Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Thankgiving for the relics of St Anne!

Quoting from "St Anne: Grandmother of Our Saviour." by Frances Parkinson Keyes

Charlemagne ordered that the relics should be reverently gathered together and a careful inventory immediately made of them. Then a Service of Thanksgiving was held; and the following day the discovery was officially celebrated at a Mass sung by Archbishop Turpin, who had accompanied the emperor throughout his journeyings and his search.

We are told that there was great rejoicing among the populace of Apt, as well there might have been; also that “according to his habit,” Charlemagne distributed portions of the relics among his friends and reserved for himself that part which he wished to take with him to Aix-la-Chapelle.

Then he prepared a process verbal of the inventory and stamped it with his seal; made a report to the Pope in the form of a letter; confided the care of the ossuary to the Bishop of Apt and his successors; and himself continued on his way to his capital, accompanied by his suite and bearing his treasure with him.

From that day to this, Apt has been regarded as the final resting place of Our Lord’s grandmother. True, the claim of many other localities to the possession of authentic relics must be regarded as valid, but “the sanctuaries of St Anne, the benign grandmother of the human race.”

It is also true that the relics at Apt itself have several times been moved and differently disposed; they are now enclosed in a reliquary formed like a bust which surmounts the altar in the Chapel Royal of the cathedral at Apt. But this very reliquary has a lovely and lasting link with the stone slab engraved with a fruitful vine; every year, on St Anne’s Feast Day, it is decorated with fresh grapes which are afterward taken out and distributed among the sick as “the grapes of St Anne.”

Without mental reservation, but with heartfelt conviction and firm faith, we may say amen to the words of the devout French writer who declared, “If nature and history have done a great deal for Provence, religion has done even more. A place was reserved for it in the distribution of Divine graces on earth, a unique place, as if it bore the last imprint of the life of Jesus Christ among us.”

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