Beside Mary’s cradle, Anne did not merely dream of the future as mothers so often do, but she also prayed. If mothers only knew the power they hold over the happiness and welfare of their children through prayer! How many children have owed their great and beautiful vocation, their holiness, their life’s happiness, their predestination, to the prayers of a good mother gathered up by that mother’s Angel-guardian and presented to God! What superabundant glory and joy for the mothers of St. Augustine, St. Chrysostom, St. Gregory Nazianzen, St. Dominic, St. Francis Xavier, St. Aloysius, St. Teresa, St. Francis of Sales, St. Alphonsus, for the mothers of an infinite number of good priests, religious and other Elect, to be able to say eternally: "This Saint who has contributed so much to the divine glory, and who is now shining in the front ranks of the just, amid the Archangels, the Cherubim and Seraphim, this Saint is my child, and after God it is to me that he owes this happiness" (St. Teresa of Avila).
Had St. Anne anything to do with the perfection, the holiness, the eternal glory of her Blessed Daughter? We cannot doubt it. She had obtained her from God, through continual prayer joined to rigorous fasts and abundant almsgiving, and no sooner did she receive this Child whom she had so ardently desired, than she devoted her life to her alone, so as to assure her the greatest possible amount of happiness. And as in her eyes, holiness and happiness were one and the same thing, and God alone can communicate happiness to his creatures, Anne, in order to assure that happiness to her Daughter, now offered to God the same prayers, fasts and good works which formerly she had offered with a view to obtaining her.
But was not Mary full of grace from the very first moment of her existence? Doubtless; she was filled with it in the sense that she possessed all the grace necessary for a Child destined to be the Mother of God, but not all the grace and all the virtues necessary for her at the moment when she should become really the Mother of God.
Like the dawn of the morning, to which she is compared in Scripture, and like the rose she was to increase in splendor and beauty continually, even until the day of the Annunciation and the day of her blessed death. And who can tell the favors obtained for her by her holy Mother’s prayers, thus aiding her to attain to sublime perfection? The prayer of a mother for the spiritual welfare of her child is ever agreeable to Him Who has ordered us to call Him our Father!
How many times kneeling by the cradle of her Daughter, Anne’s prayers mounted to the throne of God, couched in language like the following: My God who didst vouchsafe to send me this child when all hopes were at an end, Thou knowest how dear she is to me. Dear Lord! grant me the crowning grace of keeping her as pure as she now is; take her from me now rather than let her ever be defiled by sin. Thou, Author of every perfect gift, bestow on her Thy choicest favors: I ask for her neither riches, nor a noble alliance, nor earthly prosperity, for perchance she might be led away by the allurements of the world. But grant her the fear of Thee, inviolable purity, love of the poor and a spirit of piety.
These prayers emanating from so pure and humble a heart, ascended straight to Heaven, whence they returned like a celestial dew falling on Mary’s head and making her in crease in holiness day by day. What glory was it not for the blessed Anne thus to have contributed to Mary’s sanctification, that is to say, to the completion of the most beautiful piece of creation that ever sprang from God’s hand!
The pilgrimage from Ange Gardien de Ronville, which took place in July 1880, was singularly fertile in miraculous favors received. What is especially notable is that they were instantaneous and complete. From among them are the three following:
A woman had for many years been afflicted with sores on her hands and arms. Immediately on plunging them in the water from St. Anne’s fountain, the wounds were completely cured, leaving not the slightest trace of their ever having existed. The parish priest and many others attest to these facts, having seen her before and after her miraculous cure.
Another most striking miracle was that performed on a child three and a half years old. For two years she had seen nothing and her father carried her in his arms on this pilgrimage. At the very moment when the holy relic was about to be held to her lips, she exclaimed: "Good St. Anne, please cure me." She instantaneously recovered her sight. Her name is Marie Louise Laroque.
A woman from Stanbridge, in the parish of Bedford, Mme Solyme Davignan, had, for seven years, been obliged to walk with one knee on a chair which she pushed before her. On entering the church of St. Anne de Beaupre, assisted by two persons, she felt herself instantaneously cured.
A Mother’s Prayer for Herself and Her Children.
Glorious Mother of the Queen of Angels, my patroness and my model, I beseech thee from the throne where God hath placed thee, to cast down a loving look on thy humble servant. Thou knowest how weak I am, how filled with imperfections, how worldly, how utterly unlike unto thee. Good St. Anne, ask Our Lord to grant me the virtues necessary for a good mother; tenderness allied with firmness, an unceasing vigilance, an inexhaustible patience, a courage proof against all tribulations and difficulties. Obtain for me so lively a faith that I may prize my children’s souls far higher than their bodies, that I may consider them more as made in the image of God than as being of my own blood, so that I may long more ardently for their salvation than for any other temporal advantage. Permit me to consecrate these beloved beings to thee; do thou take them under thy protection and recommend them daily to JESUS and Mary, so that their innocence being preserved, they may daily increase in virtue and piety, may glorify their Heavenly Father in this life, and in union with thee may sing praises in the next to all eternity.
Prayer of a Child for its Mother.
Beloved St. Anne, holy Mother of Mary, be thou the refuge and consolation of my good mother.
"It is a bad son who never prays for his mother," said a holy man. It is but a sorry mother, we would add, who never prays for her child, or her child’s soul. Children pray daily for your parents. Parents pray daily for your children.