Thousands of pilgrims welcomed Pope Francis as he joined their annual pilgrimage to the sacred shores of Lac Ste. Anne, on Tuesday afternoon, local time. The lake called Wakamne (“Lake of God”) by the Nakota Sioux and “Lake of the Spirit” by the Cree people, is renowned for its healing waters and for its spiritual significance both to Catholics and Indigenous Peoples in Canada and Northwestern United States.
It was named after St. Anne, the mother of Mary and grandmother of Jesus, by a Quebecois Catholic missionary, who launched the pilgrimage in the late 19th century, celebrating the week of her Feast Day, on 26 July. After blessing the water of the lake and the faithful present, Pope Francis presided over a Liturgy of the Word. The Holy Father began his homily, noting that the beating of drums introducing the celebration “seems to echo the beating of the hearts” of the many pilgrims who for generations have walked together to reach this “lake of God”, seeking healing from its waters.