The Bible tells us nothing about the parents of the Virgin Mary. The oldest document that talks of them is the apocryphal ‘Protoevangelium of James’ which speaks of Judean tradition dating back to the first half of the second century.
The cult of Saint Anne grew in the East first, in the spreading of the cult of the Virgin Mary, most particularly in the mystery of the Immaculate Conception, the Nativity and the Presentation in the Temple.
July 26th probably marks the anniversary of the dedication of a basilica in Constantinople erected in honour of Saint Anne in the 6th century. The Franciscans have listed it on their calendar as July 26th , 1263.
In France, the first sanctuary dedicated to St. Anne was the ancient cathedral of Apt in Vaucluse, in the 11th century.
In Brittany, and manifestly in the Auray region, the cult of Saint Anne is historically connected to the first evangelization of Armorique, in the 7th and 8th centuries. According to some theories, "Ana" was the name of a Celtic deity worshipped previously in this area, which would seem to have favoured the spreading of the cult of Mary's Mother .
The diocese of Vannes has celebrated St. Anne from the early 15th century at least. Pope Gregory XIII extended the feast to the entire Latin Church in 1584.
St. Anne has become the patron saint of Brittany. Almost all Breton churches have their statues of Saint Anne and many chapels, villages and localities are under her patronage. The Bretons, over the centuries, have introduced many religious festivals (pilgrimages) , the most important being that of Sainte-Anne d'Auray.