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What do we know about Saint Anne? It is true that Holy Scripture reports nothing on her life, that we look for her name there in vain. But we know that Saint Anne is the mother of Mary and the grandmother of Christ. That alone is a source of inexhaustible significance.

We also know–and this with great certainty–the main episodes of Saint Anne’s earthly life. These have been gathered from various apocryphal sources, some of which dating back to the very beginning of Christianity (the ProtoEvangelium of Saint James is from the year 150 A.D.).

Birth, Childhood, and Marriage of Saint Anne

In the land of Judea, fifty years before the coming of Christ, there lived a husband and wife of great virtue. Their names were Stolan and Emerentiana. They lived the lives of fervent Israelites, faithful to the prescriptions of the Law of Moses. Their most ardent prayer to God was that they would soon rejoice in the coming of the Desired of all Nations, the heavenly Messiah of Whom the Patriarchs and Prophets had spoken, and Whose coming was at hand.Soon there was born to them a daughter whom they named Anne, which means all gracious, all beautiful. The child began, from the first dawn of reason, to live her name, inspired as it was by Heaven. Docile and attentive to her parents, gentle and kind towards her playmates, at once lively and devout, it was clear that God had great plans for her.

As the charming maiden grew older, many young men sought her hand in marriage. But all these advances she refused, until she was reverently approached by a young man named Joachim. Like her, he was of the royal house of David, and also like her, he was virtuous and just. By Divine inspiration she knew that God had chosen him as her spouse.

According to the Hebrew custom, Saint Anne could only have been fourteen or fifteen years old when she was betrothed to Saint Joachim, for this was the age at which the daughters of Israel usually married. Thus it was common for a woman to be a grandmother at the age of thirty. Joachim’s young wife left her father’s home and endeavored, by her love and devotedness, to make her own home a happy one.

Trial in the Life of Saint Anne


In spite of their frequent prayers and exceptionally virtuous lives, Anne and Joachim were childless. For the Israelites, the privilege of motherhood was sharing in the blessing which the Lord bestowed on Abraham and his descendants when He promised him that the Messiah would be born to his posterity.

This, then, was a terrible trial, which weighed upon the home of Anne and Joachim for twenty long years. But their tranquil acceptance of this heavy cross and humble endurance of their shame in a spirit of patience and prayer is a wonderful testimony to their holiness and resignation to the holy will of God.

At length, in a miraculous manner, the entreaties of Anne and Joachim were heard. An Angel appeared to each of them, announcing that their holy marriage would at last bring forth a child, one blessed by God. Saint Joachim returned to his home, and Saint Anne soon knew that she was going to become a mother.

Although Holy Scripture is silent on these miraculous happenings, we are informed of them by very ancient tradition. These circumstances closely resemble what the Bible tells us of Anna, the mother of the prophet Samuel, and regarding the parents of Saint John the Baptist. But in the case of Saint Anne, it concerns an affair of even greater significance than the birth of a prophet. Saint Anne was called to be the very mother of she who is the Mother of God. Reason itself tells us that her Conception and Birth would be attended by an unprecedented flood of graces and privileges, proper to the awesome role she would play in the very life of God Himself.

Mother of Her Who Was Conceived Immaculate

Saint Anne was the inner sanctuary in which was formed the living tabernacle which was to house the Son of God made Man. The solemn definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception provides us with even greater insight into the wonderful dignity of Saint Anne.

The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary took place in the womb of Saint Anne, thus making it her own, just as the Incarnation of the God-Man by the power of the Holy Ghost took place within the chaste womb of Mary. Of course, the difference between the two is great, but there is a close parallel: the Immaculate Mother who was to be the Mother of God was formed of the flesh and blood of Saint Anne, as the God-Man was formed of the flesh and blood of Mary. In both cases, the Holy Ghost entered in and worked a tremendous miracle of grace.

The operation of the Holy Ghost in the womb of Saint Elizabeth was also a great miracle of grace, when Our Lady brought her chaste spouse and her Divine Son to her cousin, on the day of the Visitation. But this was a lesser miracle than that performed in the womb of Saint Anne, since Saint John the Baptist was freed from Original Sin within his mother’s womb after six months, whereas the spotless Child in the womb of Saint Anne was never tainted with the slightest sin.

At the moment of Conception, Saint Anne and Saint Joachim gave to Mary, who soon would transmit them to Jesus, the flesh and blood which they had received from their forefathers. But this flesh and this blood which they had received soiled by Original Sin, they handed on to their child without any stain. Bossuet could say: “The Conception of Mary (in which Anne and Joachim took part) is the first and original source of the Blood of Jesus, which flows in our veins through the Sacraments, and which brings the breath of life to every part of the Mystical Body of Christ–the Church.”

