WHO WAS ST ANNE..?
Mother of Our Lady, grandmother of Christ...
The name Anne, or Ann, Anna or Hannah, is traditionally given to the mother of Mary, who is the Mother of Jesus. Anne is therefore the grandmother of Jesus. Her husband was called Joachim. Although these two people are not mentioned in the Gospels, it is obvious that Mary must have had parents, so they surely existed. It is not until the second century that any written material about Anne and her husband appears and only some of that amounts to more than pious supposition.
A church was built to honour her in Constantinople by the Emperor Justinian and from there relics of her were taken to Jerusalem and Rome. There are 8th century pictures of her at St Mary Antiqua, the oldest Christian building in the Roman forum. In the 10th centry Anne's feast was being kept in parts of England and Ireland: there is a picture of her among the very faded remains of the 13th century wall paintings at Croughton church, Northants, that escaped total destruction. Naturally, as devotion to Anne's daughter Mary grew, so did interest in Anne. Her greatest shrine in England was at Buxton in Derbyshire which contained a holy well. It was destroyed at the reformation. There remain great shrines to her in Brittany and Canada. St Anne is sometimes shown with her daughter, looking together at a book or scroll as Anne teaches Mary to read. This symbolises a mother's role in educating her child, especially in the ways of faith. Mary, called to be the Mother of Christ, would have had loving parents keen to help her understand and live out her faith in the living God.
Today we continue to honour St Anne as a woman of faith, who in bringing up Mary fulfilled her part in God's plan for the birth of Jesus. We ask that her prayers may strengthen family life, win a blessing for all mothers (and especially grandmothers) and help us all be the people God calls us to be.
A Prayer for St Anne's Help
St Anne, Mother of the Virgin Mary, Grandmother of Jesus, blessed are you! Take us by the hand and turn us towards God, the Father, source of love and life; the Son, Jesus the Redeemer; and the Holy Spirit who lives in our hearts.
Pray with us! Pray for us! Intercede for us who are placed under your patronage!