Joachim and Anne were the parents of Mary and the grandparents of Jesus.
The name “Hannah” means grace. In Galilee, where she lived, Mary’s mother was probably called “Hannah” even though we know her as Saint Anne. So, if you are named “Hannah” or “Anne” you are named after the mother of Our Blessed Mother.
It was in the womb of Saint Anne that Mary was immaculately conceived. From the first instant of her life, she was in a state of grace and free from all stain of Original Sin. It was her parents, Anne and Joachim that raised her to be faithful to God’s word and remain free of sin.
Anne is the patron of Christian mothers, and Joachim the patron of fathers. They were given the great honour and responsibility of raising Mary to be the Mother of God, and can help mothers and fathers today to raise their children to love and follow God too.
Joachim the husband of Saint Anne and the father of the Blessed Virgin Mary, belonged to the tribe of Judah and the house of David. Tradition tells us that he and his wife came from Galilee. They lived in Nazareth and there the Blessed Mother lived.
Anne and Joachim were childless for many years. At the time that they lived, this was considered to be a punishment of God among the Jews. They continued to pray and finally God answered their prayers when the Virgin Mary was born. This was their greatest honour, to be the parent’s of Mary, the Mother of God and the Grandparents of Jesus.
The couple offered their little daughter to God in the Temple. As a young girl, she spent time in service to the Temple. working and learning with other girls. But it was problbly her parents who taught her to read, and certainly Joachim and Anne who taught her to love and follow God’s word and to know and understand the Scriptures.
When the Angel Gabriel came to her at the Annunciation, Mary knew the prophecies of Jesus’ life and death. She knew the full extent of the honour and pain she would experience when she gave her ‘fiat.’
Mary loved her mother and father. In this she is a beautiful example for children. Joachim and Anne loved their daughter and followed God’s plan in raising her. In this, they are a shining example and intercessors for Christian parents.
Saint Anne has been honored from early Christian times. Churches were dedicated in her honor, and the Fathers, expecially of the Eastern Churches, loved to speak both of her sanctity and her privileges of being chosen to raise the Mother of God.
Saint Joachim has also been honored from the beginning in the Churches of the East, and since the 6th century, public devotion to him has been observed in all countires. However, we know little about the lives of either Joachim or Anne, since the Gospels are silent on this account.
Some traditions grounded in very old testimonies, tells us that Saints Joachim and Anne in their old age came from Galilee to settle in Jerusalem. As a childless couple, they may have simply wished to spend their old age close to the Temple. But God, in his Wisdom and Mercy, granted them a child, and Mary was born and raised in Jerusalem.
Prayer to St. Anne and St. Joachim
Great and glorious patriarch, St Joachim, and good St Anne, what joy is mine when I consider that you were chosen among all God’s holy ones to assist in the fulfillment of the mysteries of God, and to enrich our earth with the great Mother of God, Mary most holy. By this singular privilege, you have become most powerful with both the Mother and her Son, so as to be able to obtain for us the graces that are needful to us.
With great confidence I have recourse to your mighty protection, and I commend to you all my needs, both spiritual and temporal, and those of my family. Especially do I entrust to your keeping the particular favor that I desire and look for from your intercession. (Mention your petition.)
And since you were a perfect pattern of the interior life, obtain for me the grace to pray earnestly, and never to set m heart on the passing goods of this life. Give me a lively and enduring love for Jesus and Mary. Obtain for me also a sincere devotion and obedience to Holy church and the sovereign pontiff who rules over her, in order that I may live an die in faith and hope and perfect charity. Let me ever invoke the holy Names of Jesus and Mary. And may I thus be saved. Amen.