Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
August 20, 2001
Pilgrims make their way to lake's sacred waters
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
LAC ST. ANNE — Dark sky, nippy weather, more than 12 hours of rain, muddy grounds and brownish lake water.
That was the condition at Lac Ste. Anne when the final blessing of the lake for this year's pilgrimage was held, July 24.
Even that did not sway people's faithfulness to their devotion.
They came with their containers and were ready to fetch water from the lake even before it was blessed by Archbishop Arth‚ Guimond of Grouard-McLennan.
Being on the pilgrimage grounds is one thing but getting the blessed water is another story.
"Watch, they will wade in the water even if it is cold and raining," Leonard Pelletier of St. Albert told WCR just before the blessing started.
The shallow water of the lake is believed by thousands to have sacred power of healing.
While Guimond was leading the people in prayer, most of the pilgrims were already in the water.
"It is difficult to explain but there is something that pulls me to come to the water during the blessing," said Vanessa Sinclair of North Battleford, Sask.
When Sinclair was four years old in 1965 her grandmother first brought her to Lac Ste. Anne and told her to be in the water while the priest gave the blessing.
"She said that it will spare us from sickness and heal us," Sinclair said.
"It doesn't matter if it's cold and raining. I need to get to the water," said Kenny Pare, 38, of Horsefly, B.C.
"The blessed water heals and I need to get some for my mom," Pare said as he tried to fill up his bottle.
Last year's final blessing was also marred by pouring rain, recalled Shirley Alexis of Winnipeg. "Nothing can stop the people from wading in the water," Alexis said. "This is what we came for."
Alexis started coming to the pilgrimage when she was five years old. "It is a sacred tradition, which is in our minds and hearts," she shared.
"I believe our children's children will keep this sacred tradition alive."
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