St. Anne, mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

St. Anne, mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Joachim and Anne

From Butler's Lives of the Saints 1894:
ST. ANNE was the spouse of St. Joachim, and was chosen by God to be the mother of Mary, His own blessed Mother on earth. They were both of the royal house of David, and their lives were wholly occupied in prayer and good works. One thing only was wanting to their union.—they were childless, and this was held as a bitter misfortune among the Jews. At length, when Anne was an aged woman, Mary was born, the fruit rather of grace than of nature, and the child more of God than of man. With the birth of Mary the aged Anne began a new life: she watched her every movement with reverent tenderness, and felt herself hourly sanctified by the presence of her immaculate child. But she had vowed her daughter to God, to God Mary had consecrated herself again, and to Him Anne gave her back. Mary was three years old when 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 left childless in her lone old age, and deprived of her purest earthly joy just when she needed it most. She humbly adored the Divine Will, and began again to watch and pray, till God called her to unending rest with the Father and the Spouse of Mary in the home of Mary's Child.

From Butler's Lives of the Saints 1903:
The Hebrew word Anne signifies gracious. St. Joachim and St. Anne,
the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary, are justly honored in the Churcn,
and their virtue is highly extolled by St. John Damascen. The emperor
Justinian I. built a church at Constantinople in honor of St. Anne, about the
year 550. 1 Codinus mentions another built by Justinian II. in 705. Her
body was brought from Palestine to Constantinople in 710, whence some
portions of her relics have been dispersed in the West. F. Cuper the
Bollandist has collected a great number of miracles wrought through her
intercession. 2

God has been pleased by sensible effects to testify how much he is honored
by the devotion of the faithful to this saint, who was the great model of virtue
to all engaged in the married state, and charged with the education of
children. It was a sublime dignity and a great honor for this saint to give
to a lost world the advocate of mercy, and to be parent of the mother of God.
But it was a far greater happiness to be, under God, the greatest instrument
of her virtue, and to be spiritually her mother by a holy education in perfect
innocence and sanctity. St. Anne, being herself a vessel of grace, not by
name only, but by the possession of that rich treasure, was chosen by God
to form his most beloved spouse to perfect virtue ; and her pious care of this
illustrious daughter was the greatest means of her own sanctification and her
glory in the church of God to the end of ages. It is a lesson to all parents
whose principal duty is the holy education of their children. By this they
glorify their Creator, perpetuate his honor on earth to future ages, and
sanctify their own souls. St. Paul says, that it is by the education of their
children that parents are to be saved. 3 Nor will he allow any one who has
had children, ever to be admitted to serve the altar, whose sons do not, by
their holy conduct, give proofs of a virtuous education. Nevertheless, we
see parents solicitous about the corporal qualifications of their children, and
earnest to procure them an establishment in the world ; yet supinely care-
less in purchasing them virtue, in which alone their true happiness consists.
This reflection drew tears from Crates, a heathen philosopher, who desired
to mount on the highest place in his city and cry out, with all his strength :
" Citizens, what is it you think of? You employ all your time in heaping
up riches to leave to your children ; yet take no care to cultivate their souls
with virtue, as if an estate were more precious than themselves." 4

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