Today in the Catholic Church is the Memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne, the Parents of the Virgin Mary.
Their names do not appear in the Bible but come from an outside source, the Gospel of James. An ancient tradition states, that Joachim and Anne were childless and devoutly prayed to God to allow them to have a child. If God granted their request, they promised to dedicate the child to God’s service.
God heard their prayer and the child born was Mary.
The tradition continues that when Mary was the tender age of three her parents requested that she be allowed to live in the Temple, there to be trained to serve God according to their pledge. The Temple Priests were so impressed with the young child’s abilities they agreed to their request.
One of the Priests serving in the Temple was Zechariah, the husband of Elizabeth. During the time of Mary’s living in the Temple, when she was twelve years old, Joachim died. Zechariah took steps to ensure that Mary would have a guardian and arranged for young men to come to the Temple. Among the men present was Mary’s cousin, Joseph.
The staffs of the young men were collected. The next day, the staff of Joseph had sprouted a lily, a sign that God chose him to be the protector of Mary.
These stories are not dogma but they are pious traditions that have been spoken of by holy men and women, several who are now Saints and even Doctors of the Church. The stories fill in the blank spaces of what we actually know and do not contradict or detract from any revealed Truth.
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