The Blessed Virgin Mary was Immaculate at her Conception; and in consequence, her father and mother were the ministers of God in accomplishing a work which will remain unique forever in the history of mankind.

There we see the basis for the glory of Saint Anne. To create angels and men, the Blessed Trinity, so to speak, sought no assistance from outside Itself. In accomplishing the Immaculate Conception, that same Blessed Trinity summoned to its aid the two who would be the mother and father of the Blessed Virgin. By that act, there was conferred upon them a character of singular grandeur.

We cannot speak of the Incarnate Word without at the same time mentioning her whom God chose to be His Mother. Failing to do so, as the Fathers of the Church prove, opens the door to heretical attacks upon the very Person of Christ. So too, to speak of the Immaculate Conception without mentioning Saint Anne, who so wonderfully participated in this admirable creation, would be to minimize the dignity and grandeur of the Mother of God.

The Birth of Mary

Like many of his holy ancestors, including King David himself, Saint Joachim, spouse of Saint Anne, was a shepherd. It was in the mountains of Galilee, near Nazareth, that his flocks were pastured.

The home of Saint Joachim and Saint Anne was simple. It was, as was customary in Judea, partly hollowed out of the rock which, in that part of the city of Jerusalem, rose up in the form of an amphitheater towards the city wall, partly enclosed by a wall of masonry.

Only a few hundred feet from the Holy Temple, almost in the shadow of its magnificent dome, close by the Pool of Siloe, within a white-walled dwelling, Anna, wife of Joachim, brought forth a beautiful little daughter.

The hour that now struck was the holiest and the happiest since the creation of the world. Life went on in Jerusalem as if nothing had happened. Yet, in the eyes of God, the Child whom Anne had just brought into the world changed the appearance of the universe. In this tiny infant, more pure and holy than all the choirs of angels, God already saw His Mother soon to be.

Who can ever tell the joy Saint Anne felt the day the Immaculate Virgin was born, that day blessed above all days, that day which would result in her becoming the grandmother of Christ!

The Presentation of Mary in the Temple

A few days after the blessed birth of their child, her parents gave her the name of Mary. Now the little Mary was growing beneath the shelter of Angels’ wings and under the tender care of her mother. Saint Anne carried out that service of love and devotion which the Christian artists have so often and so admirably portrayed, the Education of the holy Infant Mary. We are told that, while enlightened directly by Almighty God in all that concerned the supernatural, the child was introduced by her mother to earthly knowledge and experience.

She would learn to work, to read. As she grew older, Mary would learn the work of housekeeping; she sewed, she embroidered, she wove cloth, and sacred vestments. When Mary had reached the age of three years, her parents revealed to her their intention of taking her to the Temple, to offer her to the Lord.

It is the teaching of theologians that Mary received the full use of reason from the first moment of her life. So it was not a mere child of three years who, at the Presentation in the Temple, consecrated herself to the Eternal Father, but rather the best and most pleasing oblation yet made by any living creature to the Creator. On that blessed day, accompanied by her mother and father, this little girl of three passed through the entrance of the Temple, and then, all alone, according to tradition, climbed the fifteen steps which led to the Court of the Women. On these steps, the High Priest Zachary, who was awaiting her, took the little child in his arms, offered her to the Lord. And the young girl, with full knowledge of her action, gave herself entirely to the love and service of God.

Saint Anne, Spouse of Saint Joachim

While Saint Joachim watched his flocks or tended his vines, Saint Anne prepared the meals and saw to the care of their household.

After the birth of Mary, there was more work, but even more supernatural joy in their holy home. None of them escaped the weariness, the difficulties of life, but each of them was full of consideration for the others. Together they endured their trials, together they prayed, together they took their rest, each striving to please the others, and to please God above all things.

Each of the thousand trifles which made up Saint Anne’s daily life was more pleasing in the sight of the Lord than a whole world at work or at prayer, for Saint Anne put into these trifles which made up her life more love of God and of her neighbor than the rest of the world could ever have done.

In the eyes of the world, the life of Saint Anne was woven from a throng of ordinary actions. But God, Who searches the heart and the mind, saw with what love she fulfilled her daily tasks as wife and mother.

Patient and toilsome monotony, broken only by the great feast days–quite numerous under the Old Law–when they gathered together, or even went up to Jerusalem to assist at ancient liturgical ceremonies.

