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Memorial of Sts. Anne and Joachim

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Today is the feastday of our Sr. Ann Miriam of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, CP
Born: October 28, 1925
Professed: November 21, 1955
Died: April 22, 2015

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It was in the home of Joachim and Ann where the Virgin Mary received her training to be the Mother of God.   Thus, devotion to Ann and Joachim is an extension of the affection Christians have always professed toward our Blessed Mother. We, too, owe a debt of gratitude to our parents for their help in our Christian formation.

At one time, July 26 was the feast of St. Ann only, but in the new liturgical calendar the two feasts of the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary have been joined and are celebrated today.  Our information about Mary's parents comes from an apocryphal Christian writing, the Protoevangelium Jacobi (or Gospel of James), written about the year 170.  According to this story, Joachim was a prominent and respected man who had no children, and he and his wife, Ann, looked upon this as a punishment from God. In answer to their prayers, Mary was born and was dedicated to God at a very early age.

From this early Christian writing have come several of the feast days of Mary, particularly the Immaculate Conception, the Nativity of Mary, and her Assumption into Heaven. Very early also came feast days in honor of SS. Joachim and Ann, and in the Middle Ages numerous churches, chapels, and confraternities were dedicated to St. Ann. The couple early became models of Christian marriage, and their meeting at the Golden Gate in Jerusalem has been a favorite subject of Christian artists.

Ann is often shown in paintings with Jesus and Mary and is considered a subject that attracts attention, since Ann is the grandmother of Jesus. Her two great shrines — that of Ste. Anne d'Auray in Britanny, France, and that of Ste. Anne de Beaupre near Quebec in Canada — are very popular.  We know little else about the lives of Mary's parents, but considering the person of Mary, they must have been two very remarkable people to have been given such a daughter and to have played so important a part in the work of the Redemption.

There is a church of St. Anne in Jerusalem and it is believed to be built on the site of the home of Sts. Joachim and Ann, when they lived in Jerusalem.

The One Year Book of Saints by Rev. Clifford Stevens

Patron:
Ann: against poverty; barren; broommakers; cabinetmakers; carpenters; childless couples; equestrians; grandmothers; grandparents; homemakers; housewives; lace makers; lace workers; lost articles; miners; mothers; old-clothes dealers; pregnancy; pregnant women; horse riders; seamstresses; stablemen; sterility; turners; women in labour; Brittany; Canada; France; Quebec; archdiocese of Detroit, Michigan; diocese of Norwich, Connecticut; Santa Ana Indian Pueblo; Taos, New Mexico.

Joachim: fathers, grandfathers, grandparents.

Symbols: 
Ann: Book, symbol of her careful instruction of Mary; flowering rod; crown; nest of young birds; door; Golden Gate of Jerusalem; book; infant Virgin in crib; Shield has silver border masoned in black, with silver lily on a blue field referring to the girlhood of the Virgin. 
Often Portrayed As: Woman holding Mary or Jesus in her arms or lap; Woman at her betrothal to Joachim; Mother teaching Mary to read the Bible; Woman greeting Saint Joachim at Golden Gate; Woman with a book in her hand.

Joachim: Basket containing doves; model of Golden Gate of Jerusalem. 
Often Portrayed As: Man bringing a lamb to the altar and being turned away by the priest; greeting and/or kissing Saint Anne at the Golden Gate; elderly man carrying a basket of doves and a staff; elderly man with the child Mary.

Things to Do:

  • See more about the Shrine of Sainte Anne de Beaupré in Quebec, Canada. Several relics of St. Anne are also located in this shrine. Take a video tour of the Shrine here accompanied by beautiful Gregorian chant.
  • As Joachim and Ann are the grandparents of Jesus, today has traditionally been a day to honor one's grandparents.