Today I am remembering my father’s Great Aunt Anne.
My whole family, on both sides, are blessed with a rich, godly Protestant faith. They were German, Swiss, Danish and English Lutherans, Brethren and Mennonites. In my grandparents generation they had left the mainline Protestant denominations to join independent Bible/Baptist churches.
Despite this overwhelming Protestant heritage my Dad once told us about his Great Aunt Anne. She was the sister of his grandmother and he recalled, as a boy visiting the grandmother’s home where Great Aunt Anne–an elderly widow–was living.
Dad said a visit to Great Aunt Anne’s room was a bit spooky because she was–of all things–a very devout Catholic. Her room in his grandmother’s home was a mini Catholic shrine. Great Aunt Anne dressed in black and wore a mantilla. She had a red sanctuary light burning before her wall hung with religious pictures. She gave the children prayer cards, and rosaries, and Dad explained that Great Aunt Anne had become a Catholic because she had had bone cancer and a Catholic friend told her to pray to the bones of St Anne. She did and she was healed and became a Catholic as a result.
I reckon on this, her name day, the prayers of my very own St Anne have been instrumental in bringing me and my siblings and their spouses into the full communion of the Catholic Church.
St Joachim and St Anne ora pro nobis.