Saint Anne and Saint Joachim
Saint Anne and Saint Joachim
Parents of Mary
Feast Day: July 26
Patron of: Anne - of Canada, women in childbirth, Christian mothers, Joachim - of fathers
Symbol: door, often depicted with Mary as a child and a book of Scripture
Joachim and Anne were the parents of Mary and the grandparents of Jesus.
The name "Hannah" means grace. In Galilee, where she lived, Mary's mother was probably called "Hannah" even though we know her as Saint Anne. So, if you are named "Hannah" or "Anne" you are named after the mother of Our Blessed Mother.
It was in the womb of Saint Anne that Mary was immaculately conceived. From the first instant of her life, she was in a state of grace and free from all stain of Original Sin. It was her parents, Anne and Joachim that raised her to be faithful to God's word and remain free of sin.
Anne is the patron of Christian mothers, and Joachim the patron of fathers. They were given the great honour and responsibility of raising Mary to be the Mother of God, and can help mothers and fathers today to raise their children to love and follow God too.
Joachim the husband of Saint Anne and the father of the Blessed Virgin Mary, belonged to the tribe of Judah and the house of David. Tradition tells us that he and his wife came from Galilee. They lived in Nazareth and there the Blessed Mother lived.
Anne and Joachim were childless for many years. At the time that they lived, this was considered to be a punishment of God among the Jews. They continued to pray and finally God answered their prayers when the Virgin Mary was born. This was their greatest honour, to be the parent's of Mary, the Mother of God and the Grandparents of Jesus.
The couple offered their little daughter to God in the Temple. As a young girl, she spent time in service to the Temple. working and learning with other girls. But it was problbly her parents who taught her to read, and certainly Joachim and Anne who taught her to love and follow God's word and to know and understand the Scriptures.
When the Angel Gabriel came to her at the Annunciation, Mary knew the prophecies of Jesus' life and death. She knew the full extent of the honour and pain she would experience when she gave her 'fiat.'
Mary loved her mother and father. In this she is a beautiful example for children. Joachim and Anne loved their daughter and followed God's plan in raising her. In this, they are a shining example and intercessors for Christian parents.
Saints Joachim and Anne, both of the tribe of Judah of the royal house of David and venerated by the Church as the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was probably their only child.
There is another Mary mentioned in the Gospels as being the 'sister' of the Mother of God, but this was probably her cousin. Two Marys in one family stretches reason and this was a customary way of designating relatives in the East.
Saint Anne has been honored from early Christian times. Churches were dedicated in her honor, and the Fathers, expecially of the Eastern Churches, loved to speak both of her sanctity and her privileges of being chosen to raise the Mother of God.
Saint Joachim has also been honored from the beginning in the Churches of the East, and since the 6th century, public devotion to him has been observed in all countires. However, we know little about the lives of either Joachim or Anne, since the Gospels are silent on this account.
Some traditions grounded in very old testimonies, tells us that Saints Joachim and Anne in their old age came from Galilee to settle in Jerusalem. As a childless couple, they may have simply wished to spend their old age close to the Temple. But God, in his Wisdom and Mercy, granted them a child, and Mary was born and raised in Jerusalem.
The sainted couple is often depicted with Mary and holding a book of Scriptures, teaching their daughter to read. A church was built in the 4th century, possibly by Saint Helena, on the reputed site of Saint Joachim and Anne's house in Jerusalem.
Lord, God of our fathers, through Saints Joachim and Anne You gave us the Mother of Your Incarnate Son. May their prayers help us to attain the salvation You promised to Your people. Amen.
The illustration above and more information about Saints Anne and Joachim can be found at the Saint Joseph Saint's Index.