The 2019 Pilgrimage season is at its end at Saint Anne's Shrine. We started amidst cold and wet weather in the spring which negatively impacted our collections. The brutal heat managed to arrive in July with one Sunday hitting a heat index of 103 degrees. I am constantly amazed each year as to how cold and hot Isle La Motte can be from season to season. Despite the inconsistent weather, the season was full of activities with many guests making pilgrimage to the Shrine.
The 5-Day Directed Silent Retreat had a record number of participants this year. The weekly reflection series had very good attendance too. Bishop Terry LaValley of Ogdensburg and the NY State Knights of Columbus had another great visit for their annual pilgrimage. I especially enjoyed their homemade Michigan sauce on hot dogs! We hosted the Diocese of Burlington for a family day celebration with Bishop Christopher Coyne celebrating a mid-day liturgy. We had a team of staff and volunteers to serve a bountiful cookout of hamburgers, hot dogs and various salads. We had perfect weather for these gatherings and all had a grand time enjoying Christian fellowship with one another.
We were also blessed by the generosity of benefactors who donated funds to acquire two new statues: St. Stephen, the first martyr of the Church and St. Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Native American to be canonized a saint. St. Kateri was known also as the “Lily of the Mohawks.” A third statue was recently ordered by another benefactor for St. Michael the Archangel which has special significance to the Society of St. Edmund due to our past ministry at Mont St. Michel in France and our continuing ministry at St. Michael’s College in Vermont. These statues enhance the devotional environment of our grounds and inspire pilgrims on their own journey of discipleship.
Closing Mass of the pilgrimage season was on October 13 followed by our traditional Harvest Dinner. We will be turning to the many items on our deferred maintenance list to complete before the winter arrives. We have a small window each year to complete outstanding items that need repair on the grounds and with buildings. I ask that you consider making a gift as we celebrate the end of another pilgrimage season. We are blessed to have served so many people this summer and in large part this is only possible with the financial support we receive from friends such as you. We invite you to also list the names of your deceased family members and friends on our prayer request form. We will remember them on All Souls Day and throughout the month of November.
Thank you for your continued generosity and as we approach the season of thanksgiving, know of my deep and sincere gratitude for your assistance.
Rev. Brian J. Cummings, S.S.E.