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In these tumultuous times, are there some days you feel like you could use some extra help from the saints? This is not to diminish prayers to our Lord or our Blessed Mother or any particular saint by any means, but these prayers below ask for help from a very special intercessor: Jesus’ grandmother, St. Anne, whose feast day is July 26th! This first prayer is a prayer of Petition to St. Anne:
With a heart full of sincere and childlike love, I venerate you, good Saint Anne. You are that beloved and favored creature who, because of extraordinary virtue and sanctity, received from God the great privilege of giving life to Mary, full of grace and blessed among women, the Mother of the Incarnate Lord.
Because of such great favors, be pleased to receive me among the number of your devoted servants, for such I claim to be and wish to remain for the rest of my life. Keep me in your loving protection, and obtain for me from God the grace to imitate those virtues with which you were so gloriously adorned.
Help me to know my sins and to be truly sorry for them. Obtain for me an ardent love for Jesus and Mary. Aid me in observing the duties of my state of life faithfully and constantly. Protect me from all dangers in life, and assist me at the hour of my death so that I may safely reach heaven, there to praise together with you, most blessed mother, the Word of God made man in the womb of your most pure daughter, the Blessed Virgin Mary. Amen.
Finish with an Our Father, a Hail Mary, and the Glory Be 3 times
We also have this Novena Prayer to St. Anne to obtain some special favor:
O Glorious St. Anne, filled with compassion for those who invoke thee and with love for those who suffer, heavily laden with the weight of my troubles, I cast myself at thy feet and humbly beg of thee to take under thy special protection the present affair which I commend to thee. (Here you state your petition)
Be pleased to commend it to thy daughter, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and lay it before the throne of Jesus, so that He may bring it to a happy outcome. 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 thee and Mary and all the Saints, of praising and blessing Him for all eternity. Amen.
Good St. Anne, mother of her who is our life, our sweetness, and our hope, pray to her for us and obtain our request. (Say three times)
Good St. Anne, pray for us. Jesus, Mary, Anne
(Note how that last line echoes the same description of our Blessed Mother found in the prayer Hail Holy Queen.)
While St. Anne is not mentioned in any of the Gospel accounts, she is a powerful enough intercessor to have been the source of numerous healings and other such miracles.
The Basilica of St. Anne de Beaupre, located 19 miles northeast of Quebec City in Canada, gives a striking testament to her therapeutic power. Besides housing three first class relics of St. Anne (bones from her finger and forearm) the Basilica also has a considerable number of crutches. And keep in mind this special church doesn’t double as a medical supply house!
These previously belonged to those healed from various ailments by appealing to St. Anne for help, quite successfully for miraculous restoration from their crippling impairments, often in their legs.
Other examples of the intercessory power of this great saint have been a three year old girl cured of blindness, another woman completely cured of fractures in her arm in which gangrene had set in, and even the full miraculous cure of a candidate for a religious order who had a hemorrhage in her lungs!
There are a number of other credible stories of her wonderful intercession in an informative booklet from Amazon’s Kindle version entitled Good St. Anne, which contains background information on the life of St. Anne and her husband St. Joachim as well. (There is also an excellent booklet published by Tan Books with the same title that covers St. Anne with other details about veneration to her, her miracles and some prayers.)
It is worth noting that, in addition to the Shrine at the St. Anne de Beaupre Basilica in Quebec City, Canada, there are also shrines to St. Anne located in, among other places, Illinois, Vermont, and a special one, at the St. Jean Baptiste Catholic Church in New York City!
There is further corroboration of the details of the lives of Sts. Anne and Joachim in Raphael Brown’s compendium of various mystical accounts entitled The Life of Mary as Seen By the Mystics, which includes church approved private revelations given by our Blessed Mother to Anne Catherine Emmerich, Ven. Mary of Agreda, St. Bridget of Sweden, and St. Elizabeth Schoenau.
As a reminder we are not required as Catholics to believe any details in such accounts but they do provide some great food for thought in Rosary meditations and various mental prayer sessions nonetheless.
Apparently St. Anne and St. Joachim showed admirable patience and sanctity, and indeed endurance in waiting 20 years before being blessed with our Blessed Mother, who was indeed conceived without the stain of Original Sin, as we all know, those concupiscent and otherwise harmful inclinations towards sin that have been the scourge of humanity since our first parents Adam and Eve were exiled from the Garden of Eden having eaten from the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil.
Why endurance? Sts. Anne and Joachim were ostracized by many Israelites over the years as being unworthy in God’s eyes because of their being childless. Nonetheless they showed great perseverance in prayer and, far from being unworthy, God granted them the immense honor of being the parents of the mother of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
And, in a manner suggestive of the great news of the Annunciation years later, apparently, according to Brown’s account from the mystics it was the angel Gabriel who told St. Anne about this.
She was praying fervently for the coming of the Messiah when, as Brown put it “Just then the Archangel Gabriel suddenly appeared before her in a resplendent human form and declared: ‘Ann, servant of God. The Lord has heard thy petitions. If He delays their fulfillment, it is in order to prepare thee and to give thee much more than thou askest. The Most High has resolved to give thee and Joachim holy and wonderful fruit, for those who pray to Him in humble confidence are most agreeable to Him. Now He sends me to give thee joyful news: He chooses thee to be the mother of her who is to give birth to the Redeemer of mankind! Thou shalt bring forth a daughter and she shall be called Mary. She shall be blessed among women and filled with the Holy Ghost’.”
Mary’s extraordinary sanctity is noted not just by Brown, but by St. Alphonsus Liguori as well in his book The Glories of Mary. He relates that “Mary was born a saint, and a great saint; for the grace with which God enriched her from the beginning was great, and the fidelity with which she immediately corresponded to it was great.”
Mary was presented in the Jerusalem Temple at the tender age of three, and, having been conceived without sin, embraced a life of great Holiness and humility in devotion to God. Mary spent the next ten years of her life in prayer, instruction and service there.
St. Ann, bidding farewell to her daughter at her Presentation said, as if speaking prophetically about her future grandson Jesus “the Ark of the Covenant is now in the Temple”.
Indeed, in His earthly ministry, as in the Sermon on the Mount Christ would bring in the New Covenant. Whereas the Old Covenant applied to the earthly kingdom of Israel, Jesus’ New Covenant, spelled out in His Sermon on the Mount (Matt Chs. 5-7) would apply for all nations to share in God’s blessing. As the editors of the Ignatius Study Bible put it so well “Inwardly, the New Covenant penetrates to the heart; it reaches within to govern personal and private life by a maximal standard of holiness. As the Old Covenant formed virtuous citizens in Israel, so the New Covenant generates saints in the Church”
We are truly blessed in having St. Anne, the mother of our Blessed Mother and Grandmother of Jesus as a powerful intercessor for us in various trials.
The anonymous author of the Amazon Kindle version of Good Saint Anne wrote “St. Anne sees in us the flesh, blood and members of Jesus her God and her Grandson. She ardently desires to see us delivered from the evils and dangers of this life, and united to Jesus, Mary, and herself.” And on that comforting, inspiring note, don’t be afraid to ask St. Anne for her help, and honor her in your prayers!