Tuesday, May 27, 2008

St Anne, Patroness of a Happy Death

St Anne, like St Joseph, is a patron for a happy death. Probably they share the same reason for being bestowed this intercessory power and that is to have died in the arms of Jesus and Mary. The origin of devotion to St Anne on Tuesdays is connected to tradition that states that Our Lord greeted St Anne at her death, saying anyone who had devotion to her on the day of the week that she died, would receive great graces at the hands of St Anne.

We all wish to die in the arms of Jesus and Mary. Our dearest wish would be to feel their presence at the hour of our death. We can believe with confidence that Jesus and Mary would have been present at their loved ones passing on earth and so we pray to be granted in some way, the same grace St Joseph and St Anne would have been given. On of the titles of St Anne in her litany is "Patroness of a Happy Death"

When I was sick a few months ago, I felt as if I were going to die, I grew anxious at this thought as I have six children who need me. It soon got to the stage with the constant battling on two fronts -physically and emotionally- that it wore me down in such a way that the anxiety interferred with normal thoughts of peace. So I battled then the continuing fear of death AND anxiety that was starting to take on a life of its own. It gave me a very small insight into the possible temptations that someone could experience when dying. It felt as if it were a diabolical attack in a way and I felt the need to pray for relief from these fears and distresses.

St Faustina stated how much prayer souls needed at the hour of their death or as they enter the 'death agony'. St Faustina would pray that the death agony would be shortened, knowing very well that it was a time that the devil tries to advance upon if possible. So we can say it is an important daily grace to pray for ourselves and our loved ones - praying for the grace we so especially need more than anything else, the grace to pass from this life into the presence of The Lord. I see my own recent experience as a great grace. I now know just how important it is to faithfully pray for this grace every day. Not just for myself either, for my family - my husband and children.

Today I wish to share a lovely story my husband had told me many years ago and then next week I'll finish this discussion with a beautiful example of how St Anne comes to the aid of those devotees who are about to die.

A friend of my dh told this story to him years ago.

It was a a lady who one day was walking past an secondhand op shop and she looked into the window to see a religious statue for sale. She went in to look at it as she didn't like the idea of a religious statue being in the shop for anyone to buy so she bought it herself.

At this stage she was unaware who the saint was but finally she found out it was St Anne. This lady, through the purchasing of this statue developed a very strong devotion to St Anne and that then continued on, all through her life.

As this lady, now elderly, entered her death agony they had expected her to pass away on a particular Marian feast in July (possibly Our Lady of Mt Carmel?) but she strengthened a little and continued on a few more days until finally she died on the feast of St Anne, 26th of July.

I could not help but to think there was a connection to her resucing of the statue, the subsequent devotion that developed and her passing on the feast of St Anne.

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