Feast: July 26
Anne (Hebrew, Hannah, grace; also spelled Ann, Anne, Anna) is the wife of Joachim and the mother of Mary. She is the grandmother according to the flesh of our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ. Her name means "grace" or "the gracious one" or "the loving one."
Of St. Anne we have no certain knowledge. She is not mentioned in the New Testament, and we must depend on apocryphal literature, chiefly the Protoevangelium of James, which dates back only to the second century. In this document we are told that Anne, wife of Joachim, was advanced in years and that her prayers for a child had not been answered. Once as she prayed beneath a laurel tree near her home in Galilee, an angel appeared and said to her, "Anne, the Lord hath heard thy prayer and thou shalt conceive and bring forth, and thy seed shall be spoken of in all the world." Anne replied, "As the Lord my God liveth, if I beget either male or female, I will bring it as a gift to the Lord my God; and it shall minister to Him in holy things all the days of its life " And thus Anne became the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
With the birth of Mary the holy matron began a new life; she watched Her every movement with reverent tenderness, and, aware of the little one’s destiny, felt herself hourly sanctified by the presence of her Immaculate Child. But she had vowed her daughter to God; to God the child Mary had already consecrated Herself, and to Him Anne gave Her back. Mary was three years old when Anne and Joachim led Her to the Temple steps, saw Her pass by Herself into the inner sanctuary, and then saw Her no more. Thus was Anne left childless in her old age, and deprived of her purest earthly joy. The holiest parents on earth could not, in the plan of God, raise this Child as was needed: Mary had to suffer from Her earliest years. Saint Anne and Saint Joachim humbly adored the Divine Will, and continued to watch and pray, until God called them to unending rest.
“Good Saint Anne” is the loving way that many Catholics address the mother of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. Fifty years after Saint Anne’s death, her body was brought to France by Saint Mary Magdalene and her companions in the year 47. Countless churches have been dedicated to Saint Anne all over the world. Canada in particular is devoted to her, and has a beautiful shrine named for her there, called “Saint Anne de Beaupre`” to which people come from everywhere.
Simplicity is the secret by which we gain Saint Anne's love, her intercession, and her protection. She taught her Blessed Daughter to read the Holy Scripture, seeing in Her the fulfillment of all its prophesies. Sensing her daughter’s immaculate and incomparable holiness, beauty, and brilliance, Saint Anne, and her husband and Mary’s father, Saint Joachim, presented Mary in the Temple when she was just three years old, and gave to God and to us forever. Her feast day and that of Saint Joachim occurs on July 26th.
Prayer to Saint Anne
With love, I come to you St. Anne. By your virtues and holiness, you merited from God the favour of giving life to her who is the Treasure of all graces, the Most Holy Virgin. Receive me, good St. Anne, into the number of your true clients, for so I profess myself and wish to remain throughout my entire life. Obtain for me, from God, the power to imitate those virtues with which you are so plentifully endowed. Help me to know and regret my sins bitterly. Obtain for me the grace of active love for Jesus and Mary, and resolution to fulfill the duties of my state of life with faithfulness. Save me from every danger that confronts me in life, and help me at the hour of my death. Amen.
Novena to Saint Anne
Glorious St. Anne, filled with compassion for those who invoke you, with love for those who suffer, heavily laden with the weight of my troubles, I kneel at your feet and humbly beg you to take my present need under your special protection . . . (mention here). Vouchsafe to recommend it to your daughter, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and lay it before the throne of Jesus. Cease not to intercede for me until my request is granted. Above all, obtain for me the grace to one day meet God face to face, and with you and Mary and all the angels and saints praising Him through all eternity. Amen