Detroit officially names St. Anne as its patroness

Detroit officially names St. Anne as its patroness May 6, 2011

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)

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9 responses to “Detroit officially names St. Anne as its patroness”

  1. Given the present situation in Detroit, St. Jude might have been a more apt choice.

  2. Vox populi, vox Dei! 🙂

    Ron — Not that you should be thinking to ditch any patron saint after hundreds of years, but St. Anne is also been considered for centuries to be a go-to saint for the desperate, especially in the French-speaking world (and England, before the Reformation). Most notoriously, she finds women good husbands, but she also does general miracles. (Check out the Canadian shrine of St Anne de Beaupre, for example.)

    There are a lot of saints out there who cover the desperation beat! 🙂

  3. Ron: Please do not put down the city of Detroit or the Detroit metropolitan area.

    The metropolitan area was mostly fine until the auto problems in the last ten years.

    The city of Detroit has been going downhill for 60-plus years, but it is just a larger version of parts of most other large American cities. The country ignores the problems and there are many: lack of family values and support, race, education, transportation, increasing division of wealth, etc. Part of that now is the trade deficits, which send more and more jobs out of the country.

  4. A worried, unmarried young woman used to pray before of the statue of St. Anne in her bedroom: “Dear St. Ann, find me a man.” Frustrated that her prayers were not being answered, she threw the statue out the window.

    The man that she hit on the head knocked on her door to return the statue and … .

    It’s a true story. My grandmother told it to me.

  5. “It’s a true story. My grandmother told it to me.”

    It doesn’t matter. That’s a great and charming story!

  6. Of course!

    I wonder what sort of stories Jesus’s grandmother Anne told Him?

  7. When I was a little girl, I had a St Anne prayer on a wooden plaque. It had a picture of St Anne and Mary and I brought it to catichism when I was in second grade I think. The nuns fussed so much, one brought it to another room to show another nun and that became a devouted prayer of mine. Many times it seemed almost eery how my prayers were answered, to stop bullying, other requests..but I was a young, innocent girl, very open and accepting.

    I try to keep some of her now and the same trust. She will always be special to me.

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