St Anna was the mother of the Virgin Mary.
St Anna was born in Bethlehem and married St Joachim from Nazareth in Galilee. St Joachim was a shepherd given the task of supplying the great Temple of Jerusalem with sheep for sacrifices. St Anna and St Joachim lived devoutly and quietly, using only a third of their income for themselves and giving a third to the poor and a third to the Temple.
St Joachim and St Anna had been married for many years. Throughout their marriage they longed for a child but remained childless right into their old age. Being childless within the Jewish community was seen back then as a punishment from God. Indeed, when St Joachim and St Anna travelled to Jerusalem to offer sacrifice to God, they were told by the High Priest that they were not worthy to offer sacrifice with their childless hands.
In despair, Joachim took his flock of sheep and went to a high mountain, refusing to return home. St Anna remained home prayed continuously for a child. Their prayers were heard. God sent Archangel Gabriel to each of them with news that St Anna would give birth to “a daughter most blessed, by whom all the nations of the earth will be blessed, and through whom will come the salvation of the world.” Each promised to dedicate their child to God and have her raised in the Temple as a holy vessel of God.
St Anna conceived shortly thereafter and gave birth to the Virgin Mary.
Feast Day: 25 July