|St Anne's Catholic Church, Birmingham||
The name 'Anne' derives from a Hebrew name 'Hannah', meaning 'grace.
Although the Bible stays silent about St. Anne, popular Christian tradition has it that St Anne was the mother of the Virgin Mary.
Anne, according to this tradition, was born in Bethlehem and married St. Joachim from Nazareth. Joachim was a shepherd given the task of supplying the temple of Jerusalem with sheep for sacrifices.
After twenty years of marriage Anne and Joachim had no children. Once, when Joachim overheard ridicule because of their childless state, he is said to have gone into the desert to plead with God to give them a child. After a time of fasting an angel appeared to assure Joachim he and Anne would be given a girl they were to name Mary and dedicate to God.
In the meantime St. Anne wondered where her husband had gone and in her sadness at having been barren she prayed while she watched newborn birds in their nests in her garden. She cried out, "Why was I born, Lord?" That is when angel appeared to tell her she would soon give birth to a daughter she was to name Mary. The story continues with Anne and Joachim's joyous reunion at the golden gate of Jerusalem.
After her birth Anne and Joachim dedicated Mary to God at the temple of Jerusalem and she spent much of her childhood there. When Mary was fourteen they betrothed her to Joseph of Nazareth and so Mary's story continues with the birth of her son, Jesus, and his life on earth.
The life of Saint Anne and her connection as holy mother of Mary and grandmother of Jesus was very popular to early Christians. In the year 550 a church was built in honour of St. Anne in Jerusalem. It is believed to be near where Anne, Joachim and Mary lived.
Since the Seventh Century the Greek and Russian Churches have celebrated feasts honoring St. Joachim and St. Anne. The Western Churches began to celebrate the feast of St. Anne in the Sixteenth Century.
The feast of St. Anne is July 26th.
St. Anne is a patron saint of mothers and grandparents as well as of pregnant and barren women. She is usually symbolised by Mary either next to her or on he lap, often holding infant Jesus.
Prayer to St. Anne
Good St. Anne, you were especially favored by God to be the mother of the most holy Virgin Mary, the Mother of our Savior. By your power with your most pure daughter and with her divine Son, kindly obtain for me the grace and the favour I seek. Secure for me the strength to perform faithfully my daily duties and the help I need to persevere in the love of Jesus and Mary. Amen.