Patron Saint of Fathers and Grandfathers
Saint Joachim, the father of our Blessed Mother Mary, is considered one of the patron Saints of fathers and grandfathers [the other is Saint Joseph, Mary’s husband and Jesus’ father on earth]. Joachim, of the tribe of Juda and the family of David, was a shepherd of Nazareth.
He married Saint Anne and both lived in the fear of the Lord and the practice of good works. They divided all their wealth into three parts: the first was regularly given to the temple, for its support and that of the ministers of religion; they gave the second part to the poor, while the last and least served for the needs of the family. Nonetheless, happiness had not come to this home — they could not conceive and have children.
For over twenty years they prayed to God to bless them with a child. Much disgrace was brought upon Joachim and Anne because they did not have children – many in Nazareth thought that because they could not children – they were not a blessed couple. God was not bestowing His blessings on them.
One day when Joachim was alone in the fields, the Angel Gabriel came and stood before him. Joachim prostrated himself, trembling with fear.
“Do not fear”, said the heavenly messenger. “I am the Angel of the Lord, and it is God Himself who sends me. He has heard your prayers; your alms have come before His presence. Anne, your spouse, will bear a daughter whose happiness will be above that of other women; She will be blessed and named the Mother of eternal blessing. You will name the Child Mary and consecrate Her to God when the time comes. The Holy Spirit, from the time She is in the womb of Her mother, will dwell in Her soul, and He will accomplish in Her great things.” With those words, the Angel disappeared. The Archangel’s announcement and the Lord’s promise were fulfilled. Joachim in his turn was faithful to the commands of the Lord.
His daughter received the name of Mary, and when She was three years old, he and Saint Anne entrusted Her to the pious women who in the temple of Jerusalem brought up young girls consecrated to the Lord.
Mary had lived there under the gaze of God for eight years, when Joachim died, laden with merits and virtues. Anne, his spouse, had him buried in the Valley of Josaphat, not far from the Garden of Gethsemane, and one year later rejoined him there. Lives of Saints: Saint Joachim by Msgr. Paul Guérin [Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882], Vol. 9
Saint Joachim reminds us that our call to be missionary does not exclude passing on the faith to those closest to us, our families!