In terminating the month which is consecrated to St. Anne, we will give our readers some rules to observe, in order that their devotion to this great Saint may be really useful and salutary. There are two questions to be answered: I. What favors may we be allowed to ask of God through St. Anne’s intercession? II. By means of what pious practices can we prevail on St. Anne to aid us?
In reply to our first question, we will reply that it is a good and a pious custom to invoke the Saints, and particularly St. Anne, in order to obtain relief in our bodily infirmities, troubles and trials, to escape some impending calamity, to succeed in our worldly affairs. Our confidence, is most agreeable to God, since even in unimportant matters, it is based on faith in His goodness and in the power of the Saints. The holiest of mankind, too, have set us an example of applying to them. Among others we may see St. Francis of Sales having recourse to a relic of St. Apollonia in order to obtain relief from a violent toothache which was preventing him from saying Mass. But there are some Christians who never think of having recourse to God and His Saints except when their temporal interests are at stake; and this conduct is reprehensible. They forget that they have a soul to save, an eternity of blessedness to win; that these earthly possessions, to which they are so attached, will sooner or later be stolen from them by the robber called Death; and that, no matter what means they may take, their carefully tended body will become food for worms.
A certain man gained a livelihood by catching snakes which he sold to an apothecary who extracted from them a substance known as theriac. One evening being very much fatigued with searching after them, he placed ajar full of living reptiles in his room and not noticing that the jar was not well closed up, fell into a deep sleep.
Towards midnight, being awakened by the buzzing of a large fly, he perceived that the snakes had crawled out of their jar and, attracted by the heat, were all around him in his bed; his neck, arms, legs, chest were covered with these frightful reptiles, the slightest bite from which would cause his death, and a terrible death. Calling his servant, he told her what? To drive away the importunate fly which was disturbing his sleep. This being done, and saying to him self that to-morrow he must see to killing these snakes; he once more placed his head on his pillow and fell asleep again. And what happened, you will ask me? Just what was likely to happen: towards morning, the reptiles, having recovered from their state of torpor, attacked him with their poisonous bites and he died in horrible agony. What a madman ! how imprudent of him! you will exclaim. Most certainly, but are you any wiser? For weeks, months, years perhaps, you have been living in mortal sin, in habits of blasphemy, of impurity, of hatred to your neighbor; your bad habits, your sins are so many vipers, any one of which might, if God so permitted, precipitate you into the eternal flames, and yet you live on quite tranquilly, you eat, you drink, you sleep, you make merry, you put off your conversion to an other day. To awake you from your fatal torpor, God sends you some, sickness, some disastrous reverse of fortune, some cross or other. And your first care is to have recourse to St. Anne, begging her to deliver you from whatever is disturbing your fatal repose. Be not so mad! so imprudent! first ask her help to enable you to break asunder the chain of your passions, to rid you of those sins which are hourly exposing your soul to endless misery. Afterwards, if you will, you can ask to be delivered also from whatever cross God has seen fit to send you for your greater good.
In your devotion to St. Anne then, your first thought must be the salvation of your soul, you must ask her to deliver you from sin, if you are in that unhappy state, or if happily this be not the case, to preserve you from it for ever and make you increase in the love of JESUS and Mary and in all the virtues necessary to your state of life.
But if you wish St. Anne to love and succor you in all your necessities, you must be faith ful in honoring her daily. It is not necessary to make long prayers to her: a Pater and Ave devoutly recited in her honor will suffice, if you never omit them. There are some Christians who hasten to pray to the Saints and make pilgrimages to their shrines, whenever they are in any trouble, but forget them as soon as they have obtained relief in their necessities. Such devotion is but mercenary, self-interested. Neither God nor the Saints love ingratitude. Pray then to St. Anne at all times: in your necessities in order to obtain relief; and after having obtained favors, continue to pray in order to show your gratitude, pray also for her aid in what ever trials the future may have in store for you and, most of all, pray that under her protection, you may attain eternal happiness.
Note from the anonymous author of these meditations:
I pray our great Saint to conduct you to it, and if my little work has been of any use to you, I ask you to offer a prayer that I, too, may attain to life everlasting. I, on my part, promise you a remembrance before God.
May not the Translator also beg a remembrance in the pious prayers of all those to whom this translation may prove useful ? G. M. Ward.
A married man from St. Vincent de Paul writes:
My wife was taken ill some years ago. After having been attended by several doctors, her illness was looked on as incurable and her sufferings were terrible. She could not walk and from the knee to the ankle her legs were covered with wounds. Not being able to lie down on account of the feeling of suffocation brought on by that position, she had to remain constantly seated, suffering from such incessant thirst that she could not pass more than an hour without drinking. She had been in this state for nearly two years and a half, when the doctors despairing of her case, she placed all her hopes in St. Anne.
She undertook a pilgrimage to St. Anne de Beaupre, an undertaking which our relations and friends looked on as foolish and imprudent, saying she would die before arriving at her journey’s end. Filled with faith and confidence, she set off for St. Anne de Beaupre, and, having arrived there, was seated on a chair and carried into the sanctuary by my self and a charitable gentleman. She received holy Communion seated in her chair and then heard three Masses in thanksgiving. During all this time she felt no need of taking any beverage. After her thanksgiving, she remarked to me that she felt better; she rose and went towards the sacristy and mounted the steps leading to it without any great difficulty. After having received the blessing of the parish-priest, she retraced her steps quite unassisted, and walking more and more easily. St. Anne had cured her; and shortly afterwards all her pains left her, her wounds healed, the swelling disappeared and now she is perfectly well.
We adjoin the certificate given by one of the physicians who attended this lady:
I, the undersigned, physician, certify to having attended Madame Pare from the end of the year 1877 to the commencement of 1880, without obtaining any satisfactory result. A month ago the same Madame Pare came to see me and appeared to be perfectly cu red, F. A. Germain M. D.
Great St. Anne, grave indelibly on my heart and on my mind the words which have reclaimed and sanctified so many sinners: "What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?" May this be the principal fruit of the pious exercises by which I have striven to honor thee during the month which is consecrated to thee. At thy feet I renew my resolution of invoking thee daily, not only for the success of my temporal affairs and to be preserved from sickness and suffering, but above all, that I may be preserved from all sin, that I may gain the victory over my depraved inclinations, and that I may succeed in working out my eternal salvation. My powerful Protectress, do not let me lose my soul, but obtain for me the grace of winning my way to Heaven, there, with thee and thy blessed spouse and glorious Daughter, to sing the praises of the most holy and adorable Trinity, for ever and ever.
Good St. Anne, extend thy maternal intercession to me and lead me to Heaven.
Fidelity in offering a short daily prayer to St. Anne, so as to attain to eternal glory through her intercession.