Celine Dion in Paris. Photo: Instagram
Celine Dion in Paris. Photo: Instagram

Topics: Spirituality | Religion

Céline Dion’s faith at 50

That the singer rarely talks about her faith in public is surprising, considering she grew up in an overtly Catholic province. God also looms heavily in her work.


French-Canadian chanteuse Céline Dion celebrates her 50th birthday on March 30. She joins the ranks of other “quintastics,” renowned 50-somethings whose cultural relevance is only gaining momentum.

Some have derided Dion for saccharine melodies and an overdramatic stage presence, but Quebec’s pop icon has undergone a public image makeover in the last few years — changes that speak more to our shifting appreciation for sentimentality rather than any cosmetic change from Dion herself.

Her lyrical repertoire continues to praise higher powers and defy the crushing despair of heartbreak, but contextualized by the adversity she’s overcome, they ring more authentic than platitude.


Through much of this, the church has been in the background. Dion celebrated and mourned in Montreal’s historic Notre-Dame Basilica. That’s where she wed late husband René Angélil in 1994 and had their oldest son baptized in 2001. In 2016, she said goodbye to her beloved Angélil at his funeral service after he died of cancer.

At Angélil’s public visitation in the cathedral, a teary-eyed Dion stood and greeted visitors. She was meant to stay for 30 minutes, but instead received condolences from hundreds of people for several hours.

That the singer rarely talks about her faith in public is surprising, considering she grew up in an overtly Catholic province. God also looms heavily in her work, heavily referenced on her Christmas albums and gospel covers like “Amazing Grace” and “Call the Man.” Then there’s “The Prayer,” which was once banned from a Virginia high school’s graduation ceremony for being too religious.

But how does Dion consider her own beliefs? In a Toronto Star interview, Dion reveals an unexpected perspective: she places spirituality over the church as a formal institution.

“It’s important for people to have something they can touch and believe in,” she said. “I say that to believe in yourself is to believe in God. For me, God is life itself, the birds, the air, the sunrise and the sunset, the children. Yes, that is where I find God. Not in a church.”

This seems to run counter to her family’s devout Roman-Catholic upbringing, but in fact, can be traced to it. Dion, the youngest of 14, recounted to the Star how her mother once told off a priest who was pressuring her to have more children.

“The priest said, ‘Then I banish you from the house of God.’ She replied, ‘As far as I’m concerned, I’m the God in here with my children. This is the house that I believe in.’ That is the way we were raised,” Dion said. “That is the strength and belief we had. I didn’t have to go to church and get on my knees to find something to hold onto.”

Dion’s spiritual leanings fall in line with 30 per cent of Canadians who are “privately faithful,” as defined by an Angus Reid poll. For these believers, formal rites and traditions are sidelined until major life events and devotion to God is expressed in everyday faith.

The singer’s family factors into this, a major source of strength throughout life’s highs and lows. “Life is not always perfect. You have to deal with it. Whatever life imposes — sickness, or whatever, you don’t have a choice. This is life, this is nature. But you do have the choice on how you’re going to go through this. And if you don’t have spirituality you’re going to fall apart before things happen,” Dion told Taste of Life. “I am very spiritual. I believe in myself, I believe in my family, and I’m positive. Through this, you show your children how to deal with things, and how to be strong.”


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  • says:

    You are so right Ms Celine Dion. We do not have to go to a church building to be BORN AGAIN in our human spirits unto Christ. Loving Christ is in our spirits ONLY & no other way. Going to church & being religious doesn't change our hearts or spirits. God Himself must change us & He is everywhere.

  • says:

    Self, children, family, birds, sky etc, those are God's Beautiful Creations. But none of it, nor us, are GOD. GOD IS SPIRIT and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.
    Jesus is the only way to be saved. No man comes to the Father but by Him (by believing in Jesus). Jesus says. I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no man comes to the Father but by me.
    We go to the church building to grow and learn about God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. To draw near to God, to sit at His feet , to pray or be prayed for. For healing, salvation, deliverance, etc which God can do this WHEREVER. Nothing is too difficult for Him. But He does tell us, Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as we see the day approaching.
    Jesus is coming back. We have to be ready, IN HIM. We, nor anyone else, can save us. Only Jesus.

    Praying for Celine and her beautiful sons.
    God bless your family Celine.

  • says:

    Dear Celine, I sent you a rosery made of sea shells. It's completely homemade and natural. Our church has been praying for your healing.
    I asked God to bless it just for you.
    Your on our prayers.
    Pastor Cheryl Draeger