Charity registration No. SC002876  
Sunday July 21st. 2013
y tradition Joachim and Anne are considered to be the names of the parents of Mary, the Mother of God. We have no historical evidence, however, of any elements of their lives, including their names. Any stories about Mary's father and mother come to us through legend and tradition. The legend about St. Anne and St. Joachim which comes down to us from the second century says that after years of childlessness, an angel appeared to tell Anne and Joachim that they would have a child.  Anne promised to dedicate this child to God (much the
way that Samuel was dedicated by his mother Hannah in the first book Kings). For those who wonder what we can learn from people about whom we know nothing, and how we can honour them, we must focus on why they are honoured by the Church. Devout and caring parents Whatever their names or the facts of their lives, the truth is that it was the parents of Mary who nurtured, taught her, brought her up to be a worthy Mother of God. It was their teaching that led her to respond to God's request with faith, "Let it be done to me as you will." It was their example of parenting that Mary must have followed as she brought up her own son, Jesus. It was their faith  that laid the foundation of the courage and strength which allowed her to stand by the cross as her son was crucified - and continue believing in Him.   Such saintly parents can be examples and models for all parents. Image of Our Lady’s parents It is difficult to find a good image to represent Our Blessed Lady with her parents, but this reproduction of a stained-glass window gives us a picture of a young girl learning her Scripture and the love of God from her parents.  What better way to portray them? Here in Canada, the Shrine of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, located only 20 minutes from Québec City, welcomes almost a million visitors annually. For hundreds of years, people of all ages have been gathering at this Shrine dedicated to Saint Anne, the mother of Mary, to pray for her intercession. It is a beautiful church, and has been a place of prayer and healing for more than three centuries.  Although there are numerous beautiful artistic masterpieces within the church, the words which captured my attention when I visited were those inscribed in the arch over the sanctuary:  La Grand’mere de Dieu (The Grandmother of God)   Saint Anne is the patron saint of Christian mothers and of women in labour.  She has been honoured in the Eastern Church since the 5th Century, and in the western (Latin) Church since the 12th  century.  Sts. Joachim and Anne, pray for us! I am grateful to Sister Helen Cameron, Guelph, Canada, for writing this lovely article for the feast of St. Joachim and St. Anne.
Feast of St. Joachim and St. Anne — parents of Our Lady, July 26th.
Window in the church of Sainte Anne-de-Beauprė, near Québec,  of Our Lady with her parents, St. Joachim and St. Anne