Thursday, July 26, 2012

Saints Joachim and Anne

Saint Joachim and Saint Anne are the parents of Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ and were privileged to be the grandparents of Jesus Christ. What we know about Mary's parents come from the Gospel of James. It is not part of the Bible, but the document, which was written around 170 AD gives insight into the life of Mary and her parents. Joachim was a prominent and respected man, and is described as a rich and pious man of the house of David who regularly gave to the poor. However, as his wife was barren, the high priest rejected Joachim and his sacrifice, as his wife's childlessness was interpreted as a sign of divine displeasure. Joachim consequently withdrew to the desert where he fasted and did penance for forty days.
Angels then appeared to both Joachim and Anne to promise them a child. Joachim later returned to Jerusalem and embraced Anne at the city gate, a traditional meeting that is frequently painted and reproduced in art. In an answer to his prayers, he and Anne, his wife, were given the daughter Mary, who was conceived without sin, a virtue we remember also on December 8, her Immaculate Conception. Their prayers were answered greater than they could have ever imagined!
Joachim and Anne embracing each other at the gate.
There is a great Shrine to St. Anne in Canada which is a site of constant miracles. Cripples have entered the Shrine on crutches and left by walking through the door as they were completely healed. Another Shrine is in Britanny, France. There is also a church of St. Anne in Jerusalem, and it’s believed to have been built on the location where Saints Joachim and Anne lived.
The feast of St Joachim and Anne was introduced to the liturgical celebration in 1584, for celebration on March 20, the day after the feast day of Saint Joseph. Early in the 20th century Pope Pius X transferred it to August 16, the day after the Assumption, so that Joachim may be remembered in the celebration of Mary's triumph. St Anne is the patron saint of barren women, grandparents; homemakers; housewives; pregnant women; women in labor; Brittany, France and Quebec, Canada; archdiocese of Detroit, Michigan; diocese of Norwich, Connecticut; New Mexico. St Joachim is also the patron of grandfathers and fathers.

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