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St. Anne, St. Anne Bring Me a Man

Updated: Oct 3, 2023

For many people, July is the month of vacation, sunshine, the last chance to do anything fun before school starts again. All of those are true statements for me as well, but July is also the month of St. Anne.


A local church parish has a chapter of the St. Anne Society. My great-grandmothers, my grandmother, and mother were members. When I was in college I joined, too. It was like a mini rite of passage. Many of the women there would jokingly ask if I was praying for "the one." Followed by the silly rhyme, "St. Anne, St. Anne bring me a man."


At first, I never really had a specific reason to say the novena. I would spend days trying to figure out a “good” petition, or I’d have a different petition each day. As I continued, I learned to simply join my prayers to the petitions of others when I didn’t have a need of my own, or I’d say, “God, you know what I need.”


I am still a member of the St. Anne Society, but it’s been harder and harder for me to participate in person. More and more it seems like there is a litany of reasons why I can’t attend. Sometimes they are valid reasons. Sometimes they are simply excuses. I still say it on my own, but there is something that is so special about gathering with other women, united in prayer, and honoring Our Lord that I find myself yearning for more lately. There’s something about community that just seems to enhance the experience.


The Gospel reading this past Sunday was from Matthew 10. I was particularly struck by verses 37-39. “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”


Well, hello! Call me not worthy! I thought about all the times we missed Mass because I didn’t want to wake the family up too early on the one day we were able to sleep in, or because I didn’t want to stop the fun we were having. (Insert that litany here.) In those moments, I was choosing to “find my life, not lose it.” I was choosing to “love” my family over Christ. Thank God for this moment of grace and understanding! I realized that by trying to “love” my family in this way was at the expense of allowing them to choose Christ. How loving is that?! In choosing Christ by choosing to go to Mass, I am also loving my family in the most real sense, and ultimately truly loving myself.



This was a BIG aha! moment for me. And it happened in church!


In community,


gathering with others,


united in prayer,


and honoring Our Lord.


And then came the next BIG aha!


I often wonder what Mary’s personality was like in order for her to give her Fiat. I know she is the Immaculate Conception, which came with many graces, but I realized in that moment there was also an element that came from her upbringing.


Sts. Anne and Joachim raised her in community. They taught her to be prayerful and more importantly, they taught her who God was. Those things didn’t happen in isolation. They didn’t say, “We don’t need to go to temple this week. We talk to God regularly enough. He knows my heart.”


No. They followed His word. They lived a simple life, loving God. They lived for God, and taught Mary how to do the same, and in turn, Mary does the same for us.


I guess my point here is that going to church weekly or daily, and as part of novenas, etc. is not only for us, but it’s also an opportunity love the other people in our lives and here on this journey with us. Those that we know and love and those that we may never meet. We are a community and participating in that community, gathering with others, united in prayer, and honoring Our Lord is one way that we can follow after Him and be worthy of Him as Christ plainly demands of us in Matthew's Gospel.


The St. Anne Novena begins on July 17 and ends on her feast day, July 26. She is the patron saint of mothers, grandmothers, unmarried women, housewives, women in labor, women with infertility, miners, and cabinet makers. Join me and all of those around the world in praying it.


Wishing you Love and Light!

Leah

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