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.


Why thousands come for the healing waters of Lac Ste. Anne

The national Globe and Mail newspaper published a wonderful piece that explains the story of why every year pilgrims travel from all over the country to pray and bathe in in the healing waters of Lac Ste. Anne. The article also features some outstanding photos by award-winning photojournalist Amber Bracken.

“At the centre of Alberta lies a small prairie lake, weedy and cloudy with dirt, the lake of many names: