An hour north of campus, the Shrine of St. Anne in
Isle La Motte, Vermont, has been a place of refuge
for pilgrims and tourists for hundreds of years. Two Saint
Michael's alumni, the late Rev. Maurice Boucher '44 and Rev. Brian
Cummings, SSE '86, have served as directors of the Shrine, which
stands on the shore of Lake Champlain on the site of a French fort
and chapel built in the 1600s dedicated to St. Anne.
The fort was soon abandoned, but 200 years later the local
parish purchased the land and a new chapel and shrine were
completed in 1893. For decades,
the Shrine received thousands of
visitors a summer.
In the past 50 years, the
changing demographics and
religious practices of Catholics in
the Northeast and Canada have
posed serious challenges to the
Shrine and threatened its viability.
"In order to continue to thrive, the Shrine must enhance its mission and read the signs
of the times by reaching out to people and inviting them to be stronger disciples of
Christ," says Cummings.
The Shrine is now set to become a more important part of college life. In the
spring, the Shrine launched a fundraising effort and began to construct overnight
facilities and expand the meeting facilities, making the popular summertime destination
accessible year-round. In the academic year, students from Saint Michael's will be able
to use the Shrine as a retreat site. Access year round will allow the Shrine to break
even financially while allowing year-round access for faith-building.