By MIKE DONOGHUE
Islander Staff Writer
ISLE LA MOTTE - St. Anne’s Shrine has a new Vermont Historic marker that is bilingual -- only the third created by the state.
The new sign is English on one side and French on the other and gives the background of the historic site, which is important to both residents of the U.S. and Canada.
The old marker was only in English, but the new one also allowed for expanded text, according to the Rev. Brian Cummings, spiritual director of the shrine.
The old historic marker had deteriorated and needed replacing, Cummings said.
The shrine honors the French-built Fort St. Anne in 1666 and hosted the first Mass celebrated in the northeast. A chapel was built in 1892 and starting in the following year the shrine has hosted countless personal and group retreats.
The shrine was entrusted in 1904 to the Society of St. Edmund, which was founded in France in 1843 and established St. Michael’s College in Colchester that year.
Cummings said he worked with Celine Paquette of Champlain, N.Y., a longtime history buff and friend of the shrine and with Laura Trieschmann, state historic perseveration officer to produce the new marker.
Cummings said crafting the sign was a little tricky because there were a limited number of lines and characters and in some cases even the punctuation might impact the spacing. He said the Rev. Marcel Rainville, a native of Swanton, also helped with the French translation.
Trieschmann said the state has nearly 300 roadside cast-aluminum green markers, which have a distinctive gold state seal on the top. They commemorate people, events and places of regional, statewide or national significance.
She said the other two bilingual signs were erected in 2019 and are on the Burlington waterfront and in Newport City.