St Anne, Mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Veneration of St Anne is closely allied to veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The feasts of Mary's Nativity and Presentation are in reality feasts of St Anne, as all praises referring to the daughter are directed also to the mother. Mary surpasses all the faithful in veneration, esteem and in tender and filial love for her holy mother. While Anne and Mary lived on earth, the bond of love that united their hearts was most ardent and intimate. Nor has this bond been dissolved in Heaven. Rather, it has been drawn still closer and has become indissoluble for all eternity. Mary once appeared to one of her clients and said: “Those who honour St Anne, will obtain great aid in every need, especially at the hour of death.” If we wish to give Mary special joy then, let us fervently venerate St Anne, for every child is pleased to see her mother honoured.

How the Saints honoured St Anne

St John Damascene, a Doctor of the Church was most ardently devoted to St Anne. “St Anne,” he declares, “is a generous mother, a compassionate mother, a gracious mother, because the word ‘Anne’ means ‘generous, merciful, gracious”. St Thomas Aquinas, hailed as one of the greatest of intellectuals, a pillar of Holy Church and an angel of wisdom, frequently refers to St Anne and sets forth reasons for honouring her dignity and power. St Teresa of Avila too delighted to speak of St Anne’s dignity and power, and inspired those under her care with a fervent affection for Our Lady’s mother. Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, who bore the sacred stigmata in her body, said, “In desperate cases of need, I always invoke the holy mother Anne.”

The Power of St Anne’s Intercession

Almighty God privileged St Anne above all others in choosing her to be the mother of the Queen of Heaven. Certainly, then, St Anne has great power with God. Yes, assuredly the mother of the most powerful and amiable Virgin is likewise full of power and mercy. Tradition, the history of the Church and the chronicles of various places of pilgrimage have recorded countless miracles wrought by Christ through the intercession of His sainted grandmother. Nor have they ceased to this day. Many are cured of diseases; all are comforted and consoled. The saintly Abbot Trithemius exhorts us: “Approach St Anne, your amiable protectress, with full confidence. Knock at her gates with persevering prayer, because she can obtain for you the forgiveness of your sins and can open Heaven for you. She lacks nothing that can profit you... Believe me, who has already obtained many a favour through her whom the Queen of Heaven honours as her dearest mother... No one knows, no one believes, how many favours God confers on lovers of St Anne!

“I will take away all your grief and sorrow...”

The learned Bollandists relates of a hermit who was especially devoted to the Blessed Virgin but was once seized with bitter anguish of spirit. He fled for refuge to the Queen of Heaven. Radiant with splendour, Mary appeared to him and said: “Since you are lovingly devoted to me, I will take away all your grief and sorrow of soul, but I admonish you, to venerate and praise my dear mother also, if you desire great graces from me. I am highly pleased with the affection accorded to my, beloved mother. Know, too, that my Son, Jesus, has promised to deliver from misfortune all who honour my mother and to assist them in attaining eternal glory. My son, practise this devotion and make it known.” After speaking these words, Mary vanished, leaving a heavenly perfume in the hermit’s cell. He then faithfully complied with the request of the Virgin Mother. From that time on, to every greeting addressed to the Queen of Heaven, he added the prayer: “And blessed be thy sweet mother, Anne, from whom thou didst assume thy virginal flesh.”

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