All alone, she (Anna) went into the garden and sat down
beneath the laurel tree. Looking toward the heavens,
she saw a nest of sparrows in the tree. Fresh tears welled up in her eyes.
How she longed to have a child of her own. Anna entreated the Lord,
saying” Woe is me! To what am I likened?
I am not likened to this earth, for even the earth brings
forth her fruit in its season and blesses you, O Lord.”
And behold an angel of the Lord appeared,
saying “Anna, the Lord God heard your prayer,
and you will conceive and give birth,
and your offspring shall be spoken of in the whole inhabited world.” – extract from the Infancy Gospel of Mary
Anna was barren and never conceived with child.
The Archangel Gabriel announced to her that she will miraculously conceive.
It is told that this is a miraculous conception of the Holy child Mary
and it is an echo of the immaculate conception of Mary still to come.
As Anna and Joachim, Mary’s father, was too old to physically conceive a child, this was regarded as a conception by Spirit.
‘Promise them, that by the favour of our right hand they will receive the Fruit of benediction, and that Anne shall conceive a Daughter, to whom We give the name MARY…. were revealed to St Gabriel.’
And Gabriel said: ‘She shall be elect, exalted, powerful and full of the Holy Ghost;
on account of the sterility of Anne her conception shall be miraculous;’ – Mystical City of God
Anna is Greek for the Hebrew name Hannah and it means ‘grace’.
Anna’s story is also in the Quran and she is revered in Islam.
In Islam Joachim is called by the name Imran
and he dies before Mary is born.
The priest Zacharias predicted the birth of a male Messiah to Anna,
but she gave birth to a girl.
She is revered as a mystic in Islam for her wisdom
and realisation that Mary was a highly spiritual
and special child to be dedicated to the Temple.
In this shrine we see Anna sitting under the palm tree, working on her sewing.
Gabriel is holding the red thread of the mystical message of love and good news
which he delivered to Anna.