The most pure mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary!

Good St. Anne

“And may you see your children, and your children’s children, unto the third and fourth generation: and may your seed be blessed by the God of Israel, who reigneth for ever and ever. . . . Amen.” —Tobias 9:11-12

“Her children rose up, and called her blessed.” —Proverbs 31:10, 28

“To St. Anne, God has given the power to aid in every necessity, because Jesus, her Divine Grandchild according to the flesh, will refuse her no petition, and Mary, her glorious daughter, supports her every request. Those who venerate good St. Anne shall want for nothing, either in this life or the next. . . .” —Abbot Trithemius

THE EDUCATION OF THE VIRGIN
On the scroll is the famous prophecy of Isaias 11:1:
“Et ingredietur virga de radice Iesse . . .” (“And there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse . . .”)

Patroness of Christian Mothers

CONTENTS
Dignity and Sanctity of St. Anne . . . . . . . . . 1
Veneration of St. Anne . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Miraculous Discovery of Relics . . . . . . . . . . 5
Veneration of St. Anne in the Americas . . . . 10
St. Anne de Beaupre . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Destruction and Rebuilding of the Basilica . 13
Precious Relics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
St. Anne of New York . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Other Shrines of St. Anne
in the United States . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
The Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Anne . . . . 23
How the Saints Honored St. Anne . . . . . . . 26
Power of St. Anne’s Intercession . . . . . . . . . 27
Patroness of Christian Mothers . . . . . . . . . . 31
Titles of St. Anne . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
St. Anne Obtains for Her Clients
a Happy Death . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
Tuesday Dedicated to St. Anne . . . . . . . . . . 40
Cured by St. Anne . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
Another Prodigy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
Other Favors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
A Constant Flow of Testimonies . . . . . . . . . 46
Archconfraternity of St. Anne . . . . . . . . . . . 46
Prayers in Honor of St. Anne . . . . . . . . . . . 49

“We beseech Thee, O Lord our God, that through the intercession of blessed Anne, whom Thou didst choose to be the mother of her who brought forth Thy Son, we may become worthy to win eternal salvation. Through Jesus Christ Our Lord.” —From the Postcommunion Mass for the Feast of St. Anne (July 26)

DIGNITY AND SANCTITY OF ST. ANNE
How holy must have been the woman in whom the great mystery of the Immaculate Conception was accomplished! How holy the womb into which the fullness of grace descended, in which the child “full of grace” was conceived and took flesh! Great was the dignity of St. Elizabeth, the mother of St. John the Baptist, who was privileged to have her son sanctified in her womb; but how much greater is the dignity of St. Anne, whose child, by a special prerogative, from the first instant of her conception was preserved from all taint of sin! Holy was the root from which sprouted the tree that bore the holiest Fruit, Jesus. St. Anne’s sanctity was increased still more through this wonderful conception: and indeed, how highly must she have been sanctified who bore the Mother of God! Is it any wonder that St. Jerome praises her in the words: “Anne is the glorious tree from which bloomed a twig under divine influence. She is the sublime heaven from whose heights the Star of the Sea neared its rising. She is the blessed barren woman, happy mother among mothers, from whose pure womb came forth the shining temple of God, the sanctuary of the Holy Ghost, the Mother of God!”

Yes, great indeed was the privilege and dignity conferred by God on St. Anne in electing her to be the mother of the treasury of all graces! How great must have been St. Anne’s joy, how blissful her delight, when, contrary to all hope, she gave birth to a child! And what a child! Never before had earth beheld a child so fair and noble as Anne’s infant daughter, “conceived without stain of Original Sin.” Never had there been a maternity so rich in blessings as hers—she who was privileged to call her child by the exalted title of “Mother of God.”

Well indeed might St. John Damascene, a great Doctor of the Church, exclaim: “Blessed, thrice blessed art thou, O Saint Anne, who didst receive from God and bring forth the blessed child from whom proceeded Christ, the Flower of life! We congratulate thee, O blessed Anne, on the dignity of being the mother of Mary, for thou hast brought forth our common hope, the germ of Promise! All pious lips bless thee in thy daughter, all languages glorify thy child! Worthy art thou above all praise, worthy of the praise of all who are redeemed, for thou hast given life to her who brought forth our Saviour, Jesus Christ.”

