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Centenary celebrations of the Rosary Bridge


In 2024, at the Sanctuary, we celebrate the centenary of the Rosary Bridge. This garden monument recalls the first prodigy that made this site a sanctuary. By the 1870s, the church at Cap-de-la-Madeleine – today’s Old Shrine – had become too small for the growing parish community. To build a larger church, stones had to be collected from across the river. Transporting them would become possible, it was thought once the river froze over in the winter of 1879. But that winter was very mild. The ice didn’t form. The parishioners mobilized to pray to Mary through the rosary. They had to pray with perseverance because the ice didn’t begin to form until March 16. From March 19 to 25, the ice connected the two banks, and it was possible to transport the stones. The parishioners saw the ice bridge as Mary’s answer to their common rosary prayer.

We can do more than recall this prodigy. Like Mary, who pondered the events in her heart, we can meditate on this faith experience of our ancestors, as well as our own present-day experiences, to better see what God is accomplishing.

When we come to the Sanctuary, we come from many different backgrounds, with many different sensibilities. But the same faith or similar quests bring us together. If we come as pilgrims, we’ll hopefully experience a warm welcome. If we come occasionally, perhaps it’s a sign that we’ve found a gathering here that’s a pleasure to be part of. If we’re regulars at the Sanctuary, we may have discovered, on this site, one of the Christian communities to which we belong, not in the way of a parish, but a Christian community all the same. As we journey together, she who became the Mother of God also exercises a maternal role towards us, often in a discreet way. Bridges are being built between us.


In this sanctuary, may we experience encounters that build bridges and welcome peace. May our actions and our prayers bring this peace to our families, our communities, and even to those parts of the world that need it most.


We’ve organized many activities in french between March 16 and March 25 to comemorate the centenary of the Rosary Bridge. For more information, click here. 


Rémi Lepage, o.m.i.