On July 26, St. Anne and St. Joachim, the parents of the Virgin Mary, are celebrated. Let’s find out why.
Although the Day of the Grandparents was established as a civil anniversary in Italy on October, 2 each year, in conjunction with the day of the Angels, also on July 26, grandparents are remembered and celebrated. This is because on this day we remember Saint Anne, the mother of Mary, who, in addition to being the protector of mothers and women in childbirth, together with her husband Saint Joachim is also the patron saint of grandparents. It is not difficult to imagine the reason for this patronage: in fact, Saint Anne and Saint Joachim are none other than the grandparents of Jesus.
On a previous article We focused on the fact that the Feast of Grandparents celebrated on October 2 is an official recognition by the Italian state to the value of grandparents in society, a role considered no less important than that of parents, for the growth and happiness of children.
But also the fact that this feast falls on the same day on which the Angels are celebrated is certainly not accidental. In fact, in many respects grandparents are similar to guardian agels in the flesh, always ready to sacrifice themselves for the good of those they love, always prostrate to protect their children, grandchildren, with their forces and their thoughts.
So it does not seem wrong to dedicate another party to grandparents, so that those who are still lucky enough to have them can remember them and maybe go to visit them, bring them a gift, or just the pleasure of a little company. Especially children should be encouraged to spend as much time with grandparents as possible, not only because they are good and caring, but also because of the immense wealth of experience and knowledge that they can convey to them with their stories. We would not be who we are without those who came before us, and grandparents are the very symbol of a distant and yet extraordinarily close historical heritage. They are our link with the past, they are the very roots of our present, and their example and love can instill in us hope for the future, for when we will be grandparents in our turn.
Let’s get to know better Saint Anne and Joachim, parents of Our Lady and grandparents of Jesus.
History of Sant’Anna
Anna and Joachim do not appear in the Bible. What we know of them, as well as of Zechariah and Ismeria, this last sister of Anna, parents of Elizabeth, comes to us from the later hagiographic tradition and from the apocryphal gospels.
Legend has it that both were members of the Jewish priestly class, although there are several versions that attribute to Anna illustrious kinship with other figures in religious history, such as Joseph of Arimathea, the man who took care of the recovery and burial of the body of Christ, who would be his uncle.
What is certain is that although both were noble and virtuous, Anna and Joachim could not bear children, just like Zechariah and Ismeria.
The shame for this lack led Joachim to retire to the desert, among the shepherds, but just then an angel appeared to him and his wife Anna, announcing to them the next birth of a son. Following the angel’s instructions, the two met at the Golden Gate of Jerusalem, and here, thanks to a single kiss, their creature would be conceived.
When, as the angel had promised, a little girl was born, who would forever change the history of the world, Anna and Joachim called her Mary, which in Hebrew means ‘loved by the Lordl’.
This is how the Virgin Mary, the future mother of Jesus Christ, was born. He was born without sin, preserved immune from it from conception, according to the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.
Like all mothers, it was Anna who taught little Maria to do housework, to clean the house, to weave and sew. For this reason she is invoked as the protector of tailors, weavers and sellers of linen. But it is above all her being pregnant in old age to have deserved over the centuries the role of patroness of the impossible parts and protector of pregnant women, but also widows and mothers of the family.
Moreover, because she carried the Virgin Mary in her womb, like a casket containing a precious jewel, she is the patron saint of goldsmiths, cabinetmakers, carpenters and miners.
It is therefore almost always in relation to her daughter Mary that Saint Anne is remembered. In the early Middle Ages they were often represented together, Mary sitting with the Child Jesus in her arms and her mother Anna behind, symbolizing the hierarchy of the divine family. But there is also a sacred iconography linked only to Anne and Joachim and their lives.
The meaning of the name Anna
The name Anna derives from the Hebrew Channah, or Hannahe, which means ögrace’, ‘gracious’, ‘full of grace’. Although the name of Mary’s mother is not mentioned in the Bible, other women who bore this name are mentioned in the Holy Texts, as the mother of the prophet Samuel and as the elderly prophetess who recognized as the Messiah Jesus child when He was presented to the Temple of Jerusalem.
Gifts for the grandparents
We wrote that on July 26, on the occasion of the celebrations in honor of Saint Anne and Saint Joachim, grandparents also celebrate. It can be a great opportunity to give them a gift, although there should be no need for a special occasion to remind these special people how much we love them.
To remember the deep bond between grandparents and the figure of the guardian angel it might be a good idea to give a statue of the Guardian angel with child made of wood, painted and hand carved by the artisans of Val Gardena. The style is modern, and the craftsmanship and customizable finishes make this sculpture truly unique and precious. It is available in various sizes.
Also in modern style, the Guardian angel custon in refractory clay is a stylized statue that expresses an intense spirituality. It is handmade with white refractory clay at the Centro Ceramiche Ave di Loppiano (Florence). The clay is first worked by hand molding, then baked to over 1000 C. The finishing and processing are completely by hand, to give it essential lines and expressive at the same time. It is an important gift, a high quality product, 100% Made in Italy.