Saint Anne and Saint Joachim, pray for us!

Despite not knowing many details about her, for centuries the Church has remembered Saint Anne, the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary on July 26. In a way it is precisely this lack of knowledge which gives us a beautiful lesson on holiness; namely, the importance of humility and the fact that sanctity is found with Jesus through Mary.

The Blessed Mother’s parents, St. Anne and St. Joachim were never written about in sacred Scripture. What we know of them comes only from apocryphal literature, the Church Fathers, and the tradition of the Church. These few accounts tell a simple story of a faithful couple.

St. Anne, which comes from the Hebrew name “Hannah”, struggled to have a child just like Hannah the mother of Samuel did (1 Samuel 1). And just as the Lord heard the cry of Hannah in the Old Testament, so too did He show mercy to St. Anne. For when she turned to the Lord and pleaded for a child, an angel said to her, “Hannah, the Lord has looked upon thy tears; thou shalt conceive and give birth and the fruit of thy womb shall be blessed by all the world”.

What an incredible blessing that St. Anne would go from the sorrow of sterility to being graced with immaculately conceiving the Mother of God! It just goes to show that the Lord is always faithful.
The details of this beautiful story are not entirely certain, and the account is not inspired; nevertheless, the Church is sure that the parents of Mary must be saints. How could Mary’s parents and Christ’s grandparents not be made holy?

And so, in a way, St. Anne is not canonized because of any incredible feat, but simply by association. Here we have a mini-lesson, on the importance of having a community around us that leads us to heaven, and of being a role model for those around us as well. But the other key takeaway is that St. Anne’s path to holiness was simply to tenderly love the Blessed Virgin Mary who so tenderly loves our Lord. How true is this for us as well!

Though we must strive to love the Lord with all we are and do, many of us are not called to heroic feats. Rather, we are called to quiet and humble faithfulness, and to bask in the grace of our Lord Jesus through the intercession of his blessed mother. This is our surest and easiest road to sainthood, to Jesus through Mary.

And so through faithfully praying the rosary and spending time with our Lord in prayer, may we come to love the King and Queen of Heaven and Earth more and more as St. Anne did.

St. Anne, the mother of Our Mother, grandmother of our Lord, pray for us!

In the Hearts of Jesus and Mary,

Christopher P. Wendt
International Director
Confraternity of Our Lady of Fatima
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