Shrine of Sainte-Anne d'Auray

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Who is sainte Anne ?

Who is Saint Anne?

Breton trinity - St. Anne, the Virgin Mary and Jesus. The "Faces of Saint Anne" Exhibition.
Breton trinity - St. Anne, the Virgin Mary and Jesus. The "Faces of Saint Anne" Exhibition.

Saint Anne, Mother of Mary, lead us to Jesus.

Saint Anne was the wife of St. Joachim, mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary, grandmother of Jesus the redeemer. She was a Jew who lived in Sepphoris near Nazareth in Galilee then in Jerusalem in Judea.


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.

Worldwide, St. Anne was venerated and prayed to in a significant number of places of worship, basilicas, churches and chapels. Among these number,  in Rome,  the parish church of St. Anne in the Vatican, in Jerusalem,  the Basilica of St. Anne de Beaupre in Quebec, in Congo in the Church of St. Anne in Brazzaville, in Asia, Burma and Ceylon.

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.


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