Skip to comments.The Life Of Saint Ann[and St.Joachim]
Posted on 07/26/2002 5:02:42 PM PDT by Lady In Blue
Christians, from the earliest times had an interest in knowing more about Jesus' family, especially about his mother and his grandmother. Ann is the name of the Jewish woman who was Jesus' grandmother. Ann is the virgin Mary's mother. We know nothing about Ann from the Bible. A third century greek manuscript called "the revelation of James" tells a fictional story about Mary and her parents Joachim and Ann. The story was probably written around the year 160 a.d. by a non-Jewish Christian.
Since history has not passed on anything extraordinary about the life of Saint Ann it is safe to assume that she led the life of a typical Jewish woman of her time. What we see in many present day third world countries perhaps gives us some insight into the simple way of life of the woman known today as Saint Ann. I myself suppose that she spent much of her time with household chores and the needs of her family. I spent a number of years in Africa and in India, and I noticed that even today in those countries women are very busy from morning to night. You see them early in the morning walking to get water from a river, a well, or some other water supply. You can see them washing their infants, combing a daughter's hair, gathering wood and sticks to make a fire for cooking. During the day, women will gather food from their gardens and go to the town market to buy and sell vegetables, fruits, and dried fish. They assemble at grinding mills with bags of corn or kernels of wheat to have them ground into flour. Often they will perform their daily routine with a child perched on their backs and a few more children at their side. Usually you see women walking along in a small procession of relatives or neighbors. They will prepare an afternoon meal and sometimes bring it to their husbands at work in the fields. They will help raise the chickens, rabbits and goats, will milk the cow, and in the late afternoon when it is cool will go out into the fields along with their husbands to spade and hoe the land, plant seeds, and pick the corn or harvest the rice. When passing a friend or neighbor's house, they'll often stop for tea, or buttermilk, or enjoy some home-made beer or alcoholic beverage.
This daily routine is spiced with moments of great enjoyment and great sadness. There are celebrations for births and marriage, and sad gatherings for times of sickness and death. Nature brings days of hot sun and nights with cool breezes. There are seasons of torrential rain that make the land rich and green and then seemingly endless periods of drought that turn the whole earth into a parched, barren brown wasteland. There are no phones, no TV's, there is a lot of time to sit around as a family, walk over to your neighbor, tell stories, sing songs, and to pray to the God of earth and sky. We must also remember that St Ann was thoroughly Jewish and enjoyed all the cultural, political, and religious customs of Israel. She was a wife and mother and became the proud grandmother of the most beautiful grandson the world has ever known.
According to the ancient story called the "Gospel of James", Ann the mother of Mary, was born in Bethlehem, where, years later, Jesus would be born. She married Joachim from Nazareth in Galilee. Their marriage was blessed in many ways. They loved each other very much and over the years their love only grew stronger. The couple prospered when they moved to Jerusalem. Joachim, a shepherd who owned a large herd of sheep, was given the task of supplying the temple in Jerusalem with sheep for its sacrifices from his flocks, which grazed in the hills nearby the city. Unfortunately, after twenty years of marriage Ann and Joachim had no children. They prayed and prayed, and even vowed to dedicate to God any child they would have. Year after year they entered the Temple to plead with God for help. But no child came. Once, when Joachim went to the Temple for the feast of Dedication, he overheard someone ridiculing him for not being able to father a child. Stung by the remark, he went out into the hill country near Jerusalem where shepherds tended his flocks and cried to God over his disappointment of so many years.
