Look with love
On the banks of the great river…
These words taken from a song of old, addressed to Our-Lady of the Cape, are always suitable for grasping the greatness of the Sanctuary of Our-Lady of the Cape. The majestic St-Lawrence river from which was born the whole history of the Sanctuary is talking to us about the wealth of the grace of God offered within this blessed place since its establishment by the Jesuits in 1651. Through this powerful waterway came the missionaries who were going to bless that land with the blood of the martyrs. On that river, finally, an ice bridge obtained through the prayer of the rosary, in the Spring of 1879, showed the sign that the Virgin wished to see a Shrine be erected among us. A bridge could then signify that Mary herself serves as a footbridge between all of us and the Lord in order to gain many favors for us.
The Shrine of Our Lady of the Cape does represent such a place where rivers of living water are flowing, gushing from the Heart of God, particularly since the consecration of the small historical church, under the gaze of Mary, on June 22 1888. The magnificent basilica which is standing up today is recalling that prophecy of the Temple from which waters will flow in order to cleanse and bring fertility to the land! The Saint-Mary lake and the small spring that is gushing forth within the beautiful gardens are talking to us about psalm 23: “The Lord is my shepherd: in meadows of green grass, he lets me lie, to the waters of repose, he revives my soul!”
At last, within the small “historical chapel” where so many Eucharists have been celebrated since 1721, we do find the place where we feel in an inexpressible way that presence of a Mother who was already given to us at the foot of the cross. Full with goodness and compassion, valiant in her intercession of which she has so often given the proof, from generation to generation, here, on the banks of the great river!
During the pilgrimage season, the Shrine of Our-Lady of the Cape becomes the small “Canadian Lourdes”, with its candlelights procession, particularly, during which our love for Mary is sung and celebrated. At the end of the day, we are invited to deposit, before leaving the place, the whole burden of our lives and our preoccupations, within her heart full of understanding.
It’s up to you to discover this blessed place, so rich with graces, that ground of Mary that is leading to the rivers of fresh waters gushing forth from the Heart of her Son. It’s enough to stand there some day, letting oneself be caught by the mystery, in order to understand… like we would do it in other shrines of the world dedicated to the Mother of the Lord!
Father Yoland Ouellet, o.m.i.
Our Lady of the Cape Shrine
Quebec's National Shrines (Canada)