This was the patient, graceful existence Saint Anne followed all her life.

The Death of Saint Anne

Did Saint Anne know the Infant Jesus here on earth? The majority of spiritual writers defer the death of Saint Anne until after the Birth of Christ.

The great German mystic Venerable Anna Katerina Emmerich tells us, in her Revelations, that the Divine Child Jesus was eight years old, when his holy grandmother died; and that it was the Child Jesus Himself who assisted her in her last moments.

Now that Saint Anne had been able to take her Grandchild in her arms, she could at last depart in peace, going from earth to the waiting room of Heaven, into which she would enter on Ascension Day, following in the train of the Risen and Triumphant Christ.

Surrounded by Jesus, Mary and Joseph, she smiled on Death, which, in the gentle calm of the evening of incomparable life, drew near to lead her to her Eternal Reward.

A lively spirit of recollection and prayer, submission to the holy Will of God, compassion for the needs of others, voluntary self-effacement, strength of soul in the face of hardships: these are the some of the features that make up the true picture of Saint Anne, mother of Mary and grandmother of Jesus.

Prayer
Almighty God, heavenly Father, who set the solitary in families: We thankfully remember before you this day Sts. Joachim and Anne. The parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and we humbly entrust to your never-failing care the homes in which your people dwell;
May the prayers of Sts. Joachim and Anne help us to attain the salvation You promised to Your people, that we may be made true members of the heavenly family of your Son Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever. Amen.

Adapted from OUR LADY OF FATIMA CRUSADER BULLETIN Vol. 42, Issue No. 124

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O, Queen of Heaven, rejoice! Alleluia.
For He whom thou didst merit to
bear, Alleluia,
Hath arisen as He said, Alleluia.
Pray for us to God, Alleluia.
Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary. Alleluia.
For the Lord hath risen indeed. Alleluia.

Let us pray
O God, who, through the Resurrection of Thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ, Didst vouchsafe to fill the world with joy; grant, we beseech Thee, that, through His Virgin Mother, Mary, We may lay hold on the joys of everlasting life. Through the same Christ our Lord.  Amen.

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William Wilberforce was born in 1759 and served in Parliament from 1780 to 1825. A turning point in his religious life was a tour of Europe. In the luggage of a travelling companion he saw a copy of William Law’s book, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life. He asked his friend, “What is this?” and received the answer, “One of the best books ever written.” The two of them agreed to read it together on the journey, and Wilberforce embarked on a lifelong program of setting aside Sundays and an interval each morning on arising for prayer and religious reading. He considered his options, including the clergy, and was persuaded by Christian friends that his calling was to serve God through politics. He was a major supporter of programs for popular education, overseas missions, parliamentary reform, and religious liberty. He is best known, however, for his untiring commitment to the abolition of slavery and the slave trade. He introduced his first anti-slavery motion in the House of Commons in 1788, in a three-and-a-half hour oration that concluded: “Sir, when we think of eternity and the future consequence of all human conduct, what is there in this life that shall make any man contradict the dictates of his conscience, the principles of justice and the law of God!”

The motion was defeated. Wilberforce brought it up again every year for eighteen years, until the slave trade was finally abolished on 25 March 1806. He continued the campaign against slavery itself, and the bill for the abolition of all slavery in British territories passed its crucial vote just four days before his death on 29 July 1833. A year later, on 31 July 1834, 800,000 slaves, chiefly in the British West Indies, were set free. – written by James Kiefer

Prayer

Let your continual mercy, O Lord, enkindle in your Church the never-failing gift of love, that, following the example of your servant William Wilberforce, we may have grace to defend the children of the poor, and maintain the cause of those who have no helper; for the sake of him who gave his life for us, your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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Saint George was a soldier and martyr who died around 303. He died in Palestine at Lydda also known as Diospolis. Soldier under the Roman Emperor Diocletian. It was known that the Roman Emperor persecuted and killed many Christians.

One day Saint George approached the Emperor. He spoke against the Emperor and his persecution of his Christian brothers. The Emperor had George imprisoned, severely tortured in every imaginable way, and eventually put to death.

Over time St. George became a patron to many soldiers. In 1098 during the first crusade. As Christian soldiers from Europe started the siege on Antioch. They called upon St. George and St. Demetrius. The latter was a deacon (of Sirmium in Serbia) and “Soldier for Christ”. He was martyred under Maximian. This brought great courage and heroic behavior to the soldiers. They were successful in their siege, and gaining back the city for Christ.

