Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 4, 2008
Sask. shrine honours Our Lady of Lourdes
The faithful have pleaded intercessions at this site for 129 years
Our Lady of Lourdes – February 11
By TED FITZGERALD
A number of miraculous cures have been associated with prayers offered there.
Brother Piquet constructed a grotto near the spring and, encouraged by Father Fourmond, began to attract people to pray at the site. A picture of Our Lady of Lourdes was later replaced by a statue to become a part of the little shrine. Over the years, a number of miraculous cures have been associated with prayers offered there.
Sadly, the serenity of the riverside village and its growing mission was permanently shattered when an armed confrontation at Duck Lake on March 18, 1885 triggered the Northwest Rebellion and led to the defeat of the Metis inhabitants by the army at Batoche.
Many residents fled or joined the resistance, while the area clergy were arrested and the FCJ sisters took refuge in the Batoche rectory.
The battle ended with the surrender of Metis leader Louis Riel and the dispersal of the local people.
The St. Laurent mission and church were saved from being torched by the rebels by the heroic actions of Baptiste Hamelin.
St. Laurent settlement was decimated. Some of the residents came to repose in the village cemetery, the results of the deadly Duck Lake encounter. The newly arrived sisters, following their release from virtual captivity, found a new home in far-off Calgary and other residents drifted elsewhere.
One thing endured however, and the devotion to Our Lady at her Saskatchewan shrine continued and has persisted for these many years. The old log chapel was replaced by a replica after its destruction by fire in 1990 and the site is faithfully maintained by volunteers who came from as far away as Prince Albert with equipment and supplies to ensure the attractiveness of the site.
The grotto, enlarged and altered several times over the years, continues to attract pilgrims to seek the intercession of Our Lady of Lourdes - the Immaculate Conception.
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