A Reflection on Saints Joachim and Anne – the Grandparents of Jesus

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By Fr Christopher Whitehead, Clifton Diocese

I suppose it’s only when we look back that we truly appreciate the beauty of grandparents. I look at my own mother (and my father, when he was alive) and I see the joy of life and of family as they have that sense of enjoyment and fun, almost a regained youthfulness in watching, nurturing, and supporting their grandchildren as they grow up.

Parents are learning on the go with their own children, but there’s something ‘different’ about our grandparents. They don’t have the same worries as parents; they’ve lived through those worries, they made their mistakes and learned from them. They can enjoy their children’s children… and hand them back having possibly spoiled them in the time spent together. Grandparents are allowed to do that. But there’s a wisdom and an experience flowing from our grandparents – a wisdom and an experience we don’t always see.

Today’s feast of Jesus’ grandparents – Joachim and Anne – reflect something of that wisdom. In so many respects they paved the way for the One who was to come. Their simplicity of faith, their hope, their joy in the Lord, their love for one another, their fidelity towards God and towards each other, shaped and fashioned their own child, Mary, and in doing so, shaped the Ark that was to bear God’ Word-made-flesh. Mary was the woman she was, able and willing to say Yes to God because of the wisdom and influence of her parents.

We are shaped and fashioned by the lives of those who have helped shape our parents’ lives – primarily their own parents. This contributes to us being the sort of people we are; it made Mary the woman of faith she was and, in turn, shaped and fashioned the home that Jesus the Lord grew up in.

Let’s use today to remember our grandparents and the gentle influence they have had on our own parents and so on us.


The video embedded above is a reflection by Fr Christopher Whitehead on the grandparents of Jesus – St Joachim and St Anne.

Friday 26 July is the Feast day of the two saints – the parents of the Virgin Mary.

The footage was filmed in the Basilica di Santa Croce – the principal Franciscan church in Florence, Italy.


Official website for Clifton Diocese – the Catholic Church in the West of England.