How St. Anne Spent Her Time (continued).
In every detail of her life, St. Anne strove to please her husband and make his life as happy a one as she could. She forestalled his every wish. She called him her lord as Sara had called Abraham. For she knew that woman had been created for man in order to aid him in bearing the burden of life. Therefore even if Joachim had not been a Saint, he would always have been happier in his own home than elsewhere.
During those few short years, that this holy Mother had the happiness of possessing Mary, she never deputed to any servant the task of awakening her of a morning, of dressing her, of hearing her say her accustomed prayers. Whilst bestowing the necessary care on the body of her Child, she occupied herself principally with her soul, speaking to her about God with an unction that is only to be found in a Saint whose soul is the sanctuary of the Holy Ghost. The sweet Child would hang delighted on every word that fell from her Mother s lips and reap great profit from these maternal lessons. Anne would speak to her more particularly of the promised Savior, the expectation of whom filled every pious heart of the house of Jacob with joy. In this young soul she fanned the flame of love and zeal with which it was already on fire; she encouraged her to ask God to send down speedily the Liberator of Israel, the Desired of nations, so that He might give light to those who sat in the shadow of death. If it be true, as we are taught by the Holy Ghost, that there are Angels whose task it is to gather up to God the prayers of the faithful and offer them to God, how would they hasten to gather up those of such a Mother and such a Daughter! What graces must not these prayers have drawn down on themselves, on St. Joachim, on the people of God, on the whole human race. If Christian mothers only knew how to imitate their Patroness the great St. Anne, what good might they not do to their children, to all their family! But alas, the greater number of them neglect the sacred duty of seeing to their children’s early training; they make themselves unworthy and incapable of doing so through living habitually in sin; they even go so far as to corrupt those young souls by communicating their own vanity to them and scandalizing them by their fits of anger, their conversations which are always frivolous and by far too often culpable. After St. Anne had acquitted herself of her duties as a wife and a mother, she turned her thoughts to the poor, the widows and orphans to whom she was likewise a mother. With her own hands she made clothes for them, she fed them from her table; she visited and consoled them in their afflictions, exhorting them to bear their sufferings with patience. Her words were like a fragrant oil healing their wounds, or like a fresh breeze breathing courage into their dejected souls. When she would leave some house where she had been bestowing her charity and consoling the afflicted, they would say: "Blessed be the Lord who has sent us this Angel of peace! She is rightly named Anne, which means grace, for words of grace flow from her lips as honey distills from the honeycomb; even to look at her is a blessing; she makes virtue appear lovely; would that she were never absent from us. Happy the man to whom this noble woman is wife ! She lengthens his days by making his heart rejoice every day; she drives grief and care from his home" These visits were the only recreation which our Saint permitted herself to enjoy; it was only on these occasions that she ever left her home, except on the Sabbath when she went to the Synagogue to listen to the Sacred Books being expounded.
In her house the repasts were simple and frugal; they were always preceded and followed by grace, and were seasoned by harmless and pious conversation.
The evening, like the morning, was consecrated to God by fervent prayer, which the two Saints prolonged far into the night, more particularly on days consecrated to penance or to the remembrance of some of God’s great mercies. The divine praises were ever on their lips and like their ancestor the Royal Prophet, they were ever blessing God, both in adversity and in prosperity.
It was thus that the glorious Mother of Mary, and her spouse made themselves amiable in the sight of God and man, and sanctified their own souls. Thus should every Christian woman sanctify herself by a life of prayer, work, patience, retreat, modesty, submission and judicious care of her family. Thus only will she be happy in this life and lay up for herself that highest reward which virtue can meet with here below, that of joyfully beholding the approach of death.
The Parish Priest of Shawnegan gives the following account accompanied by a duly witnessed doctor’s certificate attesting the fact that, without supernatural aid, the child must inevitably have died.
In the spring of 1883, a child of twelve years of age, named Joseph Laperriere, was attacked with softening of the spinal marrow, and, in the course of a few weeks, had become so weak that he could hardly make the slightest movement. In trying to make the sign of the Cross his hand could not be raised higher than his chest. The doctors pronounced the case hopeless and I was called in to administer the last Sacraments. His family invoked the aid of St. Anne by means of novenas, particularly during the month of May. During one of these novenas, the father received Holy Communion for his child’s cure; and a few minutes after his return home, he heard the child asking to get up. As he had not been able to do so for several months, his mother tried to dissuade him from making the attempt, but he replied that he was cured, and unassisted sat up in his bed.
The neighbors hastened to his bedside and on hearing of it, I hastened thither accompanied by Dr. F and we at once perceived there was a wonderful amelioration in his state. All the upper part of his body was completely cured. On attempting to make him walk, we however found him quite incapable of doing so. Another novena was commenced, the second or third day the child could walk on crutches, and on the last day he himself came, and in my presence, laid his crutches at the feet of St. Anne’s statue.
Happy art thou, oh most holy Mother of the Queen of Heaven, at having so well understood the importance of life and the necessity of sanctifying every instant of it by the faithful performance of those duties which devolve on the wife and the mother. What a fearful judgment shall I be laying up for myself if I employ that time which Christ has paid for with His blood, in seeking after frivolous pleasures, in satisfying my cupidity, my vanity, my ambition! JESUS has Himself warned us in His Gospel that making long prayers, retaining virginity, performing miracles will avail nothing in the attainment of eternal reward, if we do not add thereto doing the Will of God, which Will is clearly manifested to each one of us by the duties of our state of life, and by fulfilling the royal precept of loving our neighbor, which can be done in every state of life. Good St. Anne, obtain for me to understand and remember these great truths; may they henceforth be a light to lighten my path, and the invariable rule of my conduct, so that every day of my life may, like thine, be filled with good works.
Dear St. Anne, may I sanctify every moment of this brief life by a pure intention, by prayer and fidelity to my duties.
If you desire your own sanctification, you will combine prayer with the exact accomplishment of the duties of your state of life, in a spirit of obedience to God, and will join to these the practice of charity, especially towards the suffering members of JESUS-CHRIST.