Mother of the Mother of God: Why You Should Have a Devotion to St. Anne
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July 26th is the feast of St. Anne, grandmother of Jesus and mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Although the Bible says nothing of her, devotion to St. Anne runs deep in both the Eastern and Western Churches’ traditions. What we know comes from apocryphal tradition, i.e., from ancient texts that were not included in the authoritative canon of the Bible.
But, as with so many other “extra-scriptural” aspects of our faith, devotions are like beautiful decorations, comforts, touchstones in the annual cycle of the Liturgical Calendar. It is humanizing for us (who need all the help we can get) to cultivate friendships and recourse to the saints. And who wouldn’t want a relationship with The Ultimate Jewish Grandmother?
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Saint Anne is a powerful intercessor, combining the fortitude of age and the tender solicitude of motherhood and grandmotherhood. How sweet must she have been, the mother of our life, our sweetness and our hope, as we describe Mary, herself, in the beautiful Hail, Holy Queen! Here are just a few ways we can relate to St. Anne and beg her intercession, mother of the mother of God, grandmother of Jesus.
1. Intercessor for vocations
St. Anne is like the dark, fertile soil from which vows, promises, and commitments are made. Ask her to pray for you to hear God’s call to your particular vocation. Ask her to lead you gently towards His will and to protect you – as she protected her own daughter – until God’s will is manifest. If you are called to marriage, invoke St. Anne’s intercession to find your future spouse and to fortify him or her in virtue, that you might be ready to see, to love, and to commit to each other. Ask her to protect and strengthen you in your vocation if it’s already decided.
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2. Intercessor for children and grandchildren
In these fraught times, mothers and grandmothers naturally worry about the well-being of children. As with St. Monica, St. Anne is a wonderful go-between for the prayers to God on behalf of your children and grandchildren. From her special vantage point in heaven, she sees your worries and the dangers faced by young people, but she is firmly anchored in the peace and promises of God and Our Lady to take care of all the little ones.
3. Intercessor for wives and mothers
As a wife or mother, you can turn to St. Anne, faithful spouse of St. Joachim, for help in carrying out your duties virtuously. For men as husbands and/or sons, ask St. Anne to help you love your wife or mother better. She is the wisest and kindest of intercessors after the Blessed Virgin Mary, and she desires to intercede for families in these days of great threats against the family.
4. Intercessor for expectant mothers
According to tradition, Sts. Anne and Joachim prayed fervently for many years for the gift of a baby before the arrival of Mary, the Immaculate Conception. Like any loving grandmother, St. Anne is eager to pray for pregnant mothers, for safe pregnancies and deliveries.
5. Intercessor for workers
As traditional patroness of miners, St. Anne’s care for those particularly in dangerous lines of work is a natural association for us, today. St. Anne, watch over those who take physical risks to provide the rest of us with our various needs and comforts. We thank God for them and place them under your special protection.
6. Intercessor for the elderly
It is said that St. Anne was quite elderly by the time she and St. Joachim were blessed with a child. In an age when the elderly are often shunted out of sight, whether into distant nursing homes or – worse – euthanized for lack of “usefulness,” St. Anne reminds us of the wisdom, love, and being-vs-doing beauty of the gift of old age. Ask her to pray for your own elderly relatives, neighbors, and especially for those who have been abandoned and have no one to visit or pray for them.
7. Intercessor for those without children
St. Anne has a heart for the childless. Her fidelity through years of unanswered prayers for a child reminds us that God always knows, always loves, and never abandons us. Whether in sadness, in loneliness, in regret, turn to St. Anne for comfort and company. Pray to her for the children who’ve been abandoned in these godless times, for the victims of abortion, and for orphans. God has an important job for you, even if it is not biological or adoptive parenthood. Ask St. Anne to help you to discern and desire that unique job for His greater glory.
8. Intercessor for patience
In a “culture of now,” St. Anne can help us to wait patiently. Conditioned as we are to receive instant gratification at the click of a button or the swipe of a credit card, we all need help in slowing down, resting and sitting still. Ask her to teach you to grow in gentleness and patience, after her example.
9. Intercessor for those trying to conceive
If waiting in hope and fidelity to prayer can end in the world’s greatest gift to humanity – the Theotokos – then we who pray for the gift of a baby in our marriages can persevere in hope and beg her intercession. Good Saint Anne, take our prayers to Mary, your beloved daughter, and to Jesus, Our Lord, for the joyful gift of a child, for the greater glory of God and for the hope and promotion of Christian family life.
Litany of St Anne
Lord have mercy on us. Christ have mercy on us. Lord have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, Queen of Angels and Saints, Pray for us.
St. Anne, instrument of the Holy Ghost, Pray for us.
St. Anne, faithful spouse of St. Joachim, Pray for us.
St. Anne, mirror of the married, Pray for us.
St. Anne, example of widows, Pray for us.
St. Anne, miracle of patience, Pray for us.
St. Anne, mother of confidence, Pray for us.
St. Anne, mother of constancy, Pray for us.
St. Anne, mother of prayer, Pray for us.
St. Anne, mother of blessing, Pray for us.
St. Anne, vessel of sanctity, Pray for us.
St. Anne, merciful mother, Pray for us.
St. Anne, comforter of the afflicted, Pray for us.
St. Anne, help of the poor, Pray for us.
St. Anne, protector of virgins, Pray for us.
St. Anne, support of the oppressed, Pray for us.
St. Anne, refuge of thy clients, Pray for us.
We sinners, We beseech thee, hear us.
Through thy love for Jesus and Mary, We beseech thee, hear us.
Through thy virtues and merits, We beseech thee, hear us.
Through thy goodness and mercy, We beseech thee, hear us.
Through thy compassion and charity, We beseech thee, hear us.
Through the graces bestowed on thee by God, We beseech thee, hear us.
Through the joys thou didst experience with Jesus and Mary, We beseech thee, hear us.
Through the happiness thou dost enjoy for all eternity, We beseech thee, hear us.
Through the honor given thee by the Saints in Heaven, We beseech thee, hear us.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.
V. Pray for us, St. Anne,
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray.
O God, Who didst vouchsafe to endow blessed Anne with grace so that she might be worthy to become the mother of her who brought forth Thine only-begotten Son, mercifully grant that we who devoutly venerate her memory may also be helped by her powerful intercession. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.