Mixed feelings as Pope Francis visits Canadian lake

July 27, 2022 GMT

STORY: Canada Pope Lake Reaction - Mixed feelings as Pope Francis visits Canadian lake

LENGTH: 06:01


RESTRICTIONS: Associated Press/Reuters clients only

TYPE: English/Natsound



DATELINE: 26 July 2022 - Lac Sainte Anne




Lac Sainte Anne, Alberta, Canada - 26 July 2022

1. Pope Francis goes to lake, prays, blesses lake

2. SOUNDBITE (English) Tera Cardinal, Cree Nation:

“It was amazing. I was something that I never thought I would see in my lifetime. I never even knew I would be in the same premise as the pope. So as a theologian it was great just to even be around His Holiness. As an Indigenous woman who grew up on this land it was a little bit conflictual though. My grandmother was a survivor of residential school, and she raised me. We spent every year here and I never understood after what happened to her at residential school that she would still be a practicing Catholic. But she raised me. I’m Catholic. So we were also part of Sacred Hearts which is the Catholic First Nations church of Edmonton Alberta. I was very hopeful coming here and I still am hopeful for a new tomorrow. I am very happy, the fact that he even apologized. It was something my grandmother never thought she would ever live to see the day. She didn’t. Unfortunately. But I am sure ancestors are looking down and they are just very happy. While at the same time I feel conflicted just knowing everything that she went through and what my people have went through. And hearing my current family right now speak out against the Pope coming here and being on our territory. So, it has brought up a lot of feelings that I’m still kind of like learning how to deal with. But I guess at the end of the day you can say I am grateful. I am just grateful that he was here. I am grateful to be on this land. I am grateful to see so many other Native people and children who are here just willing to celebrate and forgive. And I can’t wait to see more people go into the waters, into the holy waters, because when you bless this lake it really means something to my people. So it’s a yearly thing that we always love to do. ”


3. Pope in wheelchair

4. Media

5. Pan across lake

6.  SOUNDBITE (English) A.J. Alexis, Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation:

“For the longest time my family has prayed that one day His Holiness would come to this lake, going as far back as John Paul, Benedict, so it is quite a pleasure and quite an honor to have him here today.  As you can see it brought a lot of people together, it brought a lot of the nation and the world even to come see our beautiful home here. The Alexis Dakota Sioux Nation, we have been treatied here since time immemorial.”

7. Pope coming up ramp

8. Drummer

9. Various of lake

10. SOUNDBITE (English) Terrie Mcintosh, First Nation Pilgrim

“To have been able to experience this, to be able to have been given that opportunity to be in the same vicinity as the Pope, you know, like, just to feel acknowledged. For true healing to take place, because he made a promise and he fulfilled it, he came.  


11. Various of Pope’s sermon and people listening



Pope Francis traveled to Lac Sainte Anne on Tuesday, a sacred lake to Indigenous people in Canada long before the arrival of Christians.  

The lake was called Wakamme or “God’s Lake” by the Nakota Sioux and “Spirit Lake” by the Cree who believed in the healing powers of the lake.


Traditional drums accompanied the Pope down to the lake where aides wheeled him down to the shore and he sat in silent prayer in his wheelchair.

Every year on this day, the Catholic feast day of Saint Anne, the grandmother of Jesus, tens of thousands of Cree, Metis, Blackfoot, Dogrib and First Nations Indigenous people make the pilgrimage to dip in the lake. Pope Francis announced during his meeting with the Indigenous leaders on April 1st at the Vatican that he wanted to join in the annual pilgrimage to Lac Ste. Anne on July 26th.

As he was pushed back to the shrine, the Pope dipped a brush in holy lake water and blessed the crowd lining his route.

Speaking to a group of Indigenous pilgrims in the shrine the Pope said, “In this blessed place, where harmony and peace reign, we present to you the disharmony of our experiences, the terrible effects of colonization, the indelible pain of so many families, grandparents and children. Help us to be healed of our wounds.”


The prayer service at Lac Sainte Anne in Alberta was one of the spiritual highlights of the pontiff’s six-day visit to Canada to atone for the Catholic Church’s role in running residential schools that forcibly assimilated the country’s Indigenous children into Christian society. On Monday he apologized for the “catastrophic” ways families were torn apart; the following day he transitioned to praying to help them heal from the “wounds of violence.”

AP Video shot by: Ted Shaffrey

Production: Trisha Thomas