For more than 100 summers and time unknown before, native people have journeyed great distances to gather at a peaceful lake in north-central Alberta. It has been said the waters of Lac Ste. Anne have miraculous healing powers. Documentary photographer Steve Simon’s compelling and evocative photographs combine with quotes from the people gathered at the lake to tell a powerful story of faith and hope.
For one week in July every year, as many as 30,000 people transform a 40-acre shoreline in North-Central Alberta into a pilgrims’ city. The believers-some of whom travel to Lac Ste. Anne by foot-wade slowly into the shallows to pray. They come to be healed-physically, spiritually and emotionally. The Cree people traditionally call the sacred body of water Manito Sakahigan or Lake of the Spirit. Even before the arrival of Catholic missionaries to the site in 1843, it was considered a place of great spiritual significance, a “power spot”.