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Travel406 is delighted to offer a bespoke tour to Montreal, Canada in the ‘Year of Saint Joseph’, as proclaimed by Pope Francis in December 2020.

Last month, our blog looked at the St Joseph’s Oratory in Quebec, a magnificent church looking over the city, and a National Historic Site of Canada. This month we are excited to share the details of a special trip to that very site, coming up in September this year.

external view of St Joseph’s Oratory, Montreal

You will begin your journey at London Heathrow Airport on 22 September 2021, taking an Air Canada flight to Montreal where you will be met and escorted to your accommodation.

Day 1 – Your first excursion will be to St Joseph’s Oratory where you will spend much of the first day, exploring the Votive Chapel, the Crypt Church (time for a moment of contemplation and prayer), the tomb of Brother André, the Basilica, the St André Bessette Chapel, the Blessed Sacrament Chapel and the Chapel of Origin. There will be free time for personal devotions and silent meditation. At 11:30 you can attend Mass (in English) in the Crypt Church. Afterwards there will be free time within the Oratory for lunch and perhaps a visit to the garden of The Way of The Cross, a wooded area close to the Basilica, for quiet relaxation and meditation. At 14:00 there will be a gathering for a final moment of prayer and a blessing.

St Joseph’s Oratory and gardens with flowers in the foreground

Day 2 – Today you will visit the ruins of St Ann’s Church in Griffintown. The area was first populated by mainly Irish immigrants in the early 19th century, centred around St Ann’s Catholic Church. The church, built on the corner of McCord Street (now Mountain Street) and Mason Street, opened in 1854. Gradually other nationalities moved into the neighbourhood and by the 1940’s the Irish were in the minority within this now diverse community. In 1962 Griffintown was re-zoned as ‘light industrial’ and major demolition began. St Ann’s Church survived until 1970 when it was torn down – it is now the site of the Parc Griffintown-St-Ann. Parts of the church’s foundations remain visible to this day, and park benches have been positioned where the pews would have been.

Day 3 – will see you visiting the Basilica of St Anne de Beaupré in Quebec. It is one of five national shrines of Canada and has been credited by the Catholic Church with many miracles of curing the sick and disabled. The site was originally donated to the Catholic Church in 1658 and a chapel was built to offer a place of worship for the new settlers arriving in the area and to house a miraculous statue of St Anne. Louis Guimont was amongst those hired to build the shrine, even though he suffered from rheumatism. After placing three stones on the shrine’s foundation he was cured of all ailments. Testimonies of other healings followed and soon pilgrims were travelling to the shrine in the hope of receiving a miracle. This inevitably led to the building being enlarged several times until a basilica was built around the shrine, opening in 1876. Unfortunately, this basilica burnt down in 1922 but was replaced in 1926 by the version we can visit today. Miracles are still believed to occur at the basilica and pilgrims who claim to have been healed often leave canes, crutches or other signs of their disability near the entrance.

Days 4 & 5 – shopping, relaxation and sight-seeing.

Day 6 – Visit to Stations of The Cross in the Gardens of St Joseph’s Oratory.

Holy statues in the garden of The Way of The Cross, St Joseph’s Oratory, Montreal

Day 7 – free time/shopping and preparation to return home. Departure 28th September Montreal/Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport, arriving London Heathrow 29th September.

The cost of this wonderful trip is £1240 per person and includes all taxes, coach transfers and excursion entrance fees. If Covid regulations prevent international travel you will receive a full refund.

You will be accompanied by a spiritual director on the tour. For the men in the Guild of St Joseph, you are most welcome to travel with your spouse.