A very important historical and religious happening: A pilgrimage of the Diocese of Rimouski to the Holy Door of the Notre-Dame Basilica in Quebec City on September 4th, 2014. Five Daughters of Jesus were part of the trip.
This Holy Door, granted by Pope Francis, the only one in America, made in Quebec, is a reminder of the foundation of Notre Dame de Québec Parish in 1664. The official opening of this Holy Door was made on December 8th, 2013 on the feast of the Immaculate Conception and will be closed on December 28th, 2014. The founders of Quebec, Mgr de Laval and Marie de l’Incarnation, were canonised by Pope Francis in spite of the fact that they were not attributed any miracles but because of their personal union with God and of their accomplishments.
What motivated me to undertake this pilgrimage was the request made by our Archbishop, Pierre-André Fournier. I felt in solidarity with all the people leaving from their own respective parishes in the diocese. My mission was to teach the hymn: Jubilez, éclatez de joie, le Seigneur ouvre son coeur, jubilez, accueillez la foi, entrez, n’ayez pas peur.
It was a 300-kilometer trip, departure was early in the morning and the return was late at night. The positive side of this trip made up of prayer, sacrifice, love and respect touched hearts. About 400 persons in 7 buses left for Quebec on the sunny morning of September 4th.
Our first visit was to St Marie de l’Incarnation, Ursuline. We had a guided visit exposing her life, followed by the Word of God and a visit to het tomb while we sang and prayed.
We leave this holy place, trying to find our way to the Basilica. I am not all that young but still decided to go on foot in solidarity with some of the other pilgrims. It was not an easy task trying to avoid obstacles, potholes, stones along the way but we made it safely. We discovered a small garden decorated with huge posters on which were written passages of the Word of God, two stairways, a platform facing the Holy Door, smaller than the other doors. What emotion, what a surprise! An image of Jesus, extending his hand and inviting us in; I am the door of heaven, of my sheep, Door and Shepherd of love, peace, faith. On the opposite side, there is a circular picture of Mary. We pass the adoration altar with lights and candles burning and here we are in the Basilica, where we have an hour before mass to admire, read and pray. Gold decorations abound especially in the trimmings and main altar. We visit Saint François de Laval’s tomb. He was the first Bishop of Quebec. We partake in the plenary indulgence respecting the required conditions.
The organ resonates, the procession starts in a cathedral filled to capacity: the cross with the deacons, about thirty priests followed by the Bishop, the Archbishop and the Cardinal. We witness a Eucharistic celebration in all its splendour. For the occasion, the liturgy is that of Blessed Dina Bélanger, r.j.m., native of Quebec. At the end of mass, it is time for the shaking of hands, smiles, expressions of gratitude. And it is the journey back home, our hearts and spirit filled with wonderful memories of a magnificent day.
We are five Daughters of Jesus among the different groups of pilgrims to give thanks to God for the success of this pilgrimage. May our Holy Founders, Mgr de Laval and Marie de l’Incarnation rejoice in the glory of God and obtain special blessings for our American continen
Sr Marie-Marthe Pelletier, d.j.
Vice-province of Rimouski, Canada