Even her name “Anne” signifies “gracious, loving” and typifies her sublime destiny. She too had been chosen by God from eternity, and to her, as to her daughter, Mary, may be applied the words: “The Lord possessed me in the beginning of His ways . . . I was set up from eternity.” (Prov. 8:22-23). God prepared St. Anne with magnificent gifts and graces. Of her may be said what St. Bernardine of Siena wrote of St. Joseph: “In the kingdom of grace the universal rule is: If God elects anyone for a special privilege and a sublime state, He bestows on that person all the gifts necessary for his state and adornment.” “Anne was the most chaste of virgins,” wrote Mary of Agreda in The Mystical City of God. “From her very childhood, she possessed the fullness of every virtue. She was continually engaged in devout meditation. Her unceasing prayer was that the Redeemer might come soon.” As the works of God are perfect, it was natural to expect that He should make St. Anne a worthy mother of that most pure creature who was superior in sanctity to all creatures and inferior only to God. Had St. Anne not been adorned with angelic purity, she could not have become the mother of the Virgin of virgins. The great miracle of Mary’s Immaculate Conception fittingly took place in St. Anne’s pure womb.

In her visions, the servant of God, Anne Catherine Emmerich, beheld St. Anne in ecstasy, enveloped in heavenly splendor and surrounded by a host of Angels at the moment of Mary’s Immaculate Conception. She beheld how the heavens opened, and she saw the holy Angels and the Most Holy Trinity rejoice. Equally great was the jubilation at the Blessed Virgin’s birth. These are but a few rays of St. Anne’s dignity and sanctity.

VENERATION OF ST. ANNE
How long has St. Anne been honored by Catholics? Baronius, a celebrated ecclesiastical writer, says: “Veneration of St. Anne is as ancient as the Church itself. In the East and in the West, she has been venerated from the beginning.” It is related that the Apostles themselves transformed St. Anne’s dwelling at Jerusalem into a church. Why is St. Anne one of the most popular Saints of Holy Church? Because of the plenitude of her virtues, the height of her exalted dignity and her close relationship with the holiest of all persons, Jesus and Mary.

After St. Joseph, no Saint enjoys such widespread veneration as good St. Anne. It would be impossible to enumerate the churches and chapels dedicated to her and the many places of pilgrimage where, in the course of centuries, manifold favors have been granted and astounding miracles wrought. The number of churches having an altar or image in honor of St. Anne is constantly increasing. Love and veneration of the faithful for St. Anne is manifested in a practical way by giving the name “Anne” to girls in Baptism. Certainly, after the name of Mary, none is more beautiful. Frequently the two names, Mary and Anne, are combined.

MIRACULOUS DISCOVERY OF RELICS
According to a most ancient and uninterrupted tradition, the body of St. Anne was carried to Gaul (a province of the Roman empire which included what are now the countries of France and upper Italy.) by the same vessel which carried Lazarus and his sisters there. During the first century of the Christian era, these friends of Our Lord were banished from Palestine because of their faith. From their hands St. Anne’s precious remains were taken for safekeeping to the city of Apta Julia, which in our own times is the city of Apt, France. In those stormy days of persecution, it was necessary to hide the relics of the martyrs and Saints. Consequently, the body of St. Anne was buried in an underground church or crypt. The martyrology of Apt, one of the most ancient in existence, mentions this fact.

The first bishop of Apta Julia, St. Auspicius, who died before 118, took further precautions to guard this holy treasure from desecration and had the body buried still deeper in the subterranean chapel. All approach to it was carefully concealed till persecutions and invasions should have ceased. For centuries, the country was repeatedly overrun by hordes of barbarians, and it was only natural that during these agitated years the precise spot where St. Auspicius had carefully hidden his treasure became lost in obscurity.

After Charlemagne’s decisive victory over the Saracens at the close of the eighth century, peace and security returned to Gaul. It was then that the people began to restore and rebuild the holy places destroyed or desecrated by the invaders. Priests and bishops of Apta Julia began to seek for the exact spot in the deep crypt where St. Auspicius had hidden and walled up the sarcophagus of St. Anne. Charlemagne’s first care on his arrival at Apt was to have the cathedral reconsecrated. This took place during the Easter solemnities, in the presence of an enormous crowd of nobles, clergy and people. But there was one cause of sadness amid all the rejoicing, namely, that every effort to find the remains of St. Anne had proved fruitless. A miracle, however, was to lead to the discovery of her resting place, as is related by Charlemagne in a letter to Pope Adrian I.

