Jesus’ grandmother Anne was one of the featured saints in a sermon in our church last Sunday. The apocryphal Gospel of James has Anne’s story. She was Mary’s mother and Jesus’ grandmother. Artistic depictions of Anne show her playing an important role in her grandson’s life.
The sermon about Anne last Sunday brought back memories of two churches dedicated to Jesus’ grandmother I’ve visited. This is St. Anne’s Church in Jerusalem. I visited it on a school trip with my Hong Kong students. The church is located right beside the pool of Bethesda where Jesus healed a man who had been sick for 38 years. This is fitting because Anne is the saint of healing. Interestingly Anne’s church in Jerusalem is at the same spot where there used to be a shrine to the Greek god of healing Ascelepius.
In Quebec City I visited the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré.
At the back of the church are all these cabinets filled with crutches and canes people have left behind. They didn’t need them anymore after visiting St. Annes’ church because St. Anne healed them. She is the saint of healing.
I never knew about Ste. Anne till I visited the two churches built in her honor. It is interesting to realize there are religious writings that gives Jesus a grandmother who played an important role in his life just like many grandmothers do for all of us.