Anne, blessed above all others, we, too, bring our reverence, for you have given birth to the girl from whom He will come Who is the basis of all our hope. Blessed, indeed, above all others, and blessed in your offspring! The tongues of all believers sing the praises of your child. Every voice is raised in joy at her birth. How worthy Anne is of praise, most worthy, for she received the message of God’s goodness, and brought forth such fruit that from it would come our Lord, Jesus.
—St. John of Damascus
I’ve always been drawn to St. Anne; I chose her as my Confirmation saint because I was awed by her role as the mother of Mary. Today, as we celebrate Our Lady’s birthday, I think of how St. Anne must have felt as she brought Mary into the world. Mary was born into seemingly ordinary circumstances, with a mother and father of humble means who joyfully anticipated her coming; and yet she was marked from the beginning for an extraordinary calling, to be the Mother of God and of the whole world. On the day Anne welcomed her daughter into the world, she held in her arms the seed of hope for the whole human race, all in one tiny bundle.
One year ago today, I visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal and was reminded of the powerful promises Mary has given us, to guide us and protect us through the storms of life. In this world we may find ourselves in a dark valley of tears, but through Mary we receive the Light. Through Mary our redemption became possible. In her humility and gentleness she is stronger than than the devil himself, and she intercedes for us, her children.