Today, 26 Jul 2012, is the happy feast day of St Anne, the woman especially chosen by God to be the mother of the Immaculate Virgin Mary. What an awesome responsibility was hers: to co-operate with God in the nurturing and education of the one who was to become the mother of Jesus.
Although in my quest for 2012 to study the Saints named after St Bartholomew the Apostle I should be writing about St Bartholomea Capitanio, it would be very wrong of me not to pay due and high honour to my Confirmation patron, St Anne, today. So in a bit over a week’s time I’ll write about St Bartholomea.
Choosing a Confirmation patron Saint wasn’t easy, particularly since in those days you couldn’t take any of your baptismal name Saints. Given that my parents had chosen so well for me all the St Catherines and Our Lady herself, finding anyone who inspired me just as much wasn’t easy. Eventually the choice rested upon St Anne, and an excellent patron she has been in many surprising ways.
We know that St Anne and her husband St Joachim were both very holy, and yet suffered for many years not being able to have children. When God did bless their prayers, He gave them the Immaculate One who was to become the mother of His Son, Jesus. When Mary was still young, about 3 years old, they made the immense sacrifice of presenting her to the Temple and God’s service as did Hannah with Samuel so many centuries before.
The tender and intimate love between this mother, Anne, and her child, Mary, has not stopped in heaven. If we wish to love our Lady better, let us ask St Anne for help.
It is said that Our Lady once appeared and requested an Our Father and Hail Mary in honour of St Anne after the recitation of the Rosary. She said, ‘those who honour St Anne will obtain great aid in every need, especially at the hour of death’. To another person Our Lady said, ‘The honour you show to my mother is doubly dear and pleasing to me.’ Great saints such as St Augustine, St John Damascene, St Thomas Aquinas, St Theresa of Avila and St Bridget all encouraged devotion to St Anne.
Novena to Saint Anne
Remember O holy mother, St Anne, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession was left unaided, for you are a most merciful mother, and you aid all who are in distress. Inspired by this confidence I take refuge in you, and beseech you by your great prerogative of being the mother of the Queen of Heaven and grand-parent of the Saviour of the world, to come to my aid with your powerful intercession, and obtain from your Immaculate Daughter this favour I seek……………..
In honour of the nine months during which you carried the ever Blessed Virgin in your womb, and whom you brought forth without stain of original sin, I now offer up these nine Hail Marys, which I offer you through my guardian angel. Amen.
Hail Mary… x 9
O holy mother, St Anne, so rich in graces that you will never leave unheard the pleadings and tears of a mother who invokes you for a wayward child. You indeed 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. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. Hail Mary… x 3