Lac Ste Anne Pilgrimage cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic

Statement of Archbishop Richard W. Smith, Archbishop of Edmonton
Regarding the Lac Ste Anne Pilgrimage 2020

In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, and following upon the counsel of the Chief Medical Officer of the Province of Alberta, the Board of Trustees of the Lac Ste Anne Pilgrimage Site today unanimously made the decision to cancel the 2020 pilgrimage.

It is the first time in living memory such a decision is taken. This is a very sad and difficult one to make, but at the same time necessary. Over the course of a few days there can be as many as 30,000 people come on pilgrimage to the Lac Ste Anne site, many of whom are elderly or of poor health. We simply cannot hold this event when we know that doing so would risk the health and possibly the life of the people who participate.

Let’s turn at this moment to Good Ste. Anne. She has a special love for us, and we for her. Our tradition of going to her in prayer when we need healing dates back generations. Let’s ask now for her intercession that this pandemic come to an end, and that God’s blessings come upon all who are ill with the virus, their families and all who care for them.

Good Ste. Anne, pray for us!

Most Reverend Richard W. Smith
Archbishop of Edmonton
Chair, Lac Ste. Anne Board of Trustees

March 31, 2020

82-year-old Alberta woman treks 429 kilometres to pilgrimage after hearing God’s call

Dene grandmother had a dream to go to Lac Ste. Anne

She finally made it.

Arm-in-arm with her son and granddaughter, Mary Agnes Herman slowly stepped into the cool waters of Lac Ste. Anne. Dipping her fingers into the water and making the sign of the cross, she began to pray.

With that, the 82-year-old completed her own pilgrimage to Lac Ste. Anne — named after Jesus’ grandmother — for the first time. Herman walked all 429 kilometres from her home in northern Alberta to be there.

“I did what I set out to do, I did it,” said Herman, who was inspired to make the three-week journey from her home in Chard, Alta. — 126 kilometres south of Fort McMurray — after God called her to Lac Ste. Anne in a dream.

Herman was one of hundreds who made the annual pilgrimage to Lac Ste. Anne, west of Edmonton, this year. The lake is renowned for its healing waters and for its spiritual significance to Catholics and Indigenous people. Herman herself is Dene.