The Saints are not of a different nature to us; like us they have a soul stained with original sin and clothed with flesh which, for them also, is a fertile source of temptation as well as of suffering and misery. Like other men, they are born in ignorance and with every evil inclination to evil,, like other men, they are subject to the necessity of eating, drinking and sleeping; they have the same duties to perform towards God, towards themselves, towards their neighbors and in order to succeed in fulfilling these duties, they have the same means at their disposal, divine grace. They have sanctified themselves while performing the very same actions as we perform but by avoiding in those actions all excess, error, imperfection; and they have succeeded in doing this by making a better use of grace than we have ever done. God has given them to us as models, so that we may take courage from their example and walk in the same path, saying to ourselves as St. Augustine did: "What such an one could do, why can I not do?" But even amongst the Saints, there are some who are better adapted than others to serve as an example to the faithful of all classes: these are they whose life had nothing extraordinary nor brilliant in it, and whose perfection lay in doing the commonest actions in the most perfect way. Such in particular was St. Anne. Her life was just that of a good and pious mother of a family. Let us visit her house in spirit, and let us see in what manner she sanctified each one of her days, and let us learn from her how to regulate our lives. St. Anne’s first action on waking was to elevate her heart to God, therein following the example of her ancestor, the holy king David, who cried to the Lord: "O God, my God, to Thee do I watch at break of day. For Thee my soul hath thirsted, my flesh trembles at the thought of Thee." She commenced everyday by fervent prayer, seeking thus to draw down heavenly blessings on herself, her husband and her Daughter. She knew well that a day without bread was preferable to a day without prayer. Indeed, is it not written: "Blessed are you that hunger for you shall be filled." On the contrary, woe to the soul that prays not: it is like earth which is not watered, which can only produce thorns and thistles destined for the fire; such a soul becomes overgrown with the weeds of vicious habits; the serpent of sin taketh delight therein. Now the morning is the fitting hour for prayer. The soul is then calmer and purer; it is free from the cares and preoccupations which arise later on in the day and render prayer almost impossible. St. Anne also thought that if every human being is under an obligation to pray, a wife and mother is more particularly obliged to do so, and that there is no one to whom this sacred duty is more necessary. In fact whenever sickness or any other misfortune visits a house, it is she who has to bear the heaviest part of the burden. How many misfortunes might not be averted by the fervent prayer of a wife for her husband, of a mother for her child!
In the summer of 1885, at the commencement of August, a young man named Fiset, arrived at St. Anne de Beaupre, from Spring field, Massachusetts USA. For seven years his whole body had been covered with horrible wounds that no remedy had succeeded in healing. His right leg was curved through the severity of his sufferings, and this poor young man, who was only seventeen years of age, could not move without the help of two crutches.
He received Holy Communion and venerated the relic without experiencing any relief. On seeing this, a priest advised him to venerate the relics a second time. He did so, and the priest who presented them to him pressed them for a moment to his breast.
At this hallowed touch, the young man felt a most delicious and extraordinary sensation pass through his whole being. For an instant, he appeared to be in an ecstasy. At that moment, his leg straightened and all his wounds were healed. He was cured, perfectly cured, and turned homewards walking as well as any one and in perfect health.
Glorious Mother of the Mother of God, thou rose to so eminent a degree of sanctity because thine was a life of prayer, because prayer was the very bread of your soul. I am miserable and remain so, because I either do not pray or pray badly, or pray too little. Hasten then to my help and obtain for me the strength of coming forth from this state of tepidity and spiritual decay. Grant that I may look on prayer as my most urgent need; so that I may more and more feel prayer to be the true element of life and immortality.
Beloved Protectress St. Anne, obtain for me from JESUS the great gift of fervent and constant prayer.
Do you never omit your morning or evening prayer? Do you not say it hurriedly as a mere form? Reflect that you should thereby be giving food to your soul which is your most precious possession; pray with recollection, putting all else aside, as if you were alone on the earth with God, and that after your prayer you would die.