Saint Anne Shrine

16 Church Street | Fiskdale (Sturbridge), MA 01518 

  508 347 7338 | |

     Mrs. Houde was bed-ridden with an advanced case of that disease for sixteen years. Doctors had declared that they were incapable of curing her. "God alone can free you from that disease," said Doctor Letourneau of Southbridge. Abandoned by the medical profession, she turned her complete attention to God and to Saint Anne, in whom she had great confidence. All these years she suffered great pain and crippling discomfort from her affliction. Nevertheless, people who knew her testified that she showed great faith and resignation, bringing her laments only to Saint Anne. For many years she read "The Annals of Saint Anne De Beaupre," hoping that some day her prayer would be answered.
     In spite of her infimity, Mrs. Houde, with the characteristic devotion of French-Canadian women, had her heart set on receiving Holy Communion during the Novena to Good Saint Anne. On the Sunday following the feast of Saint Anne, she insited that her family help her to Church to attend Mass. As she approached the altar rail to receive Communion, one of her shoes which was unusually large because of her ailment, slipped off. Embarrassed by the incident, she hurriedly replaced the shoe. The extraordinary character of the seemingly simple action can be properly appreciated only by those who have observed how well nigh impossible bending so low would be for an advanced dropsical patient.
     Without delay, Father Graton called upon Mrs. Houde that very afternoon and said to her: "It was a sign from Heaven. You ought to leave your shoe (as evidence of the extraordinary character of the relief). Saint Anne wishes to cure you." Mrs. Houde promised to act with greater faith if the incident should happen again. And it did happen again! 
     The following year, on the coressponding date and under similar circumstances, the incident of the shoe was repeated. This time, Mrs. Houde was wiser and her faith was rewared: she felt completely instantly cured. After Mass, her husband left the Church to get the carriage that was to take her home. She told him not to do so on her account, that she would return by herself. To the astonishment of the townspeople, she walked home, a mile away from the church! When she arrived home, her daughter wished to help her to her invalid chair, but she declared that she was cured and that an ordinary chair would do in the future.
     The news spread like wild-fire thoughout Fiskdale. In a little town such as Fiskdale, Mrs. House was well known and seem incredible that was cured. That afternoon, the people of parish, thrilled by the extraordinary favor from Heaven, spontaneously assembled in church for a procession in honor of Saint Anne. The church was filled. The pastor was there with several visiting priests. All were deeply moved as the procession was formed. Mrs. Houde took her place, lowed, praying and singing the praises of God and Saint Anne in a touching scene that since that time has been repeated every year on the wooded hill of Fiskdale.
     Mrs. Houde lived over twenty-five years  after this marvelous event, and always in perffect health. She bore eight children after her cure and was well enough to do all the exacting work of a mother of a large family. To the end she remained gratefully devoted to Saint Anne. Often, she was seen climbing the hill to the church to spend a few moments thanking Saint Anne on the spot where she was cured. A friend of the family, Mr. Leclerc once told her: "Mrs. Houde, you ought to spare yourself a little. At your age once cannot climb so steep a hill without faitgue." Mrs. Houde simply replied: "Saint Anne cured me; now I have but one desire: that is to die with her."
     One cold, windy afternoon on February 1, 1923, Mrs. Houde climbed the hill for the last time. She wished to go to confession inorder to receive Holy Communion the next day with :les Dames de Sainte Anne.: Father Paul Roy who was then pastor, heard her confession. She left the coffessional  and went to kneel before the statue of Saint Anne. Quietly she died in prayer just as she had wished at the feet of Saint Anne in the very spot where she was cured. There were people still in Fiskdale who are relative of Mrs. Houde and of her friends who were witnesses of these memorible events. They never tell without great emotion the story of their relative or friend, in whose life they saw on two occasions the power of Saint Anne's intercession.

Mrs. Jean-Baptiste Houde, nee Marie Julian, instantly cured of dropsy at Saint Anne's Shrine in 1888

     After Monsignor Brochu, Mrs. Jean-Baptiste Houde was instantly cured at Mass. Father Grraton who was the frist witness of the truly great events predicted by Monsignor Brochu. The Sunday following the feast of St. Anne and St. Joachim, in the year 1887, Mrs. Houde of Fiskdale was cured of dropsy through the intercession of Saint Anne.