On Wednesday we celebrated the memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne (Anna in Hebrew), the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary. What we know of them comes from a mid-second century book called the Protoevangelium of Saint James. According to this source Anna, childless and advanced in years, prayed that she would be able to give birth and promised the Lord that the child would be dedicated to the service of God. This prayer was fulfilled in Mary, the ultimate servant of God and the mother of the Redeemer.
The book also states that Mary, who later in life would live in Nazareth, was born in the Jerusalem area. This tradition is reinforced by the presence in Jerusalem, since Early Christian times, of a church dedicated to Saint Anne.
The present structure was built by the Crusaders and is one of the most pristinely beautiful churches in the Holy Land.
Saint Anne is one of the patrons of Canada, and the beautiful shrine of Saint Anne de Beaupre is located near Quebec City.