St. Anne’s Church Bukit Mertajam.
St. Anne’s Feast Day falls on 26 July. It has been a tradition for Mum to make a pilgrimage to the St. Anne’s Church in Bukit Mertajam a few days prior to the feast day to avoid the traffic jam and the crowd of pilgrims. Since moving to Kuala Lumpur, I have tried to keep to that tradition by going back to Penang towards the end of July and then onward to Bukit Mertajam with Wuan.
I love to be there, to soak in the ambience of the hallowed ground, to let my eyes follow the stairs of granite up to the distinct structure of the church halfway up the hill. It is a wonder that despite the bustling all around the church compound, I always felt a sense of serenity whenever I was there. If there is anything that I look forward to in the month of July, it must be St. Anne’s Feast Day celebrations in Bukit Mertajam.
Unfortunately, we are not able to go on the pilgrimage this year. Wuan has been inundated with work and had to go back to office on weekends, too. She has not had a good night’s sleep for weeks now. We may make a trip to the church when we are in Penang next. I foresee that it will be a totally new experience to be there without all the activities and pilgrims.
St. Anne’s Shrine Bukit Mertajam.
St. Anne’s Feast Day falls on July 26. The celebration usually begins well before that. Wuan and I were fortunate that we made the trip back to Penang just as the celebration began. We went to the Church of St. Anne in Bukit Mertajam on Sunday with my two maternal aunts. These two plucky septuagenarians are my mother’s younger sisters. Most of the relatives on my mother’s side are Roman Catholics.
Statue of St. Anne with a young Mary inside St. Anne Shrine Bukit Mertajam.
Photo by Wuan.
The church compound was not crowded. It was very hot though. It had rained a while before we arrived. With little cloud cover, the sun bore down hard on us. I had gone up to the shrine two years ago for the first time since using a wheelchair when Bryan and Reallybites went with us. It is a long steep path from level ground.
The Ten Commandments carved into a rock near St. Anne’s Shrine Bukit Mertajam.
Photo by Wuan.
It would take a lot of effort for Wuan to push me up. So we gave going up to the shrine a pass. Instead, we checked out the makeshift stalls set up at the car park to sell candles, flowers, statues, religious items, books, and snacks and drinks. My aunts bought a box of candles each and slowly limped their way up the granite steps to pay homage to St. Anne inside the shrine. Wuan and I browsed through the books at the Daughters of Pauline stall.
Fifteenth Station of The Cross – The Resurrection of Jesus – beside St. Anne’s Shrine Bukit Mertajam.
Photo by Wuan.
I got myself the Saint Joseph Personal Size Edition of The New American Bible and a PVC cover to protect it. I have been looking for one that I can take with me whenever I travel. We also bought a few Rosaries. Among them were two rose scented Rosaries for Wuan’s parents who were baptized earlier this year on Easter. After that, Wuan took the camera and went traipsing around while I took shelter beneath the shadow of the stalls and observed the activities of the growing crowd as the sun began to set.