After many days there alone, pouring out the sadness in his heart before God, an angel appeared to Joachim in dazzling light. The vision frightened him, but the angel said: "Don't be afraid. I have come to tell you the Lord has heard your prayers. He knows how good you are and he knows your many years of sorrow for having no child. God will give your wife a child just as he did Sarah, the wife of Abraham, and Anna, the mother of Samuel. Your wife Ann will bear you a daughter. You shall call her Mary and dedicate her to God, for she will be filled with the Holy Spirit from her mother's womb." "I will give you a sign", the angel continued. "Go back to Jerusalem. You will meet your wife at the Golden Gate, and your sorrow will be turned into joy." Meanwhile, Ann, not knowing where her husband had gone, grew anxious and afraid. She, too, was hurt that she had no children and felt as though she were being punished by God. Going into the garden, she noticed some sparrows building a nest in a laurel tree, for it was springtime, and she began to cry: "Why was I born, O Lord? The birds build nests for their young yet I have no child of my own. The animals of the earth, the fish of the sea are fruitful, yet I have nothing. The land produces fruit in due season, but I have no infant to hold in my arms." Suddenly, the angel of the Lord came to her and said, "Ann, the Lord has heard your prayer. You shall conceive a child whom the whole world will praise. Go to the Golden Gate in Jerusalem and meet your husband there." So she quickly went to the city gate. The two met there and embraced, and joyfully shared the news the angel had given them. Returning home, Ann conceived and bore a daughter, and called her Mary. Mary was a common name for Jewish women of the time. The name is derived from Miriam, who was the sister of Moses. Perhaps the Jewish people then, longing for someone like Moses to lead them from their long slavery to foreigners like the Greeks and the Romans, chose that name for so many of their daughters, hoping that a new Moses would come and find another Miriam at his side.
When Mary was three years old, her parents presented her in the Temple in Jerusalem as a gift to the Lord. Their family then lived close by that great center of Jewish life. Even from her first days, Mary as a child seemed to know that her life was to serve God. The temple of God so near her home was a place she loved and there was nowhere else she would rather be. So as a little girl just three years old, her parents watched her ascend the fifteen great steps to the temple courtyard and approach the altar of sacrifice. God was there and she wished to be near him. And that is what her parents, Ann and Joachim wished, that their daughter be near her God. The early story says that mary spent most of her childhood in that holy place.
When Mary was 14, the age Jewish girls married at that time, she wondered what her future would be. Her parents knew their child had a special place in God's plan, but what it was they did not know. They began to arrange for her marriage, as customary in those days, and sought advice from the Jewish high priest himself. After praying for guidance, the high priest called every unmarried man from the tribe of David to come to the temple with a branch from the fields and lay it on the altar. The one whose branch flowered, he decided, would marry Mary. Joseph was among those who came at the high priest's call, but he brought no branch with him. Yet God pointed him out as the one who should be Mary's husband. When Joseph finally placed a branch on the altar, it immediately flowered. The two were betrothed in marriage and Mary returned to her parent's home at Nazareth to wait some months and to prepare for the wedding. While she was there, the angel Gabriel appeared to her and announced that she was to be the mother of Jesus. By the power of the Holy Spirit she conceived the Child. After Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph returned to Nazareth where they would live and bring up their young son. Ann and Joachim visited them there and helped to care for the child. They told Jesus many stories about Adam and Eve, David and Goliath, Moses and the ten commandments. They watched Jesus play and walk, they fed him his favorite meals, bathed him, and gently rocked him to sleep. When Ann and Joachim died, or where, we do not know, none of the ancient stories tell us. But a later tradition says, and we can believe that it is true, that Jesus was with Ann and Joachim when they passed away. The story of Jesus' mother and grandmother as written in the Gospel of James was very popular among early Christians. It had a great influence on Christian worship, art and devotion. Around the year 550 a church in honor of Saint Ann was built in Jerusalem near the temple area on the site where Ann, Joachim and their daughter Mary were believed to have lived. In the 6th century the churches in the East celebrated two Feasts honoring Mary based on the story: Mary's birth and her presentation in the Temple. Since the 7th century the Greek and Russian Churches have celebrated feasts in honor of Saint Joachim and Ann, the conception of Saint Ann, and the feast of Saint Ann. The western churches have celebrated the feast of Saint Ann since the 16th century.
