All Annes are beautiful.
My personal experience with Annes confirms this saying. They’ve all been beautiful in more ways than one.
St. Anne must have been something herself. Anne and her first husband Joachim are popularly reputed to be the parents of the Virgin Mary. Popularly, because there is no mention of them in the Bible. References to them in legendary literature, however, inspired veneration in the Middle East, veneration that the Crusaders brought back with them to Europe.
Devotion to Anne spread throughout Europe and even into the New World. She is the Patroness of Brittany and Canada, and the patroness of married women, childless couples, and women looking to be married. After all, Anne was reputedly married three times, and thus was thought to have a special interest in matching couples. Young women implored her:
I beg you, holy mother Anne,
Send me a good and loving man.
So popular was the devotion to Anne that many areas in Europe celebrated her day as “a festival of all Annas,” a festival of all beautiful girls. On St. Anne’s Eve, debutantes were received into the society and balls and festivals were held on the day, Both Johann Strauss 1 and II wrote Anna polkas for the occasion.
Because she was so identified with fertility, she also was considered the patron on rain. In Italy they say that “rain is Saint Anne’s gift.” Germans called July rain “Saint Anne’s dowry.”
It is through the rain that St. Anne made another influential contribution to the Western world. In July of 1505, a young German law student was caught in a terrible thunderstorm. Terrified, the law student cried out, “Save me, St. Anna, and I shall become a monk!” Having survived the storm, the student went against his parents’ wishes and honored his vow, entering an Augustinian monastery two weeks later.
The student’s name was Martin Luther.