The Minor Basilica of Santa Ana National Shrine or Basilika Menor di Santa Ana – Curacao, compared with other Basilicas of the World with beautiful ancient architectural designs, massive structures and big Domes, the Basilika Menor di Santa Ana – Curacao has the least to offer. It is just a Basilica with simple structures and almost devoid of all these architectural grandeur. Yet, it has a very beautiful history. The place where the Basilica stands at present has its unique beginning. As early as the 16 th century, the church started as a small house of prayer in a small private home not in the place where the Basilica stands at present but somewhere in Punda, a barrio across the river where the famous Emma ponton bridge right now is. At that time, a lot of changes happened to Curacao. Curacao was not exempted from different conquest. Small wars and its bad effect happened too in Curacao that made the lives of the people at that time unstable and unsafe. Yet, despite of all these unwelcome eventualities that took place of the inhabitants, their faith remained solid and strong. Despite the changes that Curacao underwent, the faith of the people became stronger and more stable. From time to time it was hard for them to accommodate the faithful who came to worship in their small prayer house. They need to look for a bigger place to accommodate them all. Every now and then they have to look for a bigger one. Then came a time that they found out that it was not only the house that was small but the area of the land as well became too small for them. That was the reason why they look for another piece of land that brought them to cross the river that divides Punda and the other barrio called Otrobanda. In Otrobanda, they found a piece of land where the present Basilica right now stands. There, they built the bigger Church sometime in the 18 th century which is now the present Basilika Menor di Santa Ana – Curacao. Still, it underwent different moral and physical renovations. It underwent different problems as any other church, yet the faith of the people remains strong, keeping the identity of the Basilica until the present vibrant and alive.
The reason why this Church becomes a Basilica, is not because of its big Dome and massive structure or architectural designs but because of the unique history of the journey of faith of the people of Curacao. It is elevated and given the title and honor as a Basilica by Pope Paul VI in 1975 not due to structural or architectural of the Church, but due to the religious architectural spiritual structures designed by God Himself in every heart of every Curazaleño as years went by, that makes the Basilika Menor di Santa Ana-Curacao beautiful as ever. It is not the massive structures that Basilika Menor di Santa Ana – Curacao can offer to its visitors as most of the Basilicas of the world usually do, but the massive faith that the faithful of Curacao have that until now is still strong and stable. This is what one may feel and experience, as he or she enters the welcoming door of the Basilika Menor di Santa Ana – Curacao.
The Basilika Menor di Santa Ana – Curacao at present is not a parish. It is purely a Sanctuary of Prayer with Santa Ana as its Patroness. Santa Ana, the mother of Mary and the grandmother of Jesus has been the protector of Curacao people for many years and the Basilika where she is enthroned has been the place where people of different walks of life, local as well as pilgrims and tourists find comfort, serenity, peace, and tranquility as they experience her motherly care while she intercedes for them to God our Father.
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