Devotion to Saint Ann grew in Europe through a popular French tradition. The French believed that Mary Magdalene, Lazarus, Martha, and other friends of Jesus crossed the Mediterranean Sea and landed at the southern French city of Marseilles where they spread the news about Jesus' death and resurrection. According to this tradition Mary Magdalene's group brought with them the remains of Saint Ann. According to the legend, the bishop, St Auspice, buried the body of St Ann in a cave under the church of St Mary in Apt. When barbarians invaded that area, the cave was filled with debris, almost to be forgotten until it was dug out by miners 600 years later during the reign of Charlemagne. The Sailors and miners of the region around Marseilles were very devoted to Saint Ann and their devotion spread to other parts of Europe and eventually to the New World. The ancient shrines of St. Ann in Jerusalem and in Apt, France still exist. Saint Ann is the patroness of Britanny in France, a land of sailors. The great shrine of Sainte Anne d'Auray, founded in the 17th century, is one of the largest pilgrimage centers in Europe and is especially popular with the Bretons of France. Settlers from that region brought their devotion to Canada where they established the shrine of Sainte Anne de Beaupre near Quebec in 1658. In 1905 American Passionist Priests and Brothers built a monastery in the mining center of Scranton, Pennsylvania and dedicated their foundation to Saint Ann. The monastery was built over a coal mine. On August 15, 1911 the monastery shook, cracked and split due to a severe mine subsidence. The community of priests moved out. But they had complete confidence that they would be able to come back again. In their words, "Saint Ann will take care of her own." In a short time, with repairs, all was safe and the Passionists returned. Again on July 28, 1913, an even more menacing disturbance took place. A gigantic "squeeze" threatened to slide the whole monastery and church down the hill. Immediately the Passionists and the neighbors prayed for help through the intercession of Saint Ann. The next morning, on an inspection of the mines that run under the monastery, it was found that the slide had suddenly stopped, turned back and settled solidly under the monastery. So started the history of devotion to Saint Ann at Saint Ann's Shrine in Scranton. The magnificent structure which is now Saint Ann's Monastery Church was dedicated on April 2nd, 1929. Here, the weekly Saint Ann's Novena has continued every Monday throughout the years. More than 10,000 people per day attend the annual ten day Saint Ann's Solemn Novena which begins July 17th and ends on July 26th, the feast of Saint Ann.
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This is a painting by Giotto: "The expulsion of Joachim from the temple"
BTTT on 07-26-04
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I don't wish to spam anyone but I have a paper I did for some Patricians last year on St. Ann ... I'll drop it in later tonight, if that's all right.
BTTT for the Memorial of Saints Anne and Joachim, parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary on July 26, 2005!
|Anne (Hebrew, Hannah, grace; also spelled Ann, Anne, Anna) is the traditional name of the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
All our information concerning the names and lives of Sts. Joachim and Anne, the parents of Mary, is derived from apocryphal literature, the Gospel of the Nativity of Mary, Pseudo-Matthew and the Protoevangelium of James. Though the earliest form of the latter, on which directly or indirectly the other two seem to be based, goes back to about A.D. 150, we can hardly accept as beyond doubt its various statements on its sole authority. In the Orient the Protoevangelium had great authority and portions of it were read on the feasts of Mary by the Greeks, Syrians, Copts, and Arabians. In the Occident, however, it was rejected by the Fathers of the Church until its contents were incorporated by Jacobus de Voragine in his "Golden Legend" in the thirteenth century. From that time on the story of St. Anne spread over the West and was amply developed, until St. Anne became one of the most popular saints also of the Latin Church.
The Protoevangelium gives the following account: In Nazareth there lived a rich and pious couple, Joachim and Hannah. They were childless. When on a feast day Joachim presented himself to offer sacrifice in the temple, he was repulsed by a certain Ruben, under the pretext that men without offspring were unworthy to be admitted. Whereupon Joachim, bowed down with grief, did not return home, but went into the mountains to make his plaint to God in solitude. Also Hannah, having learned the reason of the prolonged absence of her husband, cried to the Lord to take away from her the curse of sterility, promising to dedicate her child to the service of God. Their prayers were heard; an angel came to Hannah and said: "Hannah, the Lord has looked upon thy tears; thou shalt conceive and give birth and the fruit of thy womb shall be blessed by all the world". The angel made the same promise to Joachim, who returned to his wife. Hannah gave birth to a daughter whom she called Miriam (Mary). Since this story is apparently a reproduction of the biblical account of the conception of Samuel, whose mother was also called Hannah, even the name of the mother of Mary seems to be doubtful.
