Tuesday, September 30, 2008


This Sunday, I sang for Confirmation at our parish. Kids are confirmed in 8th grade here, and I love hearing the saints' names they choose. Among the boys, a lot chose Francis, Patrick, John Bosco, Leo, and Gabriel, and I also heard Christopher, Nicholas, Timothy, Michael, Ambrose, and Anthony. A lot of the girls chose Mary/Maria and Elizabeth, with a couple of Joans and Claires, as well as Agnes, Helen, Bridget, and Cecelia. The most unusual choices I heard were Ciprian and Hedwig.

No one chose my confirmation name! Watching the confirmandi come forward, I remembered going with my sponsor to meet with my pastor for the big interview to determine whether I was ready to be confirmed. The pastor was a very kind man who had been at our parish for as long as I could remember. He asked me which St. Anne I had chosen, and I told him I chose St. Anne, the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Then he asked why I chose her, and I replied "She had a lot of faith." He smiled and said, "In your own words," which kind of annoyed and embarrassed me, because they were my own words. So, I said, "Well, she really wanted a child, and when she couldn't have one, she prayed, and she believed that God would send her a child. And He did."

I was thirteen, and such things as having babies and difficulty in having babies seemed absolutely mortifying to discuss. And, yes, I chose St. Anne because of her faith . . . but I was really choosing among St. Annes, not among all saints, because I was following a family tradition of taking one's sponsor's name as one's confirmation name. In fact, my sponsor pointed out to me at the confirmation rehearsal that adding my confirmation name would make my name into kind of a silly pun!

I never dreamed when I was in eighth grade that I'd be sitting here years and years later, needing exactly the kind of faith I described in St. Anne. And I really wonder whether God let those circumstances come together to give me a patron saint who could be a powerful intercessor for exactly the circumstances I find myself facing now.

I'm embarrassed now that, for all these years, I really haven't been praying to St. Anne. I think it's about time I started. If anyone has any great prayers or novenas to St. Anne, please pass them along! I'll be thinking of your intentions, too, and praying that our children come to all of us soon, by whatever means God intends them to come.


allyouwhohope said...

Wow, that is definitely the Holy Spirit! Someone once told me that saints choose us, even though we think we choose them. I think this is a perfect example of that. I think she might be calling you into a devotion to her right now!

This_Cross_I_Embrace said...

How beautiful, that St. Anne seems to have been watching over you since 8th grade, knowing the journey you would take all along, and there to help and pray for you.

I found a wonderful Novena to her on the EWTN website. That's the only one I've ever done, but it is really nice.

Jeremiah 29:11 said...

I got this beautiful novena to St.Anne and St.Joachim when my husband and I began learning NFP. I distinctly remember looking at it and quickly putting it aside with hopes that I would never need it... it's amazing how I was nervous about having trouble conceiving from day 1.

Anyways, here is the novena:

Good parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary, grandparents of our Savior, Jesus Christ,
When life seems barren, help us to trust in God's mercy.
When we are confused, help us to find the way to God.
When we are lost in the desert, lead us to those whom God has called us to love.
When our marriage seems lifeless, show us the eternal youth of the Lord.
When we are selfish, teach us to cling only ot that which lasts.
When we are afraid, help us to trust in God.
When we are ashamed, remind us that we are God's children.
When we sin, lead us to do God's will.
You who know God's will for husband and wife, help us to live chastely.
You who suffered without children, intercede for all infertile couples.
You who trusted in God's will, help us to respect God's gift of fertility.
You who gave birth to the Blessed Mother, inspire couples to be co-creators with God.
You who taught the Mother of God, teach us to nurture children by holy instruction.
You whose hearts trusted in God, hear our prayers for... (mention intention.)
Pray with us for the ministry of Catholic family life.
Pray with us for the ministry of Natural Family Planning.
Pray with us for all who give their time, talent and treasure to this good work.
Hail Mary... Our Father... Glory Be...

God of our fathers, you gave Saints Anne and Joachim the privilege of being the parents of Mary, the mother of your incarnate Son. May their prayers help us to attain the salvation you have promised to your people. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

LifeHopes said...

Wow this is a great post. I often think of Saint Anne, also, and Saint Elizabeth (cousin of Mary, mother of John) ... didn't she have infertility? (sorry I might be imagining that one!)

And of Sarah. All of these women know exactly how we feel, and they obviously carried their crosses beautifully. We really should ask for their intercessions more often.

Beth said...

My mom prayed to St. Elizabeth and St. Anne for me all the time before we conceived Madeleine. (My name is Elizabeth Anne) - named after Mary's cousin and Mary's mother.

My confirmation name is Margaret, which is Madeleine's middle name. I'll pray for St. Anne's intercession for you.

By the way do you like YOUR name? :)


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