We know very little about Saint Anna. Actually, the apocryphal Gospel of James is the main source we have, with the most information about her. According to Christian tradition, Saint Anne was the mother of Mary and the grandmother of Jesus. She was born in Bethlehem and got married to Joachim who lived in Nazareth, a village in the Holy Land.
Unfortunately, Anne was infertile at a time when barrenness was considered a sign of God’s judgment or displeasure with a person. Furthermore, in the Jewish culture, barrenness was the height of misfortune. As a result of the childlessness, the temple priest refused to accept Joachim’s sacrifice.
Joachim and Anna’s Prayer Answered
In desperation, Joachim is said to have gone into the desert to pray and fast. At the same time, Anna was also praying and reminding God about how He had blessed Sarah, Abraham’s barren wife with a son. As she prayed, an angel of the Lord appeared and told her that her prayer had been heard. The angel promised that she would conceive and her offspring would be famous the world over. The angel also instructed her to name the child Mary. In gratitude, Anne, who was now set to become Mother Mary’s mother, dedicated her future offspring to God.
In the meantime, an angel had also appeared to Joachim and assured him that Anne was going to conceive, bear a child who they were to name Mary and dedicated to God.
Just like the angel had said, Saint Anna conceived and, after birth, the couple consecrated Mary to serve at the temple in Jerusalem. When she was fourteen, Mary was betrothed to Joseph of Nazareth which continues the story of the birth of Jesus, his life, ministry, death, and resurrection.