A Feastday Table: Blessed St Anne, St Joachim and St James

Today is the feastday of St Anne and St Joachim...Blessed Feastday : )

When it comes to St Anne, i even love her name. Anne comes from Hannah meaning Grace. Pretty appropriate name for the mother of Our Blessed Mother. And like many Biblical personalities, i'd surely say her life was "charmed". It reads like a fairy tale. I've never understood when folks say that phrase deridingly, like fairy tale like means shallow and meaningless. Have these folks really read fairy tales? They are not all sweteness and light, they are also filled with tears and trials and depth...its simply that you can feel the light always there unseen holding them somehow. Which is how it is meant to be for all of us really.

With St Anne and St Joachim, here is a good look at their blessed fairy tale life, from here and here:

Saint Anne or Anna was the mother of The Virgin Mary. Her name Anna is a Greek rendering of a Hebrew name, Hannah. According to the non-canonical Gospel of James, Anne and her husband 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 Anne are believed to have given Mary to the service of the Second Temple when the girl was three years old. 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 Anne date to the 6th century. In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, Anna is ascribed the title Forbear of God, and both Conception of Anne and Dedication of Mary to the Temple are celebrated as two of the Twelve Feasts.

In Western iconography, Anne may be recognised by her depiction in red robe and green mantle, often holding a book. Images may also be found depicting Anna holding a small Mary who in turn holds an infant Christ — more elaborate carved statuettes open up to reveal Mary inside Anna with Christ in turn inside her. Such trinitarian representations mirror similar depictions of God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, and were sometimes produced as pairs...

In Catholic and Orthodox tradition, Saint Joachim was the husband of Saint Anne and the father of the Virgin Mary, and therefore is ascribed the title of "forebearer of God." The canonical Gospel accounts in the New Testament do not explicitly name either of Mary's parents, but some argue that the genealogy in Luke 3 is that of Mary rather than Joseph, thereby naming her father as Eli. Catholic and Orthodox theologians who hold to this say "Eli" may be short for "Eliakim," which is similar to "Joachim." The story of Joachim and Anne appears in the apocryphal Proto-gospel of James.

Joachim is described as a rich and pious man who regularly gives to the poor and to the temple. However, as his wife is barren, the High Priest rejects Joachim and his sacrifice, his wife's childlessness being interpreted as a sign of divine displeasure. Joachim consequently withdraws to the desert where he fasts and does penance for forty days. Angels appear to both Joachim and Anne to promise them a child. Joachim returns to Jerusalem and embraces Anne at the city gate. The cycle of legends concerning Joachim and Anne were included in the Golden Legend and remained popular in Christian art until the Council of Trent restricted the depiction of apocryphal events. Saint Joachim's feast day was formerly celebrated on August 16, but is now generally observed jointly with Saint Anne on July 26. Traditional depictions (vestibular statuary, etc) of Joachim show him bearing a shovel.

Well now fairy tale is that : ) ?


My sweet gift from Little Jenny Wren arrived yesterday, the precious doll i was lucky enough to win in her contest some time back. Seeing as she arrived here between so many wonderful Grace filled feastdays ...including the feastday of St James which was yesterday itself and i forgot to post on... i think i'm going to nickname her Grace : )

So Blessed Belated Feastday of St James! There has been such a "feast" of feastdays lately!

Saint James was one of the "firey" apostles (reminds of Elijah a bit), he and his brother John were called the "sons of thunder". When i looked up his feastday i was moved to hear of his connection with cockleshells, which i've always been so drawn to. From here:

It is said that when the Saint's relics were being conveyed by ship from Jerusalem and approached the coast of Portugal, a man happened to be riding his horse on the beach. The horse disobediently plunged into the sea, with its rider, making for the boat. They sank, of course, but then rose again, covered with scallop shells, and hence the cockleshell became the symbol of our hero). The relics were entombed and rather forgotten after years of Roman persecution, Vandal and Visigoth invasions, and Muslim attacks -- forgotten, that is, until an early 9th century hermit named Pelayo discovered the tomb -- some say after seeing a star marking the place -- in an area that became known as Compostela, which means "Field of Stars." The King built a cathedral to mark the location (Pelayo's Bishop, Theodomor of Iria, is also buried there, refusing to be buried in his See out of his desire to be near the Saint).

The faithful began to make pilgrimages to the site -- so much so that Compostela became the third greatest place of pilgrimage, just after Jerusalem and Rome -- and still make the pilgrimage today. After making one of the many routes, known as "the Camino," pilgrims attach cockleshells or their facsimile to their hats or clothes as "pilgrim badges," signs that they'd venerated the holy relics.

Hmmmm...cockles are a favorite of otters too (the little sweeties). And their shells, they were used by both pilgrims and others and even earlier...as early cups and bowls. Pretty cool. For a peek at St Jame's pilgrimage site, see below:

(Images from here, here, here and here)

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