St. Anne’s Feast

According to early Christian writings, Saint Anne was the mother of Mary and grandmother of Jesus. Mary’s mother is not named in the canonical gospels but her name and her husband’s name, Joachim appear in the New Testament apocrypha. Two well-known shrines of St. Anne are that of Ste. Anne d’Auray in Brittany, France and the Ste. Anne de Beaupre, near Quebec. In the Southeast Asian region, the well-known shrine of St. Anne is in Bukit Mertajam, Penang.

In Malaysia, as many as 100,000 pilgrims from all over Malaysia and neighbouring countries like Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines and Australia will congregate at the St. Anne’s Church at Bukit Mertajam during the Feast of St. Anne every year. The St. Anne’s Feast celebration lasts for 10 days, including the actual feast day on July 26. The celebrations include a candlelight procession, a nine-day novena and the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The 9-day novena begins on July 17 and ends on July 25, the eve of the Feast of St. Anne.

St. Anne is the patron saint of equestrians, miners, housewives, women in labour, cabinet-makers and sailors because she is a protector from storms. The earliest sign of St. Anne’s veneration in the West is an 8th-century fresco in a church of Santa Maria, Antiqua, Rome.

St. Anne is considered a Saint because of her role as the mother of Mary, grandmother of Jesus Christ, and as a devout and pious servant of God. She acted remarkably by bringing up her daughter and promising to give her to the works of God.