The Papal Artifacts’ Collection is primarily dedicated to artifacts connected to the papacy. Individual popes, their biographies and multiple items belonging to them, including first and second class relics, make up the majority of this Collection. But that isn’t all it is.
Father Kunst has a deep devotion to the saints as can be readily seen in viewing the Saints & Blesseds section of this site. We invite you to visit Papal History/Saints & Blesseds to view the many canonized and beatified men and women who make up this section of the Collection.
Blessed Anne, secretary to St. Theresa of Avila, is one of them.
The relic featured here is a beautiful silvered reliquary (2″ by 2 1/2″) containing an extremely rare signature relic of Blessed Anne of St. Bartholomew. The wax seal and threads are unbroken and all in place.
The relic is from the private collection of a Flemish priest who passed away recently. He traveled worldwide to monasteries and holy places to collect relics directly.
Blessed Anne of Saint Bartholomew’s memorial is celebrated on June 7th.
She worked as a shepherdess in her youth and became a lay Carmelite at age 20 under the direction of Saint Teresa of Avila.
Anne became secretary to and close friend of Saint Teresa; Teresa died in Anne’s arms. Upon the death of Teresa, Anne continued to work on the Carmelite reform in France. She became the prioress of houses at Tours and Pontoise and founded the Carmelite house in Antwerp, Belgium in 1612.
Anne wrote poetry, some of which has survived to today.
Anne was born October 1, 1549 and died on June 7, 1626, of natural causes.
The relic of Blessed Anne is a very beautiful addition to the Papal Artifacts Collection of relics.
Saint Anne, Mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary
What little we know about Saint Anne comes from the apocryphal Gospel of James (ca. 145 AD), also known as the Protoevangelium of James [PJ]. According to tradition, Anne (Hannah in Hebrew) was born in Bethlehem and married Joachim of Nazareth, both descendants of King David. Joachim is described as “a rich and devout man,” who regularly gave to the poor and “made a double offering to the temple” in expiation for his sins (PJ 1:1). Because Anne was barren, the temple priest rejected Joachim’s sacrifice, as childlessness was interpreted as a sign of divine displeasure. There was no greater misfortune for a Jewish person than to be childless. Had not God promised to His people, through Abraham, “descendants as countless as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore” (Gen. 22:17)? Joachim consequently “went into the desert to fast and pray” for forty days and forty nights (PJ 1:4). But Anne remembered the faith of her ancestors, and with renewed courage prayed: “God of my fathers, bless me: Hear my prayer, as You blessed the womb of Sarah, and gave her a son Isaac!” (PJ 2:4). Her prayer was heard: “Behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to her and said:
‘Anne, Anne, the Lord has heard your prayer: You shall conceive and bear, and your offspring shall be spoken of in all the world’ ” (PJ 4:1). In an outpouring of faith, she who was to be Mary’s mother immediately consecrated her future offspring.
An angel appeared also to Joachim, saying: “Joachim, Joachim, God has heard your prayer. Go on your way, for your wife will conceive” (PJ 4:2). And Joachim offered a thanksgiving sacrifice of ten she-lambs without spot or blemish for the Lord God, twelve tender calves for the priests and elders, and a hundred goats for all the people. He then returned to Jerusalem and embraced Anne at the city gate (PJ 4:3-4).
There was an ancient belief that a child born of an elderly mother who had given up hope of having offspring was destined for great things. Parallels occur in the Old Testament in the cases of Sarah, mother of Isaac and Hannah, mother of Samuel; and in the New Testament in the case of Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist.
Tradition further narrates that in gratitude to God for the blessing of a daughter, Joachim and Anne vowed to consecrate Mary to God in the Temple as soon as her age permitted it. And they did. Mary was scarcely three years old when, accompanied by her parents, she first set foot in the Temple. Here the noble child was admitted to the elect group of virgins consecrated to God (PJ 7).
It is commonly believed that the Blessed Virgin lost her beloved parents when she was about eleven. Just when she was living a life of angelic happiness in the house of the Lord, Mary had to taste of that chalice which fills the hearts of children with the most human sadness. The precise time of Joachim’s and Anne’s blessed passing is unknown, but the Fathers of the Church affirm that Mary became an orphan when still in the Temple. Yet her faith and hope made her see in the death of her parents the passage from exile to homeland, from earth to heaven. The time of Mary’s presentation in the Temple is unknown. The Church celebrates the feast of the Presentation of Our Lady on November 21st.
Anne, blessed above all others, we, too, bring our reverence, for you have given birth to the girl from whom He will come Who is the basis of all our hope. Blessed, indeed, above all others, and blessed in your offspring! The tongues of all believers sing the praises of your child. Every voice is raised in joy at her birth. How worthy Anne is of praise, most worthy, for she received the message of God’s goodness, and brought forth such fruit that from it would come our Lord, Jesus. — St John of Damascus (8th cent.)