St. Anne, the mother of Our Lady, is the heavenly patron of our church. Her feast is celebrated every year on July 26.
Anne (also spelled “Ann” or “Anna”) was the wife of Joachim and the mother of Mary. She is the grandmother of our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Her name means “grace” or the “gracious one” or “the loving one.”
She was born in Bethlehem but soon after moved to Sephoris near Nazareth where she later met and married her husband, Joachim. Although they were quite wealthy, they lived modestly and gave much of their wealth to the poor.
They wanted a child but would have to wait many years until Mary was immaculately conceived. According to tradition (there is no mention of her in Scripture), the Archangel Gabriel appeared to her after years of prayer and sacrifice to announce she would be the mother of a daughter and she would be called Mary who would then give birth to the Redeemer of mankind.
When Mary was 3 years old, Anne and Joachim brought her to the Temple in Jerusalem where she was dedicated to serve God. The child they so dearly loved and prayed for was no longer theirs to raise but she was offered to God in the Temple to serve Him.
Thus Anne was left childless in her old age and deprived of her purest earthly joy. The holiest parents on earth could not, in the plan of God, raise this child they had so long waited for. St. Anne and St. Joachim humbly adored the Divine Will of God and continued to pray and sacrifice until God called them to their unending rest.
She was canonized in 1584 and is the Patron Saint of Women in Labor and a spiritual instrument called on to evoke divine assistance to various causes.
Simplicity is the secret by which we gain St. Anne’s love, her intercession and her protection. She taught her Blessed Daughter to read the Holy Scripture, seeing in her the fulfillment of all its prophesies.
The first Catholic Church in Detroit celebrated its first Mass in 1701 on the feast day of St. Anne and was named for the mother of Mary. It is today the second oldest Catholic parish in America and it was assumed St. Anne to have been the patron saint of Detroit. However, in 2011, the Vatican officially recognized St. Anne as the patron saint of the Archdiocese of Detroit.
Countless churches have been dedicated to St. Anne all over the world. We are privileged here at St. Anne’s in Livonia to be one of those churches.