Last week, July 26th was the Feast of St. Ann and St. Joachim. It was in the home of Joachim and Ann where our Blessed Virgin Mary received her training to be the Mother of God. Therefore, devotion to Ann and Joachim is an extension of the affection Christians have always extended toward our Blessed Mother. St. Ann has long been honored by the faithful, including by St. Augustine, St. John Damascene, and St. Thomas Aquinas. Indeed, a renowned religious historian, the Italian Cardinal Caesare Baronius, once wrote that
“Veneration of St. Ann is as ancient as the Church itself.”
Although she is not mentioned in the Bible, St. Ann appears in the Protoevangelium of James, a second century account of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s conception, birth and early life. St. Alphonsus Liguori tells us that St. Ann, along with her husband St. Joachim, vowed to consecrate Mary to God’s service in the Temple. The child, conceived in St. Ann’s womb without the stain of Original Sin, in what we refer to as the Immaculate Conception, readily assented at the tender age of three!
St. Teresa of Avila often said “We know and are convinced that our good mother St. Ann helps in all needs, dangers, and tribulations, for our Lord wishes to show us that He will do in Heaven what she asks of Him for us.” Mary herself once said that those who honor her mother “will obtain great aid in every need, especially at the hour of death.”
When we pray a novena to St. Ann we are enlisting the aid of one of our most beloved saints. Many churches and chapels have been dedicated to her, and numerous miracles have been ascribed to her over the centuries. She is the patron saint, of among others, mothers, pregnant women and childless couples as well.
Glorious St. Ann, we think of you as filled with compassion for those who invoke you and with love for those who suffer. Heavily laden with the weight of my troubles, I cast myself at your feet and humbly beg of you to take the present affair which I commend to you under your special protection (name it).
Deign to commend it to your daughter, our Blessed Lady and lay it before the throne of Jesus, so that He may bring it to a happy conclusion. Cease not to intercede for me until my request is granted. Above all, obtain for me the grace of one day beholding my God face to face. With you and Mary and all the saints, may I praise and bless Him for all eternity.
Good St Ann, mother of her who is our life, our sweetness and our hope, pray for me.