JESUS LOVED HIS GRANDMOTHER ANN, SO DO WE!
If you search the Internet for “Saint Ann, grandmother of Jesus” you will be pleasantly surprised to discover that she is loved and venerated across the globe with magnificent Churches, like the Basilica of St. Anne de Beaupre in Quebec, innumerable parish churches bear her name and patronage, art works abound in paintings, statues and her luminous image is etched in many a stain glass window, as in the Cathedral of Chartres in France. She is usually pictured with her daughter Mary and her grandson Jesus. Her name “Ann” and derivatives of it, may well run a close second to that of her daughter “Mary” as a favorite name for women.
Yet, the New Testament Scriptures record nary a word about her life, her family, her marriage or details about her daughter whom the gospels call Mary, the chosen mother of Jesus. However, such anonymity has not precluded the attraction she obviously radiates across the world religions of Christianity, Catholicism and even Islam. I (Father Roger) think there’s something about grandmothers that tugs at the heart of all of us. We remember fondly the love, kisses, hugs, gifts and tasty desserts lavished upon us at grandma’s house and at family gatherings. Although shrouded in mystery and armed with only the memories of our own grandmothers and those of others, we can only imagine the quality of influence Saint Ann had both on her daughter Mary who turned out to become “our tainted natures’ solitary boast”, as well as how deeply her words and example helped form the character and ideals of her grandson Jesus.
For centuries, Saint Ann’s spiritual influence as mother of Mary and grandmother of Jesus has and continues to be invoked worldwide and especially so by the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament here in the U.S.A. You might say that Saint Ann “charmed” her way into a special relationship with us, so much so that all the parishes we administer are under her patronage, we pray to her daily in Morning and Evening Prayer, and we proudly admit to possessing a major relic of her forearm bone at our Church of Saint Jean Baptiste in New York City, and three smaller relics here at Saint Paschal Baylon Church in Highland Heights, Ohio. Miracles of healing have historically followed intercessory prayers to her and the application of her relic.
As chaplain to Saint Ann’s Shrine here at Saint Paschal Baylon Church, we associate devotion to her in the context of the daily celebration of Eucharist and Prayer for Vocations to the Priesthood in the Universal Church and especially in our Congregation. Both our annual Triduum to Saint Ann in July and a Novena at Saint Jean Baptiste Church in New York City, are always celebrated within a Eucharistic Liturgy, and conclude with prayers, blessings, veneration of her relic and a procession with the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction.
I’m certain that in their human development, Mary and Jesus profited greatly from the wisdom and guidance of their mother and grandmother respectively. Our Blessed Sacrament Province also, being dedicated to Saint Ann and under her protection, continues to share its charism of promoting understanding and devotion to the Eucharist and relies trustingly on her influence with her grandson Jesus and her daughter Mary to enable its Religious, Associates and Friends to minister together in the accomplishment of this mission.
Jesus loved his grandmother Ann, so do we.
God Bless You!
Rev. Roger Bourgeois, SSS Rev. Michael Noreika, SSS
Chaplain, Saint Ann’s Shrine Spiritual Director, Saint Ann’s Shrine
* Join us for the Triduum as we celebrate Mass in honor of Saint Ann’s Feast Day on July 24th, 25th, and 26th at Saint Paschal Baylon Church at 7:00PM each night. A nine-day Novena in honor of Saint Ann’s Feast Day is celebrated at Saint Jean Baptiste Church in New York City from July 17th through July 26th with Mass at 7:30PM each day.
* We have Blessed Oil and Holy Water available. Suggested donation is $6.00 per bottle. Contact Saint Ann Shrine at 440-449-2700 or st-ann-shrine.org.
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