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ST. ANNE – THE PATRON According to the ancient story called “the Gospel of James” Anne the mother of Mary was born in Bethlehem, where years later, Jesus would be born. She married Joachim from Nazareth in Galilee. The couple prospered when they moved to Jerusalem. 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. Years after years 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 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.
God sent an angel to Joachim in dazzling light. The vision frightened him, but the angel said, “Don’t be afraid; I have to tell you that 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 to Sarah, the wife of Abraham, and Hannah 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, Anne not knowing where her husband had gone,grew anxious and afraid. She felt as though she was being punished by God. She began to cry : “Why was I born, O Lord? The birds nest for their young, yet I have no child of my own. I have no infant to hold in my arms”.
Suddenly, the angel of the Lord came to her and said, “Anne,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 Anne conceived and bore a daughter, and called her MARY.
The life of St. Joachim and St. Anne, reminds parents and grandparents of their responsibility to keep up the practice of traditional human values and offer them a promise of hope to future generations. On the other hand, it reminds the young that the greater perspective of the old, their depth of experience and appreciation of life’s profound rhythms are all part of wisdom and not to be ignored or even taken for granted.