Bishop Scott McCaig of the Military Ordinariate of Canada acting as Franciscan Friar Father Frédéric Janssoone, who witnessed the miracle of the Our Lady of the Cape statue open its eyes. Photo courtesy Marian Devotional Movement

Showtime for Our Lady of the Cape

By 
  • September 30, 2021

The final countdown is on until Our Lady of the Cape receives its splashy film premiere treatment.

On Oct. 7, the Marian Devotional Movement (MDM) will unveil the feature-length documentary Bridge of Roses: The Story of Our Lady of the Cape at a world debut screening at the Basilica of Notre-Dame-du-Cap in Trois-Rivières, Que., starting at 8 p.m. ET. Simultaneously, global streaming access for the film will become available at bridgeofrosesfilm.com.

Dennis Girard, MDM co-director alongside his wife Angelina, is delighted Canadians and a global audience will soon become more knowledgeable about how intercession to the Our Lady of the Cape Shrine of Mary, Mother of God manifested awe-inspiring miracles and increased devotion to the rosary.

“They’ll discover through the film that Mary truly is a bridge to knowing her Son. We believe that intercession to Our Lady has truly led (writer and director Kevin Dunn) to weaving a Marian masterpiece,” said Girard.

At a more personal level, the imminent release of Bridge of Roses is deeply satisfying for Girard and his wife as, he says, “it helps us on screen share what has been resonant in our hearts for years.”

Dunn, a three-time Gemini award-nominated Catholic filmmaker, crafted a production that marries expert interviews with immersive on-site re-creations of the supernatural acts attributed to Our Lady of the Cape. A centrepiece attraction of the 70-minute picture is the depiction of The Miracle of the Ice Bridge of 1879.

Parishioners sought to build a new church, but an uncommonly mild winter derailed their plans to transport the construction materials over the frozen St. Lawrence River. Parish vicar Fr. Louis-Eugene Duguay — portrayed by CBC Radio-Canada host Vincent Dureault — urged his congregation to pray the rosary. Miraculously, pieces of ice emerged from down the river to create a bridge, which allowed building materials to cross from the mainland.

Creating a cinematic interpretation of this miracle was a production highlight for Dunn. Another surreal moment was filming in the shrine itself. 

“Filming in the shrine at the Cape was the highlight for me,” said Dunn. “We had to ask the Oblates if we could actually take the crown off of the miraculous statue because the miracles occurred before she was crowned in 1904. The Oblates were so kind in allowing us to very, very carefully remove the crown. We got to see the statue the way it originally was.”

Dunn agrees with Girard’s conviction that Mary guided him throughout this three-year journey that had its share of obstacles, including financial, and of course the pandemic. He said he felt a particular push from the Mother of God around Mother’s Day last year.

“She tapped me on the shoulder and I felt like she was saying, ‘just move ahead — trust.’ Ever since that moment when I put it in her hands, everything began to come together. The crowd fundraising (paid dividends), sponsors came forward and a cast assembled.  And when I thought it would be impossible to get inside the shrine during a lockdown in Quebec, the Oblates came through and got us two days to film in this place, which is just a little piece of Heaven on Earth.”

Our Lady of the Cape is the second most popular Marian shrine in North America as it attracts 430,000 visitors a year (pre-pandemic). While the destination is a popular tourist attraction, Girard and Dunn both believe more awareness needs to be generated about Our Lady of the Cape’s significance.

Helping that cause is the expert contributors featured in the film, including Fr. Lawrence Lew, the promoter general of the Holy Rosary, Fr. Donald Calloway, a vicar provincial for the Marians of the Immaculate Conception, and Fr. Roger Vandenakker, general superior for the Companions of the Cross.

These experts, among others, will partake in pre- and post-premiere activities on Oct. 7, which coincides with the 450th anniversary of Our Lady of the Rosary.

The MDM is the owner of Bridge of Roses: The Story of Our Lady of the Cape.

For information see the website moviemissionaries.org.

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