Today is the feast of St. Anne who had the supreme privilege of being the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the womb of St. Anne sprung the life of the Immaculate Conception; who, in turn, brought forth our life, Jesus Christ. St. Anne is the model of Catholic mother and grandmother. These two vocations, that of mother and grandmother, are often under attack in our materialistic, atheistic age; but Catholics follow Catholic teaching which instructs us to honor mothers and grandmothers. So, on this day, the Church honors St. Anne, who, the lesson at Mass* likens to the valiant Proverbs 31 woman:
“Who shall find a valiant woman? far, and from the uttermost coasts is the price of her. The heart of her husband trusteth in her, and he shall have no need of spoils. She will render him good, and not evil all the days of her life. She hath sought wool and flax, and hath wrought by the counsel of her hands. She is like the merchant’s ship, she bringeth her bread from afar. And she hath risen in the night, and given a prey to her household, and victuals to her maidens. She hath considered a field, and bought it: with the fruit of her hands she hath planted a vineyard. She hath girded her loins with strength, and hath strengthened her arm. She hath tasted, and seen that her traffic is good: her lamp shall not be put out in the night. She hath put out her hand to strong things, and her fingers have taken hold of the spindle. She hath opened her hand to the needy, and stretched out her hands to the poor. She shall not fear for her house in the cold of snow: for all her domestics are clothed with double garments. She hath made for herself clothing of tapestry: fine linen, and purple, is her covering. Her husband is honourable in the gates, when he sitteth among the senators of the land. She made fine linen, and sold it, and delivered a girdle to the Chanaanite. Strength and beauty are her clothing, and she shall laugh in the latter day. She hath opened her mouth to wisdom, and the law of clemency is on her tongue. She hath looked well on the paths of her house, and hath not eaten her bread idle. Her children rose up, and called her blessed: her husband, and he praised her. Many daughters have gathered together riches: thou hast surpassed them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: the woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands: and let her works praise her in the gates.” Prov. 31:10-31
“Give her of the fruit of her hands: and let her works praise her in the gates.”
St. Anne’s fruit is the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mother and Queen. Her works are the duties of her family life which she faithfully performed. Thankfully, St. Anne continues her work by interceding in Heaven. The Church has made St. Anne the patron of mothers, grandmothers, expectant mothers, against sterility, childless people, housewives, against poverty, and more (source).
The following are two traditional prayers which are prayed to St. Anne. The first is the Prayer for a Wayward Child:
O holy mother, Saint Anne, so rich in graces, you will never leave unheard the pleadings and tears of a mother who invokes you for a wayward child. Lo! You know my grief and the anguish of my heart. Look down with your maternal eyes upon this poor erring child, and bring it back upon the way of salvation that it may again serve God faithfully and obtain eternal happiness. I ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Hail Mary, three times.
The second is a prayer to St. Anne for a special need:
Glorious Saint Anne, filled with compassion for those who invoke you, and with love for those who suffer, heavily laden with the weight of my troubles, I cast myself at your feet, and humbly beg of you to take the present affair which I recommend to you under your special protection.
Vouchsafe to commend it to your Daughter, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and lay it before the throne of Jesus, so that He may bring it to a happy issue. Cease not to intercede for me until my request is granted. Above all, obtain for me the grace of one day beholding my God face to face, and with you and Mary and all the saints praising and blessing Him for all eternity. Amen.
Good Saint Anne, Mother of her who is our life, our sweetness and our hope, pray to her for us, and obtain our request. (Three times).
There has been much written about St. Anne including this:
“The famous and learned Abbot Trithemius practiced an extraordinary devotion to St. Anne and did all in his power to induce others to venerate her. He wrote a book in her praise in which he says: ‘To St. Anne God has given the power to aid in every necessity, because Jesus, her Divine Grandchild according to the flesh, will refuse her no petition, and Mary, her glorious daughter, supports her every request. Those who venerate good St. Anne shall want for nothing, either in this life or the next. Believe me, if you love and venerate this Saint, you will experience how highly God esteems her. He grants all she asks! It would be impossible to enumerate the many graces she obtains daily for her servants.’
The same writer continues: ‘St. Anne by her intercession dispels melancholy and evil desires. She also aids the poor, cures the sick and comforts the sorrowing. She removes tribulations and by her intercession obtains for her clients the grace to eradicate vice and implant virtue. She obtains light for the intellect, strength for the will and affection for the heart. This powerful Saint has preserved thousands from contagious diseases. Through her intercession, evil spirits have been expelled. For the barren in the married state, she obtains children and Heavenly assistance in delivery. She inspires the despairing with trust in God’s mercy and excites the tepid to zeal and fervor. St. Anne has rescued many from imminent death; yes, through her intercession the dead have, in several instances, been restored to life. Those who worthily venerate St. Anne can obtain aid in every necessity through her mediation.'” (source)
“Those who worthily venerate St. Anne can obtain aid in every necessity through her mediation.”
The post communion prayer* today at Mass is: “We are given new life through Your Divine Sacraments, O Lord our God. Grant us eternal salvation through the intercession of blessed Anne, whom You chose to bear the Mother of Your Son. Through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord.”
Yes, may our valiant grandmother, pray for us.
If such a valiant woman is holding us, as she held the Child Mary, all will be well.
~Image: 15th century Greek icon of St. Anne holding her daughter, the Blessed Virgin Mary; source.
~And, a happy feast day to the many Annes associated with The Marian Room. May you, and your families, have a lovely feast day!