Saint Anne and Saint Joachim

Parents of the Virgin Mary and Grandparents of Jesus

Sacred Scripture

Nothing is found in the New Testament referring to the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Legend

Tradition refers to an Ann and Joachim as being the parents of Blessed Virgin Mary. Although not found in the Bible, Joachim and Ann are given credence in the Protoevangelium of James (a non-biblical “gospel”) attributed to an author of the second century.

Tradition has it that Ann was born in Bethlehem and married Joachim from Nazareth in Galilee. Joachim was a shepherd given the task of supplying the temple of Jerusalem with sheep for sacrifices.

After many years of marriage Ann and Joachim were still childless. It is believed that after their daughter’s birth Ann and Joachim dedicated Mary to God at the temple of Jerusalem and that there she spent much of her childhood. When Mary was a young teenager her parents betrothed her
to Joseph of Nazareth.

Devotion

Devotions to Saint Ann and her connection as the holy mother of Mary and grandmother of Jesus were very popular in the early Church. In the sixth century a church was built in honor of Saint Anne in Jerusalem. It is believed to be near where Anne, Joachim and Mary lived.

Since the seventh century the Greek and Russian Churches have celebrated feasts honoring Saint Joachim and Saint Ann. The Western Church began to celebrate the feast of Saint Anne sixteenth century. The feast of Saint Ann is July 26th (western calendar) or July 25th (eastern calendar).

Saint Ann is honored as the patron saint of mothers, women in labor, and
minors; and she is depicted with Mary, who is holding the infant Jesus
on her lap.