Among the young nobles who accompanied their parents on this occasion was John, a lad of fourteen, the son of Baron Casanova, deaf, dumb and blind from birth. People near the boy in the sanctuary remarked that during the services he was carried away by some overpowering emotion. With rapt and upturned face he seemed to be listening to voices from above. Presently, he moved toward the high altar, struck with his staff the steps leading up to it and made signs that they should dig there. His persistence caused considerable disturbance amid the solemn rites, but neither the clergy nor the royal guards could quiet or restrain the youth. Charlemagne was deeply impressed. After Mass, he commanded that the excavation desired by the boy should be made. The altar steps were removed and a door, closed up with huge stones, was revealed. This was the door of the ancient crypt in which St. Auspicius had been accustomed to celebrate the holy Mysteries and to feed his flock with the Bread of Life. Its size and adornments reminded one of the Roman catacombs. No sooner had this door been opened and the flight of steps leading down from it disclosed than the blind boy rushed forward, as if his eyes had been suddenly opened, and led the way into this underground church. Charlemagne now held the boy’s hand and gave orders to keep back the excited multitude.

John made signs that they should search farther, and he struck the wall of the crypt, indicating that what they sought lay beyond. When the wall was broken down, another and lower crypt was discovered at the end of a long and narrow corridor. As they came in view of this crypt, a bright light flashed upon the Emperor and his assistants. They beheld, in front of a walled recess, a burning lamp which flooded the place with unearthly splendor. No sooner, however, had the Emperor and his cortege entered this place, than the lamp went out. But, more wonderful still, at that very moment the blind boy could see, speak and hear. “The body of Saint Anne, mother of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, is in yonder recess,” were his first words.

The awe-stricken Emperor and his followers, at first dumb with amazement, gave vent to their emotion in words of praise and thanksgiving. The walled recess was thrown open, a sweet fragrance like that of oriental balm filled the air, and a casket of cypress wood was discovered containing the body of St. Anne wrapped round and round with folds of precious cloth. On the casket was the inscription: “Here lies the body of Blessed Anne, mother of the Virgin Mary.” Charlemagne, with all those present, venerated the sacred deposit thus brought to light. Afterward he had an exact narrative of the discovery drawn up by one of his notaries and a copy sent to the Pope with the royal letter. This letter and the Pope’s answer are still extant. The miraculous discovery at once made the Cathedral of Apt the center of attraction for Christian pilgrims from every part of Gaul. In the wars which followed the reign of Charlemagne down to our own times, the clergy and people of Apt have watched with never failing love over the sacred treasure which is the glory of their city.

Travelers visiting the venerable Cathedral of St. Auspicius will find piles of ex votos, the indisputable testimonies during eleven centuries of the wonders wrought there by Christ at the intercession of His sainted Grandmother. The chief cities of Gaul hastened to solicit from the church of Apta Julia portions of the hallowed body thus miraculously discovered. Fragments detached from the head found their way to various places through the favor of sovereigns or powerful prelates, but the greatest portion of St. Anne’s sacred body still reposes in Apt. Vienna, Austria, possesses the right hand of St. Anne, which is devoutly venerated in the beautiful church which bears her name.

An arm of the Saint was solicited and obtained by the Popes and placed under the care of the Benedictine monks in the magnificent monastery church of St. Paul-Outside-the-Walls in Rome. In May, 1960, the Benedictines gave the forearm to the Shrine of St. Anne de Beaupre in Canada. In the Cathedral of Bologna, Italy, a large portion of the Saint’s head is venerated. Through these precious relics, which have proved efficacious in every kind of distress, miracles have been wrought—up to the present day.

VENERATION OF ST. ANNE IN THE AMERICAS
The Spanish missionaries in particular, who labored in Mexico and South America, sought to inspire their converts with affection for St. Anne. These zealous heralds of the Faith, while announcing the doctrine of our Divine Saviour, also laid the foundation of fervent and tender devotion to Mary, His virgin Mother, and proclaimed everywhere the honor and glory of good St. Anne.

ST. ANNE DE BEAUPRÉ
In recent years, the New World has been venerating St. Anne in a special manner. Canada claims the title of the “Land of St. Anne.” The early missionaries who came from Bretagne (Brittany), France, firmly established devotion to St. Anne in the hearts of the faithful. The first and principal place of pilgrimage to the honor of St. Anne in Canada was Beaupré, with its magnificent basilica of St. Anne. The history of this shrine is as interesting as it is miraculous.

