Five Assumptionists staff St. Anne’s Parish and Shrine, a sanctuary of peace and tranquility situated on thirty-five acres of natural woodland in the picturesque small town of Fiskdale (Sturbridge), Massachusetts. In addition to a vibrant parish that attracts worshipers even across state lines, the shrine complex also includes a gift shop, an extraordinary icon museum filled with art from the Assumptionist missions in the East, and a Memorial Garden where parents who have lost children may remember their loved ones.
The Assumptionists have staffed the church since 1955, but it was built in 1883. On the Sunday following the feast of Saint Anne in 1887, a parishioner was partially healed of dropsy as she approached the altar to receive Communion. The next year, 1888, on the same Sunday and in similar circumstances, that parishioner was completely healed.
That afternoon, parishoners gathered at the church and formed the first procession in thanksgiving to God for this favor obtained through the intercession of Saint Anne. With that procession, the Shrine was born.
Soon the church was too small to accommodate the crowds that flocked to Saint Anne’s for Sunday Mass. An outdoor chapel, what is now known as the pavilion, was constructed and Sunday Masses began to be celebrated there during the warm weather seasons. Monuments were added and the grounds were embellished for the devotion of the faithful.
Since the first healing, over 100 years ago, people have continued to come to this holy place seeking solace and peace from God through the intercession of Saint Anne. The devotion and faith of so many Christians have made of this shrine an ideal place to discover and experience the unfailing love of Christ for his people.