed after its completion.
Even nowadays, the pillars in the front entrance of the basilica are covered in crutches from people who are said by the parishioners to have been miraculously cured by Sainte-Anne, the mother of Mary and the patron saint of Quebec City.
The cross-shaped Romanesque Revival building tells the relatively mysterious history of Saint-Anne and her subsequent glorification. The stained glass evokes the saint's role as protector of the humble and the suffering. It is also home to a precious relic, which was given to the basilica by Pope John XXIII.
The Basilica is located next to a museum that hosts an impressive collection of Saint-Anne memorabilia, paintings and statues. It’s a must-do for pious visitors who are truly fascinated by the saint's history and definitely one of the most interesting day trips outside Quebec City.
The Basilica can be reached by bus or train from Gare du Palais in Quebec City. It is open daily from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm.