"Good St. Anne"
Originally published by the Benedictine Convent of Perpetual Adoration, Clyde, Missouri in 1958. Revised edition published in 1963. Retypeset and re-published by TAN Books and Publishers, Inc. in 1998. Updates and additions made to information on shrines by the Publisher, 1998.TAN BOOKS AND PUBLISHERS
How holy must have been the woman in whom the great mystery of the Immaculate Conception was accomplished! How holy the womb into which the fullness of grace descended, in which the child "full of grace" was conceived and took flesh! Great was the dignity of St. Elizabeth, the mother of St. John the Baptist, who was privileged to have her son sanctified in her womb; but how much greater is the dignity of St. Anne, whose child, by a special prerogative, from the first instant of her conception was preserved from all taint of sin! Holy was the root from which sprouted the tree that bore the holiest Fruit, Jesus. St. Anne's sanctity was increased still more through this wonderful conception: and indeed, how highly must she have been sanctified who bore the Mother of God!
Is it any wonder that St. Jerome praises her in the words: "Anne is the glorious tree from which bloomed a twig under Divine influence. She is the sublime heaven from whose heights the Star of the Sea neared its rising. She is the blessed barren woman, happy mother among mothers, from whose pure womb came forth the shining temple of God, the sanctuary of the Holy Ghost, the Mother of God!"
Yes, great indeed was the privilege and dignity conferred by God on St. Anne in electing her to be the mother of the treasury of all graces! How great must have been St. Anne's joy, how blissful her delight, when, contrary to all hope, she gave birth to a child! And what a child! Never before had earth beheld a child so fair and noble as Anne's infant daughter, "conceived without stain of Original Sin." Never had there been a maternity so rich in blessings as hers-----she who was privileged to call her child by the exalted title of "Mother of God."
Well indeed might St. John Damascene, a great Doctor of the Church, exclaim: "Blessed, thrice blessed art thou, O Saint Anne, who didst receive from God and bring forth the blessed child from whom proceeded Christ, the Flower of life! We congratulate thee, O blessed Anne, on the dignity of being the mother of Mary, for thou hast brought forth our common hope, the germ of Promise! All pious lips bless thee in thy daughter, all languages glorify thy child! Worthy art thou above all praise, worthy of the praise of all who are redeemed, for thou hast given life to her who brought forth our Savior, Jesus Christ."
Even her name "Anne" signifies "gracious, loving" and typifies her sublime destiny. She too had been chosen by God from eternity, and to her, as to her daughter, Mary, may be applied the words: "The Lord possessed me in the beginning of His ways . . . I was set up from eternity." [Prov. 8: 22-23] God prepared St. Anne with magnificent gifts and graces. Of her may be said what St. Bernardine of Siena wrote of St. Joseph: "In the kingdom of grace the universal rule is: If God elects anyone for a special privilege and a sublime state, He bestows on that person all the gifts necessary for his state and adornment."
"Anne was the most chaste of virgins," wrote Mary of Agreda in The Mystical City of God. "From her very childhood, she possessed the fullness of every virtue. She was continually engaged in devout meditation. Her unceasing prayer was that the Redeemer might come soon."
As the works of God are
perfect, it was natural to expect that He should make St. Anne a worthy
mother of that most pure creature who was superior in sanctity to all
and inferior only to God. Had St. Anne not been adorned with angelic
she could not have become the mother of the Virgin of virgins. The
miracle of Mary's Immaculate Conception fittingly took place in St.
In her visions, the servant of God, Anne Catherine Emmerich, beheld St. Anne in ecstasy, enveloped in heavenly splendor and surrounded by a host of Angels at the moment of Mary's Immaculate Conception. She beheld how the heavens opened, and she saw the holy Angels and the Most Holy Trinity rejoice. Equally great was the jubilation at the Blessed Virgin's birth. These are but a few rays of St. Anne's dignity and sanctity.
How long has St. Anne been honored
Baronius, a celebrated ecclesiastical writer, says: "Veneration of St. Anne is as ancient as the Church itself. In the East and in the West, she has been venerated from the beginning." It is related that the Apostles themselves transformed St. Anne's dwelling at Jerusalem into a church. Why is St. Anne one of the most popular Saints of Holy Church? Because of the plenitude of her virtues, the height of her exalted dignity and her close relationship with the holiest of all persons, Jesus and Mary. After St. Joseph, no Saint enjoys such widespread veneration as good St. Anne. It would be impossible to enumerate the churches and chapels dedicated to her and the many places of pilgrimage where, in the course of centuries, manifold favors have been granted and astounding miracles wrought. The number of churches having an altar or image in honor of St. Anne is constantly increasing.
Love and veneration of the faithful for St. Anne is manifested in a practical way by giving the name "Anne" to girls in Baptism. Certainly, after the name of Mary, none is more beautiful. Frequently the two names, Mary and Anne, are combined.