The holy patriarch Jacob was a simple-minded man leading a wandering life, a shepherd. Nevertheless, because he was the father of Joseph, the savior of Egypt, the great king Pharaoh, albeit so proud, received him at court, overwhelmed him with marks of esteem, conversed familiarly with him, and caused some of the finest land in the territory to be given to him and his children. The honor of children redounds to that of their parents, and so it should be, since, says the Scripture, were it not for their parents the children would never have been born. Well then! St. Anne was the Mother of the glorious Virgin Mary, and Mary was the Mother of JESUS! In what honor, then, must she have been held by the King of the universe, by the Father of JESUS! What homage, then, is there not due to her from the human race, to whom, by means of her Daughter, she gave a Redeemer! Anne is the Grandmother of the Savior of the world! The Saints are always represented with the attributes of their special claim to heavenly glory and to our worship: St. Paul with the sword which was the instrument of his martyrdom; St. Joseph with the lily emblem of his purity; St. Louis with the crown of thorns, recalling his devotion to the Passion of Our Savior and to the Holy Sepulchre. The pious artists of the middle ages represent St. Anne holding on her knees her glorious Daughter, the Virgin Mary, who herself is holding the Infant JESUS in her arms. An ingenious idea indeed, but a very just one, since the glory of Anne is being the Mother of Mary, the Mother of Our Lord God JESUS.
The real merit before God of this great Saint is not so much her having given birth to the Mother of the Savior, as her having been found worthy of becoming so. Even as Mary was the worthy Mother of God, even so was St. Anne his worthy Grandmother. A woman having once, while speaking to JESUS, exclaimed: "Blessed is the womb that bore thee, and the breasts that gave thee suck." He replied in a way to show that His Mother’s real happiness consisted in her sanctity, which had caused her to be chosen for this dignity, the highest to which a creature could aspire. As much may be said about St. Anne, and we may thence conclude that her sanctity was very great. Have you ever attentively observed a lily? The leaves nearest to the ground are of dark green; they are large, thick and somewhat coarse. Nothing in them announces the glorious flower that will surmount them. But, in proportion as the leaves grow higher on the stem, they become smaller, finer and are of a lighter and more delicate hue, as if nature were striving to form that balmy masterpiece which, in the words of the Gospel, surpasses all the magnificence of Solomon. Even thus, on the royal stem of David, whence the Messiah was to spring, there were some disfiguring shoots, I mean to say some souls but little worthy of Him who is called the Lily ot the valleys, there were sinners, such as Joram, Ozias, Manasses, Amon. But it was fitting that the more immediate ancestors of JESUS should be Saints, especially the two last, Joachim and Anne. Otherwise, the Jews, who had known the parents of Mary, might have said to JESUS, what they said to the man who had been born blind: "Thou wast born in sins and dost thou teach us?" There is no doubt then that these two holy persons merited the eulogium pronounced by the Holy Spirit on Zacharias and Elizabeth, the parents of John the Baptist: "Both were just in the eyes of the Lord, and walked in all the commandments of the Lord without blame."
It so happened that there was an expedition to Egypt of 400 Canadian boatmen who were sent for by the English government to aid the British soldiers in passing themselves and their baggage up the rapids of the river Nile. This brave band consisted of French, English, and Irish Canadians and about seventy Indians.
It was towards the end of October, that these Canadians commenced the passage of the Nile rapids and many were the feats of daring and cool courage accomplished by them. The mothers of many of these brave fellows had, on parting with them, specially recommended them to the protection of St. Anne and impressed on their minds that never was St. Anne invoked in vain. On one occasion, a boatman perceived that his boat was being driven against a most dangerous rock in the midst of a formidable rapid. Snatching up his only remaining oar, he hurled it into the middle of the rapid, calling out: "Good St. Anne of the Canadians, save me!" After having passed through awful whirlpools for upwards of a mile, he arrived safely on the shore. "St. Anne’s oar saved my life," he exclaimed. A few days afterwards, this brave man perceived one of his companions in danger of perishing in a rapid which he himself had just passed with difficulty. Not being able to go to his assistance, he threw him his oar, calling out: "Catch hold of St. Anne’s oar and fear nothing." The other man soon reached the shore and they decided on bringing the miraculous oar to Canada and laying it at the feet of the statue of St. Anne de Beaupre.
Great St. Anne, like thee I also have glorious privileges! By my baptism I became a child of the Eternal Father, a member of JESUS-CHRIST, a temple of the Holy Ghost, a brother and fellow-citizen of the Angels and the Elect. But, alas! I am altogether unworthy of these privileges! By how many vices and sins have I not dishonored these names which are a thousand times nobler than that of a king! How greatly should I fear that they should lead to my everlasting confusion and condemnation! For the Judge of the living and the dead will ask much of him to whom much has been given. My charitable Protectress, thou canst plead for my entire conversion and complete change of life; and I beg thee to do so. Plead for me with the Advocate of sinners, that she may obtain me the grace of repentance and the pardon of all my iniquities, the strength to fight against those inclinations which most defile my soul, as well as the lights to perceive how worthy is our God of being loved and how great is my obligation of serving Him with all my strength. Thus wilt thou rejoice the Hearts of JESUS, and Mary and glorify the august Trinity, and there will be one soul the more to love It here on earth and to sing Its glories with thee in Heaven.
Good St. Anne, obtain for me the victory over my predominant fault.
Ask of God, through the intercession of St. Joachim and St. Anne, the virtues proper to your state of life and the grace worthily to fulfil all its obligations.