Saint Joachim and Saint Anne: Parents of the Queen of the Universe

They both received the greatest gift and the complete fulfillment of the blessing of Abraham. It is the blessing for the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin who was to smash the head of the serpent

Newsdesk (July 26, 2021, 16:24 PM, Gaudium Press) The Church dedicates July 26 to the memory of the blessed parents of the Virgin Mary and grandparents of Jesus: Saint Joachim and Saint Anne.

Although the four Canonical Gospels do not mention the story of this saintly couple, it has come down to us through three primary sources. They are the apocryphal gospels “Protoevangelium of James,” “Gospel of pseudo-Matthew,” and “Infancy Gospels,” as well as ancient traditions of Christians.[1]

If Bossuet said that “great men are shaped on the knees of their mothers,” we can then imagine with what care God took to prepare the parents of the most saintly of all creatures. Parents who could raise her in a dignified manner, serving as an example of virtue to the Queen of Angels from the very first moments of her life.

Joachim and Anne in Anna Catharina Emmerick’s Visions

Anna Catharina Emmerick lived between the 18th and 19th centuries; her life was marked with many supernatural revelations and experiences. She had many visions that are very revealing and help us deeply understand the personality of these two saints.

First, the Blessed describes the temperament of Saint Joachim and Saint Anne, who received the unmeasurable grace of becoming the Messiah’s grandparents: “There was something quite distinctive about them, although they did not notice it, they possessed a remarkable seriousness. I seldom saw them laughing, but they were certainly not sad. They had a serene and quiet temperament, and even in their younger days, they seemed like mature and restrained people.”[2]

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The story that comes to us through the Apocrypha and tradition seems to blend with Anna Catherine Emmerick’s revelations. She describes other beautiful aspects and details of the life of Joachim and Anne. They both had revelations of the providential birth of a child in their old age and their childless marriage. Once, she said that an angel appeared to St. Joachim to announce to him that “his infertility was not a disgrace for him, on the contrary, it was an honor because his wife was about to conceive and that the child would be the immaculate gift of Abraham’s blessing.”[3] Likewise, St. Anne also received a supernatural vision. “I saw a brilliant light descend upon her, and as she approached her bed, it transformed itself into a radiant figure of a young man. It was the Angel of the Lord who said that she would conceive a saintly child; stretching out his hand over her, he wrote bright letters on the wall that formed the name MARIA.”[4]

The two thus received “the greatest gift and the complete fulfillment of the blessing of Abraham, that is, the blessing for the Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin who was to smash the head of the serpent.”[5] Thus, they received an unequaled grace of all history. “Mary’s conception was as pure as all conceptions would have been if not for the Fall; for her parents conceived the Blessed Virgin in the saintliest obedience and complete purity of heart. From that day on, they lived in celibacy in the highest devotion and fear of God.”

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The Blessed concludes: “at the same time that I received this revelation, I was told how immeasurably the sanctity of children is stimulated by the purity, chastity, and constraint of their parents, how they resist to all impure temptations, and also how post-conception continence preserves the fruit of the mother’s womb from many sinful impulses.”[6]

Therefore, the life of Mary’s parents constitutes an admirable example of purity, seriousness in the fulfillment of duties, and above all, resignation to God’s will for today’s parents. They have the difficult mission of educating their children in a world so dangerous and harmful for the innocence of their souls. It is indispensable that, at least at home, they can find real examples of righteousness and integrity.

By João Paulo Bueno

Compiled by Ena Alfaro

[1] Cf. ROHRBACHER. Lives of the Saints. Sao Paulo: Américas, v. XIII, p. 362.

[2] [ANNA CATHARINA EMMERICH. Blessed Virgin Mary. Sao Paulo: MIR, 2004, 2nd ed. p. 35.

[3] Id. p. 49.

[4] Id. p. 44.

[Id. p. 52.

[6] Id. p.55.

Cf. MARTYROLOGIUM ROMANUM. Editio altera. Città del Vaticano: L.E.V., 2004, p. 413.

Opinion, July 26 to the memory of the holy parents of the Virgin Mary, Joachim and Anne in the visions of Anna Catherine Emmerick, Saint Joachim and Saint Anne, Gaudium Press

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