Our Lady of the Cape

Our Lady of the Cape (Notre-Dame-du-Cap in French) is a title given to Mary the Mother of God in Cap-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec Canada. The title refers specifically to a statue of the Blessed Mother, which is currently located in the Old Shrine. 


Deep Marian Devotion existed in Cap-de-la-Madeleine since 1694 with the Brotherhood of the Rosary institution under Father Paul Vachon. 1720 Father Vachon built a small fieldstone church to replace an earlier wooden structure. Father Vachon died in 1729 and was buried in the church. Without a resident pastor, the parish fell into decline. It was not until 1845 that the Bishop appointed Fr. Leandre Tourigny as the settlement's resident priest.

In 1867, devotion to Mary was revived under Father Luc Desilets. After he had been deeply disappointed seeing a pig from nearby farms inside the church chewing a rosary left by some pilgrim, Fr. Desilets vowed to consecrate himself to the Blessed Virgin and re-introduce the rosary devotion to his parishioner.


In 1854, parishioner Zepherin Dorval was heading for the gold fields and, in the hope of the protection of the Blessed Virgin, donated a statue which depicts Mary as she is said to have appeared to Catherine Laboure in Paris in 1830.

The statue represents Our Lady standing in an attitude reminiscent of the Miraculous Medal. The eyes are modestly downcast; the facial expression pleasant. Her head is covered with a white veil; her garments are gilded and ornamented. Her bare feet crush the serpent coiled on the top of a star-studded globe. The statue was initially placed in an alcove containing the altar of the Confraternities of the Holy Rosary before being relocated to above the main altar.

La basilique Notre-Dame-du-Cap est une église située au Cap-de-la-Madeleine, un secteur de Trois-Rivières au Québec. Elle est dédiée à la Vierge Marie et accueille chaque année des milliers de pèlerins et visiteurs. Elle a été élevée au rang de basilique mineure en 1954. Elle a été désignée comme l'un des cinq sanctuaires nationaux du Canada par la Conférence des évêques catholiques du Canada. 

Dès le début du xxe siècle, de nombreux pèlerinages commencent à cheminer vers le sanctuaire Notre-Dame-du-Cap, principalement en provenance du Canada et des États-Unis.

Les participants au pèlerinage dédié à Marie-Reine-du-Canada, créé en 2003, parcourent notamment 100 km à pied en trois jours de Saint-Joseph-de-Lanoraie (Lanoraie), en passant par Maskinongé et Trois-Rivières, à chaque fête du Travail.

Les pèlerins dévoués à Marie-Reine-de-la-Paix convergent quant à eux chaque année à partir de plusieurs points au Québec, en arrivant le 15 août lors la fête de l'Assomption

L'appellation se rapporte à une statue de la Vierge actuellement situé dans le vieux temple. Une profonde dévotion mariale existe à Cap-de-la-Madeleine depuis 1694 avec l'institution de la Confrérie du Rosaire sous la gouverne du Père Paul Vachon1. À la suite de la mort du Père Vachon en 1729, il y a une baisse de dévotion qui s’échelonne sur une période de 115 ans, jusqu'à ce que la dévotion à Marie soit reconstituée en vertu des travaux du Frère Luc Désilets en 1867. Après avoir vu un cochon tenant un chapelet dans sa bouche, Frère Désilets décide alors de se consacrer à la Sainte Vierge et de rétablir sa dévotion.

La chapelle d'origine date de 1717 (les travaux se déploient sur 3 ans jusqu'en 1720) ; la permission de construire est obtenue en 1714.

À partir de la fin du xixe siècle, l'église est devenue un lieu de pèlerinage mariale important où des milliers de Québécois et d'Américains viennent prier la Vierge. La troisième église devient trop petite au milieu du xxe siècle. On décide alors de la démolir et de construire un nouveau temple sur un terrain adjacent. La nouvelle église a une capacité de 1 600 places. Elle a été construite entre 1954 et 1965 selon les plans de l'architecte Adrien Dufresne (1904-1983). Il s'inspire des œuvres de son mentor, le moine-architecte Dom Bellot. Elle est desservie par les oblats de Marie-Immaculée.

The Miracle of the Ice Bridge

During Fr. Desilets' revival of Marian devotion, the number of people attending the parish church began to increase until the church was no longer large enough to hold the parishioners. In 1878, it was decided that a larger church was needed and that it would be built with stones from the opposite side of the St. Lawrence River, which is approximately 1 14 miles across at Cap-de-la-Madeleine. The decision was made to bring the stones across the river on sleds once it had frozen in the winter. Unfortunately, the 1878-1879 winter was unusually mild, and the St. Lawrence did not freeze over as planned. This seemed to hinder plans for the construction of the new church. Fr. Desilets instructed his congregation to pray the rosary to obtain ice to cross the river; he also promised Mary that if she interceded, he would dedicate the Old Church (then dedicated to Mary Magdalene) to her instead. In March 1879, pieces of ice floated downstream from Lake St-Pierre, forming a "bridge" across the St. Lawrence River, and this miracle was attributed to the intercession of the Blessed Mother. This bridge was called the Rosary Bridge due to its connection with the prayer of the same name. For several days, the parishioners poured water on the ice pieces to thicken the ice and form a path, which they then used to transport the stones across the river. Fr. Desilets upheld his promise and renamed the old church.

On June 22, 1888, the old stone church was formally dedicated to Our Lady, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and Dorval's statue was ceremoniously relocated from the alcove to above the altar. That evening, while praying in the small church, Father Desilets, Franciscan friar Father Frédéric Janssoone O.F.M, and a parishioner, Pierre Lacroix, all seemed to see the statue open its eyes. This impression continued for five or ten minutes while the two priests moved about the church to view the statue from different perspectives to test whether this was an optical illusion.

When word circulated of this unusual occurrence, the incidents of pilgrimages increased. Beginning in 1892, there were reports of cures.


On 12 October 1904, Pope Pius X granted a canonical coronation for the statue, carried out by Bishop François-Xavier Cloutier. The "shamrock-girdled crown" was provided by the Irish community of Montreal. The image received a second coronation on 15 August 1954 by Cardinal Valerio Valeri, representing Pope Pius XII. Pope John Paul II stopped there in 1984 during a visit to Quebec. This inaugurated a tradition of annual pilgrimages for young people, known as Cap-Jeunesse.

There are many pilgrimages to the shrine, including hundreds by bus from Canada and the United States. At the end of July, members of the Quebec Italian community stop at the basilica en route to Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré for the feast of St Anne on July 26.

The Marie Reine de la Paix pilgrims converge yearly from several points in Quebec, arriving on August 15, the Feast of the Assumption. Some travel on foot the 150 km from Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré. Celebrations include torchlight processions and masses, and hymns in Creole for pilgrims from the Haitian community.

Participants in the Marie Reine Canada pilgrimage, established in 2003, travel 100 km on foot in three days from St.-Joseph-de-Lanoraie (Lanoraie, Quebec) through Maskinongé and Trois-Rivières every Labour Day weekend.

All Holy Mary and Prayer images were sent to Eric Michel by Dennis and Angelina Girard, and The Rosary Confraternity Rosary Bridge.



Shalom World captures Dennis and Angelina Girard's "Cape" story to date

Inscrivez-vous à la Confraternité "ICI" / Enrol in the Confraternity "HERE" 

Bishop Scott McCaig, CC - Enroll in the Rosary Confraternity

On stage, the Heralds of the Gospel

Blessed Frederic and Our Lady of the Cape, Bob and Penny Lord Ministry

Marian Consecration: True Devotion for the Little Ones