"My heart exults in the LORD; my strength is exalted in my God...There is no Holy One like the LORD, no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God."
Icon image of St. Anne, the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary and grandmother of Jesus.
Icon greeting cards are single-fold cards printed on heavy stock, 4.38" x 5.93". The cards are blank inside for your own message or custom imprint and have an explanation of the history and symbolism of the icon printed on the back.
St. Anne was childless and aging when God granted her a child, the Virgin Mary. Consequently, St. Anne became the patroness of childless parents, pregnancy, and grandparents. This icon reminds us of our reliance on God for all gifts, even if those blessings may seem slow to appear.
Veneration of the Virgin Mary’s parents, Anne and Joachim, developed early. Although not mentioned in the gospels, they are found in the extra-canonical text the Protoevangelium of St. James (c. 150 AD). St. Anne’s story is like many faithful women of Israel who were childless and aging when God intervened to bestow a singularly important child to them. St. Anne is the patroness of childless parents, pregnancy, and grandparents; the parish church of Vatican City is also dedicated to her.
This image, drawn from ancient canons, is found in the left wing of a triptych in St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Palmyra, Missouri.
The writer of this icon, Father Pachomius Meade, O.S.B., a monk of Conception Abbey, uses his many talents for the glory of God. He is a writer, iconographer, and artist for The Printery House.
The lines on St. Anne’s face convey that she is an elderly woman who was granted the special gift of a child, despite being beyond childbearing years. She holds the child Blessed Virgin, dressed as a miniature version of her adult self. Both wear maphorions (shawls/veils) and underneath St. Anne’s veil is a turban, designating her status as a married woman.
The child Mary’s maphorion is maroon, symbolizing the human nature she imparts to Jesus at the Incarnation. The three stars on her outer garment represent her perpetual virginity before, during, and after the birth of Christ. The Blessed Virgin holds a white lily, another symbol of her purity. Lastly, she wears red shoes, the color of footwear reserved for Byzantine Empresses, granted here to the Queen of Heaven.
Near the halos, the names of St. Anne and Mary are inscribed according to the canons of the Iconoclastic period during the Middles Ages. The Blessed Virgin’s name remains in its Greek abbreviation “Maria Theotokos.”
This icon reminds us that we are reliant on God for all good gifts – even if those blessings seem slow to appear. It also instructs us to revere the family, the “domestic church,” source of religious formation and foundation of the larger Church.