GROW IN DEVOTION TO OUR LORD’S GRANDMOTHER

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This Novena guides you through nine days of prayers to the woman who bore the Blessed Virgin Mary. We hope you will pray this beautiful Novena alongside us as we ask for the intercession of Saint Anne, a patron saint of grandparents.

What is the significance of the Nativity of Mary? (continued from above)

Mary’s birth lies at the confluence of the two Testaments – bringing to an end the stage of expectation and the promises, and inaugurating the era of grace and salvation in Jesus Christ.

The birth of Mary is ordained in particular toward her mission as Mother of the Savior. Her existence is indissolubly connected with that of Christ: it partakes of a unique plan of predestination and grace. God’s mysterious plan regarding the Incarnation of the Word embraces also the Virgin who is His Mother. In this way, the Birth of Mary, as that her Divine Child, is inserted at the very heart of the History of Salvation.

What is the story behind Mary’s birth?

Although their story is not in Sacred Scripture, according to a pious tradition, Saints Anne and Joachim had been infertile throughout their married lives. Then, like Sarah (Genesis 21:2) and Elizabeth (Luke 1), Saint Anne conceived in her old age. This child was the Blessed Virgin Mary.

What day is Mary’s birthday?

The Church celebrates Mary’s birthday on September 8. This feast day is exactly nine months after the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th. The Church makes no claims as to the historical merit of either date. Rather, the dating serves a liturgical purpose in recalling the mysteries associated with Mary, in the same way as the nine months on the calendar between the Annunciation and Christmas.

“She is the flower of the field from whom bloomed the precious lily of the valley. Through her birth the nature inherited from our first parents is changed.” - St. Augustine

Why is the birth of Mary important to the Church?

The Blessed Virgin Mary’s birthday is important due to her vital role in salvation history. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (paragraph 489) says,

Throughout the Old Covenant the mission of many holy women prepared for that of Mary. At the very beginning there was Eve; despite her disobedience, she receives the promise of a posterity that will be victorious over the evil one, as well as the promise that she will be the mother of all the living. By virtue of this promise, Sarah conceives a son in spite of her old age. Against all human expectation God chooses those who were considered powerless and weak to show forth his faithfulness to his promises: Hannah, the mother of Samuel; Deborah; Ruth; Judith and Esther; and many other women. Mary "stands out among the poor and humble of the Lord, who confidently hope for and receive salvation from him. After a long period of waiting the times are fulfilled in her, the exalted Daughter of Sion, and the new plan of salvation is established."

How do you celebrate the Nativity of Mary?

The faithful can celebrate the birthday of the Blessed Mother, and honor her, in many ways. Since Mary always points us to her Son, we can attend Mass that day. We can read Scripture concerning her role in salvation, such as the Annunciation, the Visitation, or the Wedding Feast at Cana. And we can pray the Most Holy Rosary.

Especially for those celebrating with children, the faithful could have a birthday cake or a small party in honor of Mary’s birthday.

How was Mary born?

Mary was conceived and born in the normal way. However, having been justified at her conception (the Immaculate Conception), rather than in the womb as John the Baptist (Luke 1:41), or by Baptism, as we are, she was born “full of grace” (Luke 1:28). In this gift of God she grew by her cooperation without sinning to the end of her life.

Who are the parents of the Virgin Mary?

Saints Joachim and Anne are the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

How many children did St. Anne and St. Joachim have?

They only had one child – the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Was Mary’s mother also a virgin?

No, Saint Anne was not a virgin. The only virgin birth was the birth of Our Lord. However, her birth was still miraculous in that St. Anne conceived the Mother of the Redeemer even though she was past child-bearing years and barren until then.

As if to point to the freshness of the New Covenant, Anne’s kinswoman Elizabeth also conceived the Forerunner of the Redeemer after her years had passed.

Who is Mary’s sister?

Saints Joachim and Anne had no other children, so Mary had no siblings.

Why does the Church celebrate Mary’s birth on September 8?

For some centuries now, the Nativity of Mary has been assigned to September 8 both in the East and in the West. However, in ancient times it was celebrated on different dates from place to place.

When the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (which developed later than that of the Birth) was extended to the whole Church, Mary’s Nativity became assigned little by little everywhere to September 8, in order to correspond to nine months after the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.

Videos on the Nativity of Mary

Is St. Joachim in the Bible?

It is probable that Joachim is named in Luke’s genealogy of Jesus back to Adam (Luke 3:23-38). Here Heli, a short form of Eliachim or Jehoachim, is given. This tradition would then account for Joachim appearing in a second-century apocryphal work, which also provides his wife’s name as Anne.

Who is Joachim’s father?

When we look at the genealogy of Jesus in the Gospel of St. Luke 3:23-24, we see that the father of Heli (Joachim) is Matthat.

Who are the patron saints of grandparents?

Since ancient times, Saints Joachim and Anne have been venerated in the Church as powerful intercessors. Most importantly, both of them are the patron saints of grandparents since they are the only biological grandparents of Our Lord.

What is known of Saint Anne?

We have no certain knowledge about St. Anne. She is not mentioned in the New Testament, though some information is alleged in apocryphal literature, chiefly the so-called Protoevangelium of James. This document likely dates from the second century. While the Church has rejected it as Scripture––it lacks the sobriety of the sacred texts, especially regarding the fabulous miracles attributed to the Child Jesus, it incidentally may record some true facts, as it does facts of Jewish custom of the day. It is likely, therefore, that the names Joachim and Anne were recorded in it as being already widely known at the time.

St. Anne is recognized as patroness of housewives, women in labor, cabinetmakers, and miners. Her emblem is a door. She has been frequently represented in art, and the lovely face depicted by Leonardo da Vinci comes first to mind in this connection. The name Anne derives from the Hebrew Hannah, meaning “grace.”

How old was Saint Anne when she gave birth to Mary?

We don’t know St. Anne’s exact age; we only know that she was advanced in years.