One night in 1650, some sailors were overtaken on the St. Lawrence by a frightful storm. Their vessel was driven by the wind and waves toward the rocky banks. They were seemingly about to perish, and no earthly aid was near. In their peril, they implored the help of good St. Anne, the patroness of their beloved Brittany, and vowed, if saved, to build a chapel in her honor on whatever spot they should land. Morning dawned, and to their great astonishment, they found themselves on the north bank of the river at Beaupré. They landed and erected a little shrine in honor of good St. Anne, their deliverer. In 1656, Beaupré was made a parish by Msgr. de Laval, Bishop of Quebec. A parish church was erected the following year.

While the foundation of the building was being laid, the first attested marvel was wrought. Louis Guimond, a prey to keen sufferings, cherished an ardent devotion to St. Anne. He wished to have a share in erecting a shrine in her honor and managed to bring three stones for the foundation of the church. After accomplishing this act of devotion, he was suddenly and completely cured. The wonders began to multiply. They were attested by Bishop de Laval in 1662. Father Morel, who was pastor at that time, wrote: “Of much more importance than all these cures are the spiritual graces daily bestowed by Almighty God through the intercession of good St. Anne on many a sinner, by converting him to a better life. Having performed the pastoral functions in the church for five or six years, I have known many persons who experienced the grace of so happy a change.”

In 1662, while Father Morel was still pastor at Beaupré, Blessed Marie of the Incarnation, who was the foundress of the Ursuline Nuns of Quebec, wrote from that city to a relative who lived back in France: “Some twenty miles from here . . . is a church of St. Anne in which Our Lord works great wonders for the sake of the holy mother of the most Blessed Virgin Mary. At this shrine, paralytics obtain strength to walk, the blind receive their sight, and the sick, no matter what their ailment may be, regain their health.”

Nearly three centuries have elapsed since then, but the wonders wrought by good St. Anne have never ceased. In time a basilica, magnificent in its beauty and proportions, was erected to her honor at Beaupré. Its most remarkable feature was the countless number of crutches, canes, trusses and even eyeglasses which were suspended or piled in the chapels as the ex votos of innumerable invalids who thus bore witness to their recovery through the assistance of good St. Anne.

DESTRUCTION AND REBUILDING
But even such monuments are in the hands of Divine Providence, and as though to indicate that a yet worthier monument should be dedicated to the honor of good St. Anne, the magnificent basilica was completely destroyed by fire on the morning of March 29, 1922. After the hungry flames had completed their work of destruction, all that remained of the splendid structure were broken and scattered turrets, charred and dismantled walls, heaps of debris, seared and scattered ex votos. The disaster was complete, but wonder of wonders, over the shapeless mass of what had been the basilica, above the crumbling portal, between the two broken towers, stood the wooden statue of St. Anne, holding in her arms the Blessed Virgin Mary. And standing unscathed amid the ruins, the miraculous statue of the Saint still held in its gilt casing the great relic of St. Anne.

What was to be done to accommodate the crowds of pilgrims who came to venerate the wondrous statue? The problem was solved by erecting a temporary church. In thirty-seven days St. Anne was provided with a new “basilica,” a simple wooden church in which the miraculous statue was enshrined and which witnessed the cures of thousands of devout clients. But alas, during the night of November 8, 1926, the wooden framework of this temporary basilica fell prey to another conflagration. Rising upon the ashes of this modest shrine to the honor of St. Anne is the present great Basilica, beautiful and majestic in its Romanesque architecture, indeed a worthy monument in stone to the great Saint from whose maternal heart streams of mercy have flowed to mankind. Well over two million pilgrims visit the shrine annually, proving how greatly St. Anne is venerated among the faithful and what confidence they place in her intercession. Since the beginning of the shrine in 1658, over 46,500,000 pilgrims and visitors from all over the world have come to venerate the relics of good St. Anne and to implore her intercession. The peak of 2,000,000 visitors was reached in 1957. Many people come in pilgrimages, which are becoming ever more popular. St. Anne’s feast (July 26) always draws immense crowds to the shrine. As is natural, most of the visitors are from the United States and Canada, though far distant parts of the globe are not without representatives. (*Note: All information in this booklet regarding numbers of visitors and sizes of crowds is from the 1963 edition. —Publisher, 1998)

The year 1958 marked the Third Centenary of the founding of the Shrine of St. Anne de Beaupré. Nearly three million pilgrims took part in the Tercentennial celebrations, inaugurated on the first Sunday of May and concluded on October 12. Congresses, pilgrimages, novenas, triduums and symposia highlighted each month.

Taken from Good St. Anne by TAN Books & Publishers, Inc.

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