When a child is born into the world its mother rejoices, said Our Lord on one occasion; but, alas, how often, we may add, would her joy change to sorrow if she could foresee the anguish, the suffering of which this beloved being would be the cause. On the day of Mary s birth there was, neither for her nor for her holy Mother, any reason to weep, but, on the contrary, every reason to rejoice. Certainly this was not because the blessed Child would have nothing to suffer here below, but because her destiny was so dazzling, so sublime, that had good St. Anne foreseen it, she would have died with joy. The day on which St. Anne brought forth her holy Child was the first beautiful one that had risen on our earth since the fall of Adam, and, with the exception of that of our Savior’s birth, the most beautiful one that ever dawned. It was the signal for immense rejoicing, not only for Joachim and Anne, but also for all the human race, and even for the Angels. It was a source of infinite glory to the august Trinity, and throughout all realms the spirits of darkness alone deplored it, as they had good reason to do. And may we not think that the august Father and venerable Mother of the blessed Child had some presentiment of her future greatness, and the great benefits she would bestow on poor humanity? They were well aware that, like Isaac, she was a Child of blessing, the fruit of grace rather than of nature, more the fruit of their prayer, of their pious tears, than of their blood. It is far from improbable too that, like the birth of Isaac, that of Jacob, that of Moses, that of John the Baptist, like that of many of the Saints of the New Testament, the birth of Mary was accompanied by signs which foretold happy results for Israel and for all the nations.
It was the custom among the Jews that on the occasion of the birth of a child, the parents, neighbors and friends came to visit the mother and to congratulate her on God having blessed her and, as they said, visited her with His goodness. The relations and friends of Joachim and Anne, on the great day of Mary’s birth, did likewise; and they hastened the more to do so as the age of the two holy spouses, as well as their virtues, their mode of life more angelic than human, everything in fact, gave them reason to believe that the child just born of them was destined like Judith, like Deborah, like Esther, to contribute to the Lord’s merciful designs for His people. They asked her name and learned it was Mary. Doubtless they could not foresee the marvelous glory in store for that name, how it was to be venerated, loved, extolled throughout all future ages. Nevertheless they drew a happy augury from the name, for was it not that of Moses sister, who had watched over the cradle of the young Prophet, who had been exposed on the shores of the Nile, and afterwards had aided him in the deliverance of the Hebrew people? And they said to the happy parents: "Blessed be the Lord who hath not suffered your family to want a successor, but hath given you one to comfort you and cherish your old age. Better shall she be to you than seven sons. May she be like Leah and Rachel who built up the house of Israel, may she be an example of virtue and may her name be famous in the house of David; and by this Child may your race be multiplied and your house increase like that of Judah our ancestor."Amen! Amen! replied the noble Joachim and his worthy spouse; and these good wishes, which were amply and magnificently fulfilled in a spiritual sense, fully made up to them for the long borne reproach of their sterility.
The following example is given in the words of the prelate who guarantees its truth.
"We, Réné du Louet, by the grace of God and the Apostolic See, Bishop and Count of Cornwall, make known to the faithful that Jane Baumin, a native of the village of Kerbranguen, in the parish of Kerrien, in the bishopric of Cornwall, having at about the age of sixteen lost the use of her legs and the power of speech, remained deprived of the use of her limbs and dumb during the space of about four years, without either walking or speaking, although all the natural remedies suggested by medical art had been employed for her relief. Having been vowed to St. Anne by her father, named John Baumin, the said John Baumin and his daughter accompanied by one William Hellon, set out towards the chapel of St. Anne d Auray, June 19th, 1665, arriving there the 20th of the said month, about eight o’clock in the evening. The two men carried her like a child to the holy shrine where she prayed before the miraculous picture and after wards the same Hellon carried her to the inn where she passed the night. The next day, June 21, being again carried to the church where she made her confession by means of signs, and, after receiving Holy Communion, she continued her devotions without experiencing any relief. After a time the above mentioned Hellon carried her to the fountain which is in close proximity to the chapel, and there she commenced bathing her legs, and invoking the aid of St. Anne. Instantaneously she rose and began to walk in the sight of all the assembled people, and quite unassisted she returned to the church to pour out her grateful thanks to God and to St. Anne before the picture, returning afterwards to her own parish where every one was filled with admiration and where the parish priest published this miracle from the pulpit during the announcements at High Mass, the said Jane Baumin being present and in perfect health. Taking all these circumstances into consideration, we have declared and by these presents now declare that the miracle worked on Jane Baumin, June 21st, 1662, is well and duly authenticated and we permit of its being published to the glory of God and the honor of the glorious St. Anne through whose merits it pleased Him to perform it."
This first cure greatly increased the confidence of Jane Baumin, who, the following year, recovered her powers of speech whilst praying before the miraculous picture of St. Anne on Corpus Christi Day, June 12th, 1664.
PRAYER. (Of St. John Damascene)
O blessed amongst women; blessed was the house of David whence thou didst issue; blessed was thy womb whence God vouchsafed thou shouldst bring forth the Ark of all holiness, the Virgin of virgins, from whom He had determined that He should Himself be born in a manner worthy of her infinite purity! Yes, happy art thou and threefold happy since thou didst give birth to that Child filled with all heavenly benedictions, to that Daughter whose name is worthy of all veneration, to that Virgin from whom Christ sprang like a flower of life, He whose birth eclipsed every other happy event which the world had ever rejoiced over. Most blessed Mother, we rejoice with thee; for it was the Hope of the human race, so often promised, to whom thou didst give birth! Yea, blessed art thou and blessed is the fruit of thy womb! Every pious and loving heart blesseth thee and every tongue joyfully extolleth her to whom thou hast given birth and who, in her turn shall give birth to our sweet JESUS. Blessed couple, Joachim and Anne, in this day which is so joyful a one for you, deign to impart to us a share of your happiness; intercede for us with your beloved Daughter, so that she may bless us together with her Divine Son JESUS, Our Lord and our God who liveth and reigneth, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, world without end.
O Mary! blessed art thou among women and blessed is St. Anne, from whom thou wert born without any stain of sin.
The Queen of Angels rejoices whenever, like Elizabeth, we felicitate her on having given birth to the Divine Redeemer; and she is also honored when we felicitate her well-beloved Mother St. Anne, on having brought her forth. Let us then often address St. Anne.