Saint Anne

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Saint Anne or Anna is known by tradition as the mother of The Virgin Mary. According to the non-canonical Gospel of James, Anna and her husband Saint Joachim, after years of childlessness, were visited by an angel who told them that they would conceive a child. Anna promised to dedicate the child to God's service. Joachim and Anna brought Mary to live in the Second Temple when Mary was about three years old. St. Anne is a patron saint of Quebec and Brittany and patroness of women in labor and miners.

The story is similar to the story of Samuel whose mother had also been childless and was named Hannah. The story was not accepted in the Western church until the 13th century although, in the Eastern church, dedications to Saint Anna date to the 6th century. In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, Anna is ascribed the title Forbear of God.

In the 4th century, and then much later in the 15th century, a belief arose that Mary was born of Anna by virgin birth. This was denied as an error by the Vatican in 1677. However, it is held that Mary's was an indeed a virgin birth.

Her feast day is December 9 (Eastern calendar) and 26 July (Western calendar).

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