Almost 100 years before the Shrine to St. Ann was built, Catholic settlers walked up the “Opeongo Line” from Renfrew in search of a place to call home.

The road was rough and their journey was arduous. But they persevered, establishing numerous parish communities along the way. Retracing their steps along the original route will let us experience, in a small way, the dedication, sacrifice, and faith of our forebears, and so help us to spiritually prepare for the great solemnity at St. Ann’s, Cormac.
Panel 1

Pilgrimage Timeline

Thursday, July 27th (Tentative 2023 Schedule)
  • Thursday
    • 07:00 — Bus departs from St. Ann’s for Renfrew
    • 08:30 – Mass at Our Lady of Fatima – Fr. Scott Murray
    • 09:15 – Breakfast and Pilgrimage Registration (breakfast provided)
    • 10:00 – Start walking
    • 11:00 – Break at the intersection of K&P Trail and Kunapaski Rd.
    • 12:30 – Lunch (not provided) (1648 Whelan Rd.)
    • 14:30 – Break (531 Whelan Rd.)
    • 16:45 – Arrive at Mt. St. Patrick – Set up camp
    • 17:00 – Supper (provided)
    • 19:00 – Adoration
    • 20:30 – Compline (Night Prayer) & Benediction
  • Friday
    • 07:00 – Mass at St. Patrick’s
    • 07:45 – Breakfast (provided)
    • 9:00 – Start walking
    • 10:00 – Break (967 Flat Rd.)
    • 11:30 – Lunch (not provided) (6501 Hwy 132)
    • 13:30 – Arrive at St. Joseph’s, Esmonde
    • 13:45 – Daytime Prayer on the front steps at St. Joseph’s
    • 14:00 – Continue walking
    • 14:45 – Break (3512 Opeongo Rd.)
    • 16:30 – Sebastepol Heritage Society, 4716 Opeongo Rd. W.
    • 17:30 – Supper (provided)
    • 20:00 – Compline
  • Saturday
    • 09:00 – Mass
    • 10:00 – Breakfast (not provided)
    • 11:00 – Start walking
    • 12:00 – Toilet Break (Intersection of Opeongo Rd. & Lake Clear Rd)
    • 13:30 – Lunch (not provided)(1081 Lake Clear Rd.) *There is a chip truck, “Karen’s Kitchen”, just before Cormac Park, so you’re welcome to get your lunch and/or dinner there.
    • 15:30 – Break (Cormac park – just outside of town – to make the final leg as a group)
    • 16:00 – Arrive at St. Ann’s Cormac and go to the shrine for a blessing.
    • 17:00 – Supper (provided)
    • 19:00 – Mass (The last evening of the parish mission with Fr. Réal Ouellette)
    • 20:00 – Candlelight procession to St. Ann’s Shrine for prayers
    • 21:00 – Compline
  • Sunday
    • 08:00-10:00 – Breakfast at your convenience (provided)
    • 11:00 – Pilgrim Mass with Bishop Desrochers
    • 12:00 – Safe travels home!
Panel 2


“It was the experience of a lifetime. We prayed a lot, laughed a lot, and suffered a little!” – Peggy Roy

“The Liturgies were so prayerful and meaningful – Masses, Adoration, Compline. The music for the Liturgies was so awe inspiring and beautiful. The final trek from Cormac Park to the Shrine with the whole group praying the Rosary and then hearing the bells tolling as we neared the church sent chills down my spine as I reflected on the true purpose of the Walk as a reminder of our Life Journey.” – Elwood Fitzpatrick

“The pilgrimage was a real gift. It was a delight journeying with so many friends, old and new, and the conversations and time together was so blessed. I was touched by the profound generosity and hospitality of so many strangers who fed and cared for us, and I have already seen fruits of this pilgrimage in my own life from the intentions offered up during it, which I’m sure Saint Anne, St. Joseph, Our Lady, and St. Patrick were all involved in! I am grateful for the beautiful liturgies, and opportunities for prayer and penance through Adoration and confession each evening. Many thanks to all who made it possible. I look forward to returning next year for the full duration of the pilgrimage!” – Katherine Kelly

“I really appreciated the amazing hospitality shown by so many along the way, and the cheerfulness and friendliness of the pilgrims themselves in welcoming someone new.” – Anonymous

“About fifteen years ago I immigrated to Canada as a young wife and mother of two toddlers in order to support my Canadian husband who found a great job in Renfrew Ontario. I left Hungary, my parents, my friends and everything familiar hoping for happiness in this far away, foreign country. For many years one challenge followed another, and the desired peace did not want to come.

At the end of my teenage years I had a very strong bond with Christ, but life took me on a kind of journey that I had bent my focus on other things. I always felt that God was my destination but had very different ideas where and how to find him. A few years after we moved to Canada, sadly I had to spend lots of time in hospital beds and doctors’ offices. I have had visited several therapists, social workers and psychiatrists dealing with serious mental illnesses until I reached the very bottom…, and the first time in my life I asked all my closest friends to pray for me…

And shortly after, I could feel HER calling…. and I responded… And then, when I surrendered entirely, I was able to experience something beautiful: There is no other real healing power than the love of God.

Shortly after, I ultimately returned to the religion I was born into, and ever since have been discovering more and more about the beauty of our catholic faith. During these years our most loving and amazing Virgin Mother whose presence I had felt in my despair has been gently guiding me back to her son by “holding my hand”, and me clinging on to hers via my Rosary. I have been feeling more happiness in my heart than I have ever felt before. My deepest desire is to witness her everlasting love with my everyday life, but it isn’t an easy task for me. I need and look for every opportunity to deepen my relationship with the mother of God.

So, in 2019 I decided to go on my first pilgrimage of my life; Walk the Opeongo to St. Ann’s Shrine. This walking pilgrimage was ever so special in many ways that after the second day I didn’t want it to end. On the last night in Cormac, I was sadly wandering around all alone looking for more spiritual “food” when nothing else was left on our schedule. Having the desolate feeling of finishing the whole thing I felt I was guided to walk to the small garden alongside of the church. I set down on the concrete bench on front of the cross, right at the feet of our Lord. 

I often felt my heart overflowing during those three days but at that moment I could let my tears run freely down on my face without apologizing to others for losing it. There’s no way to share what happened then, but something had changed inside me ultimately. There was absolutely nothing more important in my life than HIM!

And there IS nothing more important in my life for ever than to FOLLOW HIM! Follow him as a wife and mother who got much older over the years yet, is just a little child of God and our Blessed Virgin Mother.” – Kinga Czigany-MacAskill

Daily Mass – One step after the other we walked, talked and shared.
The steps that led to Mass were steps where you unburdened
your pain and enlightened heavily ladened hearts.
Steps to daily Mass in churches where you felt the depth of
prayer and faith as tears fell.
Steps sharing, caring and helping are
In every pilgrims heart.   – Linda Hoffman