Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, Quebec, constituted as a town in 1973, population 2,888 (2021 census), 2,880 (2011 census). The town has an area 62.64 km2 and is located on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River, 35 km east of Québec City. The town of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré is known worldwide for its Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, a national shrine and pilgrimage site attracting over one million visitors and pilgrims annually. On 28 July 2022, Pope Francis celebrated mass at the basilica as part of his Apostolic Journey to Canada.
In 1658 Étienne de Lessard, one of the area’s first settlers, ceded some land for the construction of the first wooden chapel dedicated to Sainte-Anne, who was especially venerated in New France. Pilgrims first began visiting the chapel during this period.
Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré
The Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré is the town’s principal attraction and religious site. The original wooden chapel, which was built too close to the river, was damaged by the tides and rebuilt in 1661 at the foot of the slope. It was replaced by a stone church in 1676. Enlarged several times, the church welcomed thousands of pilgrims for almost two centuries. The church was demolished in 1872 and replaced by the first basilica, which was destroyed by fire in 1922.
The present Roman-style basilica dates from 1926. Its treasures include sacred 18th-century vases engraved by, among others, François Ranvoyzé and Laurent Amyot and a large collection of ex-votos (see votive painting). The north chapel, built in 1878, holds several works saved from the demolition of the old church, including the steeple which had been rebuilt in 1788.
The altars were designed by Charles Vézina 1702-28. The crucifix and wooden chandeliers were sculpted by François-Noël Levasseur in 1779 (see Levasseur Family). The pulpit, put into place in 1807, shows the talents of François Baillairgé (see Baillairgé Family). L'Historial, the sanctuary museum, has 17th-and 18th-century religious paintings, including 2 attributed to Frére Luc.
In 2001, the basilica was designated a heritage building by the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec.
Cyclorama of Jerusalem
The Cyclorama of Jerusalem was another popular religious attraction in the town of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré. First on display in 1895, the cyclorama depicted the crucifixion. The cyclorama closed on 14 October 2018. Despite its closure, it was officially designated a heritage building by the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec in 2019.
On 28 July 2022, a Papal mass was celebrated at the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré. The mass was presided by Pope Francis and focused on reconciliation. The mass was part of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Journey to Canada (24–29 July 2022).