Mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Feast Day: July 26
Early tradition gives the name Anne to the mother of Our Lady and that of Joachim to Her father. They were of the tribe of Juda and blessed with earthly goods, but Anne, or Hannah, which means grace; was childless, and this was a bitter misfortune for Jewish parents. Their prayers for a child were finally heard and late in life, Anne gave birth to a girl who could in truth be called a child of prayer and who was destined to become the Mother of God.
Anne and Joachim were model parents who surrounded their child with the atmosphere of God-loving piety that befitted Her spotless innocence. Not content with the general offering which Jewish parents made of their children in infancy, they presented Mary at an early age to the priests in the temple to be reared there and taught the things needed to attend the priests and Levites in the sacred ministry. They were happy to see their daughter grow in grace unto the day when the Son of God took flesh of Her, but there is no record that they lived to see that day.
Anne loved her daughter very much. All the time, God knew Anne would be the Grandmother of His Son. Because she was so good to Mary, His Mother, Jesus made Anne a great saint. When we pray to her, we know that Jesus, her Grandson, will listen to what she asks for us.
St Anne was venerated in the East as early as the 5th Century, and in 50 A.D., Emperor Justinian built a basilica in her honor at Constantinople. The Crusades spread her veneration to the West, and in 1382 her feast was extended to the whole Latin Church. She soon became one of the most popular saints, especially in Brittany, France, where her shrine at Beaupré attracted thousands of pilgrims. From Brittany her devotion spread to French Canada and her shrine at Beaupré draws many thousands of her clients yearly. The many miracles worked there and at other shrines attest to the power of her intercession.
St. Anne is venerated as the patroness of mothers and housekeepers and is invoked against poverty and for finding lost articles.
Reflection St. Anne is glorious among the Saints, not only as the mother of Mary, but because she gave Mary to God. Learn from her to reverence a divine vocation as the highest privilege, and to sacrifice every natural tie, however holy, at the call of God.