Sunday, June 29, 2014

St. Anne, Patron Saint of Birthdays?

Today is my birthday.  My mom would be the first to tell you about the 30 hours of labor she went through and that my dad had to drive her 50 miles to Sacred Heart Hospital because she was afraid to go to the small local hospital.  She would tell you I am sensitive to the heat because it was over 100 degrees when she brought me home from the hospital and my face was as red as a tomato.  She would tell you that I didn't like wearing clothes but I did like drinking out of the hose.  This is the first birthday I have spent without seeing or talking with my mother.  I was thinking of what I miss most about her not being present on earth. It's been a few years since she was able to call me on my birthday and sing.  I had gotten my own card and wrapped my own present for several years now so she wouldn't feel anxious when she saw me but what I will always miss are these things....

My earliest birthday memory is the chocolate cake with fresh strawberries nestled in her butter-cream frosting because in June the strawberries in her garden were plentiful, sweet and juicy.  She let me eat the cake with my hands.  When I turned 12, she started making me her spectacular French Silk Pie.  Never have I been able to reproduce the taste sensation she magically created with so few ingredients.  It was a concoction of sugar, butter, eggs, unsweetened chocolate and vanilla in a flaky golden brown crust made with real lard and served with a dollop of freshly whipped cream.  The proportions were exactly right and the feeling of the filling as it warmed in your mouth and melted across your tongue contrasting with the light flaky crust was like no other.  It might have been the teaspoon of vinegar she added to the dough, or maybe it was because the eggs were fresh from the chickens next door and the cream was from Clasby's Dairy just down the road but really I know it was special because she cared.

I loved the way she smiled when I walked in the room.  It was her smile that truly substantiated, confirmed, approved, validated and gave force to my existence on the planet from the time I was born.  I wonder how many times she smiled at me over our lives together.  Every single time our eyes met, I got that smile, especially as she lost her ability to speak.  It said "we exist in this moment in each others' lives, solid and loving and real". We didn't need words. No one ever smiled at me like that but her.  That's what I miss.     

St. Anne with Mary statue from Chris Hart Studio
St. Anne was Mary's mom, Christ's Gramma, and the Patron Saint for homemakers, women, grandmothers, mothers, pregnancy and labor, lace makers and seamstresses.  She is traditionally shown beside a young Mary with a book teaching her to read because she valued education over stuff like my mom did. Mary was born to St. Anne late in life like I was.  I understand St. Anne.  She loved her daughter.  There wasn't anything she wouldn't do for her.  She felt that Mary was a gift not a chore.

With Jesus as a grandchild and Mary as her daughter, those who venerate St. Anne should have a pretty good chance at having their prayers answered, don't you think?  I can't imagine a petition that wouldn't be given serious consideration because of her connections. I don't usually pray to St. Anne for anything but instead, I find myself  giving thanks to St. Anne for bringing honor to motherhood and homemaking.  The thing about the saints is that they are just people doing  things they believe in, standing up for their values and principals regardless of the challenges they face.  St. Anne is a saint because she is somebody's mom and she loved and cared for her child.  She stayed true to her beliefs. She didn't conquer armies or fight the forces of evil like St. Michael.  She wasn't clubbed to death for her beliefs like St. Jude.  She wasn't an abused wife like St. Rita or have her eyes gouged out like St. Lucy.  Instead, she was just a mom, loving and comforting her child and grandchild, hoping good things for them and encouraging and caring for them just like my mom.

So on my birthday, I think about my mother's smile and the French Silk Pie and I thank St. Anne.  Without my mom I wouldn't have a birthday.                   




  1. Today is my birthday.i pray to you that u grant my wishes

  2. I am new to Patron Saints and Catholic religion. But I do humbly ask Saint Anne that you intercede on my behalf regarding my special prayer request.
    Today is my birthday!

    Thank you in advance.

  3. Tomorrow would have been my mother's 101 birthday, I love her and still miss her every day of my life.