Strangely, I didn’t have a built in devotion to St. Anne, the patron saint after whom I was named. Even when I was challenged by infertility and was praying for my future husband (two things she is famous for), I didn’t think to ask for her intercession.
St. Anne tapped me on the shoulder when I started homeschooling. This summer, as I ordered my curriculum, I began a novena to her for the intention of having a smooth sailing, grace-filled school year and for my children and I to learn virtues (specifically, obedience and patience) as well as fractions.
When I was surprised by excruciating appendicitis and emergency appendectomy in lieu of a trip to Atlanta, I naturally pressed in my novena request for a safe and successful surgery and recovery.
“I’m already on it,” St. Anne said.
I recalled the first two times I was plagued with similar symptoms last year when I was rushed to the ER, but the doctors couldn’t do a CAT scan because of pregnancy and since the pain disappeared shortly, they couldn’t conclusively identify appendicitis to perform surgery.
The more I thought about the timing of events, the more I certain I was that someone was praying for me all along because the surgery occurred after a healthy baby was born, before he became mobile, and on the same day I picked up my mother and father-in-law from the airport (which meant no worries that my children would be unsafe while I recuperated).
Before surgery, our priest heard my confession, performed the anointing of the sick, and repeated to me the homily that I missed at morning Mass. He said God invites us to rest and leisure times, not just to work, work, work. Father left with an order to “Rest.”
There in my hospital gown and listening to the IV machine beeps, I realized I was given a rare chance to reflect in solo (the hospital room is quieter than our home believe it or not), to receive graces from two Sacraments, to meditate on the spiritual books I’d been neglecting, and to offer up my aches and pain in reparation for sin and for all my intentions.
It’s not how I would have planned a retreat surely, but its how St. Anne helped in orchestrating it, and I view it as a gift. No doubt she was involved because St. Anne is a connoisseur of unplanned evens. She, who was barren for years before becoming blessed with the Mother of God as her daughter. And in Blessed Catherine Emerich’s revelation, St. Anne prepared for Jesus birth with gorgeous linen and luxurious accommodations, unaware that her human plans would be thwarted by Divine Will.
The homeschool isn’t even in full swing, but I’m already learning patience and obedience from the lap of my heavenly grandmother. I find warm consolation that those patron saints for whom we were named, always got our backs. Thank you and Happy Feast Day, St. Anne!
*For an inspiring story about St. Anne’s intercession on finding a husband, read Annie Deddens testimony.