Many symbols represent Easter. Eggs and bunnies stand for fertility and the arrival of spring. From a religious perspective, a cross symbolizes Christ’s crucifixion, but also Christianity as a whole. However, not all crosses are built the same or have the same meaning.
There is a cross which sits at the junction of Hwy. 13 and Primary Grid 628 one mile south of Ponteix. Perhaps you’ve driven past it before or maybe you’ll drive by it this Easter on your way to visit friends and family. The cross owes its existence to Guy Roberge. Guy learned about the Cross of Dozulé through his daughter Brigitte and took the story to heart.
The Cross of Dozulé originated in France and since then word has passed from country to country. Approximately 1,300 people live in the town of Dozulé, which is located near Lisieux. The Cross is attributed to a series of visions experienced by Madeleine Aumont.
Born in 1924, this wife and mother of five lived without faith for a long period until Madeleine’s mother encouraged her to celebrate Easter in 1970. Her first apparition dates back to March of 1970. She looked out the window of her home very early in the morning and saw a light on the horizon that soon took the shape of a cross. A voice proclaimed, “Ecce Crucem Domini” or, “This is the Cross of the Lord.” Before the light disappeared she heard a soft voice say, “You will make this cross known and you must bear it.”
In total, Madeleine had nearly 50 miraculous interventions ranging from apparitions of a giant cross, of Jesus and of Archangel Michael. Jesus communicated to Madeleine that a period of chaos was approaching but those faithful to the Cross of Dozulé would be rewarded.
In some of the apparitions, Christ indicated the measurements of the cross he wanted Madeleine to erect: 738 metres (2,420 feet) in height with arms reaching out 123 metres (400 feet) wide. To put these numbers into perspective, the CN Tower reaches a height of 553 metres (1,815 feet). Since 2009, the tallest building in the world is Burj Dubai (also known as Burj Khalifa). Located in the United Arab Emirates, the structure is 830 metres or 2,723 feet high.
The dimensions for the Cross of Dozulé were grand and beyond the engineering abilities of the time. However, out of respect for Christ’s wishes, scaled down versions are erected and they measure 7.38m X 1.23m. The scale model cross is said to guarantee protection.
More recently, engineers have researched various aspects of welding, space-frame construction and placed models of the cross in wind tunnels to determine the feasibility of the project. Results show a full-size cross would be possible to build.
Despite the cost and challenge, it is also important to consider the timing. We live in an era of religious wars and clashing worldviews. However, Guy knows of a Cross of Dozulé recently built in Libya that has become a place of joint prayer between Muslims and Christians, which is encouraging to see.
The movement spread in the early 1980s and thousands of crosses have been placed in countries worldwide. The Cross of Dozulé on the Roberge land near Ponteix was the first in Saskatchewan, but since it was built in 2002 Guy has heard of others in the province.
Michel Couture, also of Ponteix, built the cross for Guy who placed it atop a prominent hill on his son’s farm. Guy estimates the project cost $5,000 and it was supported financially by members of the community. Guy, who farms in the area, was pleased to hear many positive comments from his friends and neighbours. He said the cross is for everyone who feels comfort from it, not just Christians.
On June 24, 2002, Father Fern Ducharme blessed the cross in keeping with the five criteria Jesus outlined to Madeleine:
1. The dimensions (7.38m X 1.23m)
2. The colours white and blue
3. The cross must be blessed by a priest
4. The cross must be lit at night
5. A specific prayer must be recited everyday in front of the cross.
At night, the cross glows and emits an aura of soft light. During the day, the hilltop offers an unobstructed view stretching from horizon to horizon where you can experience peaceful moments of contemplation.
The town of Ponteix is a prime location in Saskatchewan for religious tourism. Rather than consuming mind-numbing entertainment, an increasing number of people are seeking a more profound experience when on holidays. Home to a magnificent church, two remarkable statues of the Virgin Mary and a Cross of Dozulé, Ponteix is rich in spiritual monuments.