Saint Anne, also known as Anne of David, was the mother of the Virgin Mary and the grandmother of Jesus. She is venerated as a saint in the Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican Churches. She is the patron saint of married women, women in labor, miners, and homemakers, among other things.
Little is known about Saint Anne's life, as the information available about her comes primarily from the apocryphal Gospel of James, which was written in the 2nd century. According to this text, Anne was married to Joachim, and they were both advanced in years when they finally had a child, the Virgin Mary. The story of their infertility and eventual conception of Mary is a popular subject in Christian art.
Saint Anne is first mentioned in the writings of early Christian writers like Justin Martyr, who wrote around the year 150, and Tertullian, who wrote around the year 200. From early Christian times, the devotion to Saint Anne was deeply rooted in the East and in the West. She was revered as the patroness of mothers, women, the poor, the sick and travelers.
The Feast of Saint Anne is celebrated on July 26th, and it is a holy day of obligation in the Catholic Church. Her feast day is also celebrated in many Orthodox and Anglican churches. On this day, people gather to pray and give thanks for the blessings in their lives and to ask for Saint Anne's intercession.
Some interesting and lesser-known facts about Saint Anne include:
- Saint Anne is the patron saint of Brittany, where a famous pilgrimage site and basilica dedicated to her is located.
- According to tradition, Saint Anne was born in Bethlehem and died in Jerusalem.
- In the Middle Ages, Saint Anne was often depicted as teaching Mary to read, as education was often associated with mothers.
- Saint Anne was canonized a saint by the Catholic Church, but there is no official date for this, as the process of canonization was not yet formalized at that time.
- There are a number of churches, chapels and other places of worship dedicated to Saint Anne throughout the world.
Although there are no reliable historical records about Saint Anne’s birth and death, she has been honored for centuries and widely celebrated in Christian tradition as the mother of the blessed virgin Mary and the grandmother of Jesus Christ.