St. Ann

House Colour: Red

Feast Day: February 14

Biography of St. Ann / St. Anne

Long ago, in the town of Nazareth, lived a rich and pious couple, Joachim and Anne. Both of them were of the royal house of David and were rooted in prayer and good works. The only thing Joachim and Anne lacked was a child. Though they had prayed to God that they should be given a child, they had grown old, so it seemed unlikely that their prayers would ever be answered. Among the Jews, being childless was considered a great disgrace. The ancient Hebrew culture considered barrenness a punishment by God, for only the power of the Lord could open or close a woman's womb.

On a feast day, Joachim went to the temple to offer sacrifice. However, he was turned away by a man named Ruben who claimed that men without offspring were unworthy to enter the temple. When this happened, Joachim, grief-stricken, did not return home to Anne, but went into the mountains to pray to God alone. He prayed still harder that Anne would bear a child.

Upon hearing the reason for Joachim’s prolonged absence, Anne cried to the Lord to lift her curse of sterility. She promised that should she be blessed with a child, she would dedicate it to the service of the Lord.

Their prayers were heard. One day while praying under a laurel tree, an angel came to Ann and said “Anne, 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". The angel also appeared to Joachim and made the same promise to him. Joachim then returned to his wife. Finally, after twenty years of marriage, at the age of forty, Anne became pregnant and gave birth to a daughter, whom she called Mary, which means “bitter”.

Anne was chosen by God to be the mother of Mary, His own blessed Mother on earth. Mary was the fruit rather of grace than of nature, and the child more of God than of man. When Mary was born, Anne began a new life. She watched over her daughter carefully and lovingly, feeling herself being sanctified by her immaculate child. But Anne had promised her daughter to God. Anne gave her back to God. When Mary was three years old, Anne and Joachim led her up the Temple steps, saw her pass by herself into the inner sanctuary, and then saw her no more. Thus was Anne alone in her old age, separated from her purest earthly joy just when she would have been happiest to have it. She humbly adored the Divine Will, and began again to watch and pray, until God called her to unending rest with the Father.

Anne means grace. St. Anne was not formally canonized but has been recognized as a saint by popular acclamation. She is not in the bible, but she has been generally accepted as the patron saint of Christian mothers, women in labor and family crises. St. Anne’s persistence and dedication to the Lord showed her to be a very worthy role model and we the members of St. Ann hope to emulate her faith in God.