Richard I of England (The Lion Heart) placed his whole army under the protection of St. George. Richard the Lion Heart and his men fought bravely for 2 years in the Holy Land (1191-1192). Back in England Legend and fame surrounded him. Richard the First popularity continued long after his death. Actually still to this day he is honored. In 1284 his flag (red cross on a white field) became the official national flag of England. It is commonly known as the St. George’s Cross. Also can be found on the Episcopal Church of Americas flag.

For centuries on St. George was the model to rally soldiers in England. In 1415 Henry V Called upon St. George and spoke about him to rally the troops before the battle of Agincourt. Saying “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more, or close the wall up with our English dead!”.

St. George is a symbol to many of a man who stood valiantly unto death. As a Soldier for Christ. When the enemy is at the gate I pray that we to could be as brave as Blessed George. To stand for righteousness no matter the cost. Taking our crowns of Glory in the life to come.

Saint George is the patron Saint of England, of soldiers, and of the Boy Scouts, as well as of Venice, Genoa, Portugal, and Catalonia. He is also remembered with enthusiasm in many parts of the East Orthodox Church.

Prayer
Almighty God, who gave to your servant George boldness to confess the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ before the rulers of this world, and courage to die for this faith: Grant that we may always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us, and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

or

Almighty God, who called our holy martyr George to bear before men the banner of the cross, and to serve you even unto death: Grant that, following his fortitude, we may be strong in the Christian warfare, and with him attain the crown of eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

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Saint Vincent has gone by many names over the years. Some know him as Saint Vincent of Zaragoza, others Vincent of Huesca. For the moment lest call him Saint Vincent the Deacon.

Born in Huesca, Aragon (Modern Spain) he was the deacon to the Bishop St. Valerius of Saragossa. It was known by the Christians in Spain the St. Valerius had a speech impediment. St. Vincent would speak on his behalf in public. He also read and preached for his beloved Bishop.

Both St. Vincent and St. Valerius were seized and put to trial by Emperor Diocletian. Saint Vincent spoke for the Bishop. Not only did he refuse to renounce his faith in Jesus. He was given the opportunity to share the Gospel.

Frustrated with Saint Vincent Emperor Diocletian threw St. Vincent into prison, and exiled St. Valerius This was all part of the persecutions of Diocletian. The cruelest and most wide spread persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire.

Blessed Vincent was put to the trials. After a time of torture he was offered the opportunity to renounce his faith and hand over his religious books to be burned. Refusing Saint Vincent was burned on the gridirons. Escaping death he was then drug over broken pottery and sharp stone. By the power of the Holy Spirit St. Vincent Rejoiced for his sufferings. Seeing the strength of Saint Vincent the warden of the prison was converted. The warden made St. Vincent as comfortable as he could.

When Emperor Diocletian received word about the strength of St. Vincent he was deeply enraged, and dumbfounded by his victory over death. He sent word to Spain to have St. Vincent cleaned and his wounds treated. He told them to put him in a luxurious room. To cloth him in the finest of cloths and lay him on a bed stuffed with feathers. To sprinkled the bed with roses petals.

Diocletians thought was if torture did not bring a end to St. Vincent then the opposite would. It was in this bed that Vincent expired dying a death of a martyr in the year 305.

Saint Vincent in the patron saint on Acolytes. Many Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican parishes are members of The Order of Saint Vincent. This is a lay order for men woman and children who serve at the altar of our Lord. More can be read here

Prayer

Almighty God, whose deacon Vincent, upheld by you, was not terrified by threats nor overcome by torments: Strengthen us to endure all adversity with invincible and steadfast faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Reading

“To you has been granted in Christ’s behalf not only that you should believe in him but also that you should suffer for him.” Vincent had received both these gifts and held them as his own. For how could he have them if he had not received them? And he displayed his faith in what he said, his endurance in what he suffered. No one ought to be confident in his own strength when he undergoes temptation. For whenever we endure evils courageously, our long-suffering comes from him Christ. He once said to his disciples: “In this world you will suffer persecution,” and then, to allay their fears, he added, “but rest assured, I have conquered the world.” There is no need to wonder then, my dearly beloved brothers, that Vincent conquered in him who conquered the world. It offers temptation to lead us astray; it strikes terror into us to break out spirit. Hence if our personal pleasures do not hold us captive, and if we are not frightened by brutality, then the world is overcome. At both of these approaches Christ rushes to our aid, and the Christian is not conquered. from a sermon by Saint Augustine of Hippo

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