The St. Antthony Hermitage, Bouchette Lake, Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec, Canada

The St. Anthony hermitage of  Bouchette Lake was founded by Father Elzéar Delamarre in 1907 with the construction of a second home and a chapel dedicated to St Anthony of Padua. The place became a pilgrimage site and the abbot was building a larger chapel to accommodate the visitors. In 1925 the site was taken in care by the Capuchin Minor Brothers who built a monastery and a church dedicated to the Virgin. Today the place has also a hotel with a large dining-room with terrace overlooking the lake and an excellent gastronomic choice with local products and typical menu of the Lac St-Jean region as the famous pie called ‘tourtière’. There is also a wooden observation tower, a pedestrian path, a souvenir shop, a bakery, a camping area with parking for trailers and the warm welcome of the Brothers and staff who make of this place a beautiful option for a relaxing holiday, solo, with family, friends or couples. To see: the St. Anthony of Padua chapel (neo-Gothic country), the frescoes of the Quebec painter Charles Huot, the monastery (neo-Romanesque), the Marian Chapel, among others and of course the natural environment that is really beautiful!

Tips

You can book your accommodation with or without breakfast but it is good to take it even as the supper cause the site is in nature and there are no restaurants very near.

You have a small beach nearby, on the way to the village, and there are some games for children on the site next to the lake.

Taste the bread and buns baked at the bakery on site, it’s worth it.

There are many activities around Lac St-Jean; so staying at the monastery would be economical and comfortable to come and visit the area.

The hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso, Leggiuno, Varese, Italy

The hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso is a monastery built overlooking the eastern shore of Lake Maggiore in Leggiuno, Varese. The construction of the complex is from the twelfth century; Alberto Besozzi of Arolo, dealer and lender, survivor of a shipwreck during a lake crossing, vowed to St. Catherine of Alexandria to settle there for the rest of his life in prayer and solitude in a cave on this stretch of coast. He built a chapel to the saint that we can still see at the back of the church. The relics of Blessed Albert, are inside the church. In the fourteenth century there was the construction of two churches dedicated to St Mary and San Nicolas, which were added to the complex. On the church’s facade, we find four arches that are the remains of a fresco cycle and, seen from the lake, there is the bell tower of the fourteenth century. The oldest part is the chapel from 1195, located at a lower level compared to other parts of the church, which took the size of the tomb of St. Catherine in the Sinai and on the outside, near the window there are some pictures of the transfer of the body of the saint (by the angels) at Mount Sinai. The complex is considered a national monument since 1914. It was restored and reopened in eighty years. It is currently supported by some Benedictine Oblates. The present church has five parts, initially separated, are now they’re four chapels, while the fifth is the chapel where lies Alberto Besozzi. The church is covered with many beautiful frescoes. There is also an organ and a statue of the Virgin and Child (seventeenth century). The hermitage is accessible by foot through a staircase that connects the Quicchio on one side, small group of houses, with parking for cars and a place to eat something, with the other, recently completed, that gives service from the navigation of Lago Maggiore.

Tips

If you can not take the stairs, there is a lift ($), built into the rock, which brings you to the church.
The place is very nice for a walk and to take wonderful photos of its beautiful surroundings.
In summer, there is a direct bus from Laveno. The nearest train station is Sangiano on the Luino-Milan line (3km). You can also reach the place with the lake navigation service.

 

Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, Rigaud, Quebec, Canada

The Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes is a place of pilgrimage situated in the hillside of Rigaud, in a green natural area; dedicated to the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception. This place recalls the apparitions of the Virgin Mary to Bernadette Soubirous in 1858, at Lourdes in France. Brother Ludger Pauzé is the person who placed a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes on the hill in 1874 and he, his superior, François-Xavier Chouinard, as well as professors and students came fervent pray to the Virgin with him. From there, the place is visited by pilgrims from different countries. There is a team of religious, volunteers and staff to welcome the people. There is a central chapel, the cave with the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes and a small chapel at the top. The sanctuary is at the end of Lourdes street at the foot of the hill.

Tips

For service schedules, it’s best to look on the sanctuary page. There is a Rosary every day at 16:00. If you want to spend part of the day with friends or family, you will find a place to eat and get some rest, there are toilets and mountain trails for hiking. There are two crosses situated on the hill accessed by trails. Wear comfortable shoes because you will ride through trails or long stairs.

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