The woman who was the grandmother of Jesus — and who was a collaborator in the Immaculate Conception — now has a place of honor in the Motor City.
To loud applause, the head of the Catholic Church in Detroit announced Thursday that St. Anne — the grandmother of Jesus — is the patroness saint of Detroit.
For centuries, Catholics have considered St. Anne the unofficial saint of the city because the first Catholic parish in Detroit, created in 1701, is named after her.
On Thursday, that became official as Archbishop of Detroit Allen Vigneron announced a Vatican decree to a crowd assembled for the ordination of three new bishops at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Detroit. The letter noted that St. Anne has been Detroit’s patroness “from time immemorial.”
St. Anne, the mother of the Virgin Mary, also is considered the patroness saint of housewives, women in labor, cabinet makers, horse riders and miners.
In September 2009, Vigneron had asked Catholics in Detroit to submit ideas for the city’s patron saint. After considering them, the archdiocese passed on its recommendation of St. Anne to the Vatican, where Pope Benedict XVI approved it.
“Countless of the Christian faithful have cultivated devotion to St. Anne in each generation,” said the decree.
“We’re happy about it,” said the Rev. Thomas Sepulveda, pastor at Ste. Anne de Detroit, the second oldest Catholic parish in the U.S. “It’s recording a reality that has existed for over 300 years.”
Image: St Anne Conceiving the Virgin Mary by Jean Bellegambe. (Flemish painter c. 1480 – c. 1535)