The renowned Father John of Eck of Ingolstadt, in a sermon on St. Anne (published at Paris in 1579), pretends to know even the names of the parents St. Anne. He calls them Stollanus and Emerentia. He says that St. Anne was born after Stollanus and Emerentia had been childless for twenty years; that St. Joachim died soon after the presentation of Mary in the temple; that St. Anne then married Cleophas, by whom she became the mother of Mary Cleophf (the wife of Alphfus and mother of the Apostles James the Lesser, Simon and Judas, and of Joseph the Just); after the death of Cleophas she is said to have married Salomas, to whom she bore Maria Salomf (the wife of Zebedfus and mother of the Apostles John and James the Greater). The same spurious legend is found in the writings of Gerson (Opp. III, 59) and of many others. There arose in the sixteenth century an animated controversy over the marriages of St. Anne, in which Baronius and Bellarmin defended her monogamy. The Greek Menfa (25 July) call the parents of St. Anne Mathan and Maria, and relate that Salome and Elizabeth, the mother of St. John the Baptist, were daughters of two sisters of St. Anne. According to Ephiphanius it was maintained even in the fourth century by some enthusiasts that St. Anne conceived without the action of man. This error was revived in the West in the fifteenth century. (Anna concepit per osculum Joachimi.) In 1677 the Holy See condemned the error of Imperiali who taught that St. Anne in the conception and birth of Mary remained virgin (Benedict XIV, De Festis, II, 9). In the Orient the cult of St. Anne can be traced to the fourth century. Justinian I (d. 565) had a church dedicated to her. The canon of the Greek Office of St. Anne was composed by St. Theophanes (d. 817), but older parts of the Office are ascribed to Anatolius of Byzantium (d. 458). Her feast is celebrated in the East on the 25th day of July, which may be the day of the dedication of her first church at Constantinople or the anniversary of the arrival of her supposed relics in Constantinople (710). It is found in the oldest liturgical document of the Greek Church, the Calendar of Constantinople (first half of the eighth century). The Greeks keep a collective feast of St. Joachim and St. Anne on the 9th of September. In the Latin Church St. Anne was not venerated, except, perhaps, in the south of France, before the thirteenth century. Her picture, painted in the eighth century, which was found lately in the church of Santa Maria Antiqua in Rome, owes its origin to Byzantine influence. Her feast, under the influence of the "Golden Legend", is first found (26 July) in the thirteenth century, e.g. at Douai (in 1291), where a foot of St. Anne was venerated (feast of translation, 16 September). It was introduced in England by Urban VI, 21 November, 1378, from which time it spread all over the Western Church. It was extended to the universal Latin Church in 1584.
The supposed relics of St. Anne were brought from the Holy Land to Constantinople in 710 and were still kept there in the church of St. Sophia in 1333. The tradition of the church of Apt in southern France pretends that the body of St. Anne was brought to Apt by St. Lazarus, the friend of Christ, was hidden by St. Auspicius (d. 398), and found again during the reign of Charlemagne (feast, Monday after the octave of Easter); these relics were brought to a magnificent chapel in 1664 (feast, 4 May). The head of St. Anne was kept at Mainz up to 1510, when it was stolen and brought to Düren in Rheinland. St. Anne is the patroness of Brittany. Her miraculous picture (feast, 7 March) is venerated at Notre Dame d'Auray, Diocese of Vannes. Also in Canada, where she is the principal patron of the province of Quebec, the shrine of St. Anne de Beaupri is well known. St. Anne is patroness of women in labour; she is represented holding the Blessed Virgin Mary in her lap, who again carries on her arm the child Jesus. She is also patroness of miners, Christ being compared to gold, Mary to silver.
Frederick G. Holweck
|SAINT JOACHIM, FATHER OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN|
|Feast: July 26
|Nothing is known of St. Joachim save what is told in apocryphal literature. He was a man of Galilee, husband of Anne, and both he and Anne were in the decline of life when Mary was born. Tradition relates that while Joachim was away from home he had a vision that Anne was to be blessed with a child, and that on his return home, his wife ran forth to tell of the visitation of an angel who had revealed to her the same good tidings. There was ancient belief that a child born of an elderly mother who had given up hope of having offspring was destined for some high purpose and would be blessed by all the world. Parallels occur in the Old Testament in the cases of Rachel, mother of Joseph, and that of Hannah, mother of Samuel. The traditional tomb of St. Anne and St. Joachim was rediscovered in Jerusalem in 1889.
Saint Joachim, Father of the Blessed Virgin. Scriptural Saint. Celebration of Feast Day is July 26. Taken from "Lives of Saints", Published by John J. Crawley & Co., Inc.
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