St. Anne with her child, Mary

“Saint Anne’s themes are miracles, wishes, kindness and health. Her symbols are freshwater and household items.  Saint Anne is a freshwater Goddess who helps us learn the value of abounding selflessness and how to better tend our household matters when the chaos of summer seems to have our attention elsewhere. In Canada she is also credited with miraculous healing.

Traditionally, supplicants come to Saint Anne wearing outfits from their cultures, kneeling and speaking their requests. This is a little awkward in our workaday world. So, instead, quaff a full glass of spring-water first thing in the morning so Saint Anne will stay with you all day, protecting your from the sniffles and encouraging a little domesticity.

If you house is cluttered, you can invoke Saint Anne and welcome her energy into your home simply by straightening up and using a little magical elbow grease as you go! Visualize white light filling your home, sing magical songs, burn some incense and use plain water to wash the floors so Saint Anne’s power can be absorbed into every nook and cranny. If you know of a person who’s been laid up and unable to do such things for themselves, I also suggest offering a a helping hand. This will draw Saint Anne’s well-being to that individual and fill his or her living space with healthful energy. The act of kindness will also draw Saint Anne’s blessings to you.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“The Virgin and Child with St. Anne” by Leonardo da Vinci

“Saint Anne (also Ann or Anna, from Hebrew Hannah meaning “favor” or “grace”) of David‘s house and line, was the mother of the Virgin Mary and grandmother of Jesus Christ according to Christian and Islamic tradition. English Anne is derived from Greek rendering of her Hebrew name Hannah. Mary’s mother is not named in the canonical gospels or the Qur’an, and her name and that of her husband Joachim come only from New Testament apocrypha, of which the Protoevangelium of James, written perhaps around 150, seems to be the earliest that mentions them.

Eastern Orthodox icon of St. Anna

The story bears a similarity to that of the birth of Samuel, whose mother Hannah had also been childless. Although Hanna receives little attention in the Western church prior to the late 12th century, dedications to Hanna in the Eastern church occur as early as the 6th century.  In the Eastern Orthodox Churches and Eastern Catholic Churches, she is revered as Hanna. In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, Hanna, is ascribed the title Forbear of God, and both the Birth of Mary and the Dedication of Mary to the Temple are celebrated as two of the Twelve Great Feasts. The Dormition of Hanna is also a minor feast in the Eastern Church. In Protestant tradition it is held that Martin Luther chose to enter religious life as a monk after receiving heavenly aid from St. Anne.

Anne is also a revered woman in Islam and is recognized as a highly spiritual woman as well as the mother of Mary. The daughter of Faqud, Hannah was childless until her old age. She saw a bird feeding its young while sitting in the shade of a tree, which awakened her desire to have children of her own. She prayed for a child and eventually conceived. Her husband, known as Imran in the Qur’an, died before the child was born. Expecting the child to be male, Hannah vowed to dedicate him to isolation and the service in the Temple.  However, Hannah bore a daughter instead, and she named her Mary. Her words after the birth of Mary reflect her status as a great mystic. Hannah wanted a son, but she realized that the daughter was God’s gift to her.

Varying theologians have believed either that Joachim was Anne’s only husband or that she was married thrice. Ancient belief, attested to by a sermon of St John Damascene, was that Anne married once. In late medieval times, legend held that Anne was married three times, first to Joachim, then to Clopas and finally to a man named Solomas and that each marriage produced one daughter: Mary, mother of Jesus, Mary of Clopas, and Mary Salomae, respectively.  The sister of Saint Hanna was Sobe who was the mother of Saint Elizabeth.

St Anne Conceiving the Virgin Mary by Jean Bellegambe

Similarly, in the 4th century and then much later in the 15th century, a belief arose that Mary was born of Anne by virgin birth.  Those believers included the 16th century Lutheran mystic Valentine Weigel who claimed Anne conceived Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit. This belief was condemned as an error by the Catholic Church in 1677. Instead, the Church teaches that Mary was conceived in the normal fashion, but that she was miraculously preserved from original sin in order to make her fit to bear Christ. The conception of Mary free from original sin is termed the Immaculate Conception—which is frequently confused with the Virgin Birth or Incarnation of Christ.

In the fifteenth century, the Catholic cleric Johann Eck related in a sermon that St Anne’s parents were named Stollanus and Emerentia. The Catholic Encyclopedia (1907) regards this genealogy as spurious.” [1]

I thought this was pretty powerful when I came across this piece written by Peregrinus in regards to “What is the real significance we can take from this icon?”  He writes, “And this matters, because it means that Mary did not spring into existence, fully formed, a vessel to carry the Incarnate Son of God. She was human, with a human story, rooted in humanity, with a mother who conceived, bore, nourished and raised here. She was connected intimately with her mother and, through her mother, with the rest of humanity. Anne’s importance is that she anchors Mary, and therefore Christ, in humanity. And I think it’s significant that, while Rome was prepared to tolerate every kind of nonsense being written and believed about Anne, it was not prepared to tolerate the idea that she bore Mary in a virgin birth of her own.

“The Family of St Anne” by Marten De Vos

Even the spurious traditions about Anne reflect this, for example by giving her, and therefore Jesus, a large extended family, a kinship network. And it’s a humanly imperfect family, as well, because Judas is part of it. And, as a long-lived, wealthy matriarch with three husbands and an extended family, she offers an attractive alternative to a stereotypical model of female holiness – virginity, persecution and early death. She became the patron of the primal female business of childbirth, and the almost equally primally male business of mining.

The facts of Anne’s life, and our ignorance of them, are in the end unimportant. We know she existed; we know that she played her part in the progress of human history towards the Incarnation, even though she almost certainly never knew that. She stands for the connections we all have to one another, even when we don’t know about them, and for the significance and the holiness of the things that we things we do in life that are ordinary and unremarkable, even to us. She stands for countless other men and women, whose names and whose live are equally unknown, who have played their part, and still play their part, in writing the stories that we are living.” [2]  Christian or not, I think that’s pretty moving, reminding us all of the strength of the matriarch and the interconnectedness we all share with each other.

Click here to view additional information on her including patronages and her prayers.





Peregrinus., “St Anne – the Mother of the Mother of God“.

Wikipedia, “Saint Anne“.



Suggested Links:, “Patron Saints for Girls: Saint Anne“., “St. Anne, Mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary“., “SAINT ANNE – Mother of the Blessed Virgin“., “Journeys to Canada: St. Anne de Beaupré“., “St. Anne“.

Reams, Sherry L. University of Rochester, “Legends of St. Anne, Mother of the Virgin Mary: Introduction“., “Saint Anne“.