The subterranean place to which the holy souls of Joachim and Anne descended was doubtless a somewhat sad abode, since they could not there enjoy the sight of God. However, for our two holy spouses there were some happy days. The first was that of St. Simeon’s arrival. We may be allowed to imagine that each time that a justified soul arrived amongst them, the Saints who were already in Limbo would go to meet it and ask about its life on earth, and how it had merited a place among the elect. We may well imagine the rejoicing of this venerable assembly, composed of all the just who had lived upon earth up to then, when the glorious prophet announced to them that he had had the happiness of seeing the Savior, of holding Him in his arms, of blessing His Mother and Foster-father.
It was then that, in the words of JESUS- CHRIST, Abraham’s heart was filled with joy, which joy was shared by Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Samuel, David, by all the prophets and all the Saints from the father of all men downwards. When the first transports of joy were over, and all had offered their congratulations to the happy soul still embalmed with the embraces of the heavenly spouse, they asked the name of the Virgin who had given birth to the Redeemer. "This admirable creature," he replied, "this Woman blessed amongst women, is called Mary; she is your daughter, venerable Joachim and most blessed Anne! And I know not on which most to felicitate her, whether on having been chosen by God for that high dignity which places her next in honor to her Son throughout the universe, or on the virtues which made her worthy of that choice." Words cannot paint the happiness, the admiration, the delight of our dear St. Anne, and of her worthy spouse, on hearing this, nor their boundless gratitude to God. They were overwhelmed with the felicitations of their own immediate ancestors from the time of Adam and Eve, and also by those of the other Saints. It is related that a father once died of joy on seeing his son return a victor from the Olympic games. And yet what reward was there for this victory? An olive crown that would be faded ere evening. The crown of divine maternity, which the Holy Ghost had placed on the head of Joachim and Anne’s Daughter assured to her unto all eternity, the happiest and most glorious destiny, of which a creature was capable. Doubtless had her parents been mortal, they would have died of joy on so suddenly learning this amazing news.
Some years later there arrived Zachariah and Elizabeth, the happy parents of St. John the Baptist. They caused an immense increase of happiness to the father and Mother of the Virgin Mother, by relating the prodigies performed in their favor and in that of their blessed son by the presence and words of Mary John having been delivered from original sin, sanctified and filled with the spirit of prophecy even from his mother s womb, whilst to Elizabeth herself and Zachariah had been made known the mystery of the Incarnation!
But how lovingly did not our two Saints, a little later on, welcome St, Joseph when they learned from him that he was their blessed Daughter’s husband as well as the legal and Foster-father of the God who had vouchsafed to be born of their race! And what sweet emotions did not that holy patriarch awake in their hearts, when he made known to them the details of all that had passed during the mystery of the Annunciation , as well as afterwards at Bethlehem; and then related the whole of the hidden life of JESUS!
From the Annals of Ste. Anne: Edifying death of a sinner, through the intercession of St. Anne.
For nearly forty years my father had fulfilled none of his religious duties, when suddenly his health became affected and the doctors pronounced his illness dangerous. His sufferings increased rapidly and, although he sighed for death to terminate them, he showed no signs of conversion. To the frequent requests we made him to allow a priest to be sent for, he would only reply: "Later on, not just now." Seeing the rapid progress of the illness, I persuaded my father to wear a relic of St. Anne around which I had inscribed: Good St. Anne, convert my dear father and prepare him for death. I then commenced a novena to St. Anne and made a pilgrimage to St. Anne de Beaupre where, meeting with the good nuns the Sisters of Charity of Quebec who were making a pilgrimage with their orphan boys, I asked them to join their fervent prayers to mine to obtain the conversion of one so dear to me. I heard Mass, received Holy Communion, venerated the relic and promised to make known the grace I should have obtained by St. Anne’s intercession, in the Annals of St. Anne, so sure did I feel of success.
On returning home, I found my patient very suffering and very much preoccupied. The next day a priest, a friend of the family, called accidentally and finding my father very ill, urged on him the necessity of losing no time in making his peace with God. Although he could not obtain the sick man s positive consent, he withdrew and went in search of a confessor. That afternoon the confessor arrived and shortly afterwards my father made his confession in a most edifying manner. The next morning he had the happiness of receiving Holy Communion as well as the, last Sacraments, he himself joyfully repeating the pious prayers and ejaculations suggested to him and recommending himself to the good prayers of those who were present. After three weeks more suffering, borne with wonderful patience and resignation and offered to God in reparation, my dear father breathed his last peacefully.
May his sincere repentance and confidence in God’s mercy be accepted and win for him a place in Heaven, where, in conjunction with thousands of other grateful clients of St, Anne, he may proclaim that the good St. Anne is never invoked in vain!
"The earth is filled with desolation," exclaims the prophet Jeremias, "because no one thinks in his heart." Who indeed could give way to pride, that source of all the evils which lay the earth desolate, if they would but sometimes think of the birth of the Son of God in a stable? Who would allow themselves to be seduced by the pleasures and goods of this world, if they closely studied the Master of the universe in His Agony, bound, scourged, spit upon, dying on a gibbet? Who would not feel attracted to heavenly things on considering the same JESUS gloriously ascending to Heaven, declaring that He is going there to open its doors and prepare a place for us? My beloved Protectors, Joachim and Anne, I have much to reproach myself with on these heads, for up to now I have neglected these means of perfection. I will profit better by them in future; I will pass no day without meditating at least for a short space of time on the Passion of JESUS, that grand school in which the Saints have learned the science of salvation. Obtain for me a spirit of compunction, of prayer and of renouncement, without which these touching mysteries will make no impression on my heart.
St. Anne, obtain for me the love of JESUS crucified.
Love to recall to mind the mysteries of the Redemption by reciting the holy Rosary, by making the Way of the Cross, by being present at the holy sacrifice: amidst the troubles and trials of this world there is nothing so consoling nor so sanctifying.