Medieval England pioneered devotion to St Anne, which grew from the roots of love for Our Lady which was such a notable part of life in Saxon England. The influence of the East may also have been a factor through St Theodore of Tarsus, the seventh century Archbishop of Canterbury who enriched England with Eastern theology and experience.
St Anne shows that models for saintly Christian women have been varied in the Church for many centuries. We do indeed have the glory of the virgin martyrs, young saints and heroines, and we rightly celebrate them, but we also have among the “great cloud of witnesses” those who were married, like St Anne. Bearing a child in later life and recognised as a grandmother figure for all of us, St Anne also reminds us of the Church’s respect for the wisdom and experience of old age.
We pray to her especially for the family today, for the recognition among young and old Catholics, of the value of Christian marriage and the sanctity of human life. Her care of Our Blessed Lady also encourages us in our Marian devotion.