Who are Saints Joachim and Anna?
To put it quite simply, Saints Joachim and Anna are the grandparents of Jesus! And, the San Joaquin Valley is actually named after St. Joachim.
Saints Joachim and Anna had been married for fifty years and were barren. They lived devoutly and quietly, using only a third of their income for themselves and giving a third to the poor and a third to the Temple. Joachim had done this since he was 15-years-old, and God multiplied his flocks, so the couple was well provided for. They longed for a child but remained childless into their old age.
When they were in Jerusalem to offer sacrifice to God, the High Priest, Issachar, upbraided Joachim, “You are not worthy to offer sacrifice with those childless hands.” Others who had children jostled Joachim, thrusting him back as unworthy. In despair, he consulted the genealogical records of the tribes of Israel and discovered every righteous man in hte nation had been blessed with children, except him. This caused the aged saint great grief, and he and his wife left with heavy hearts. Then the two of them gave themselves to prayer to God that He would work in them the wonder that he had worked in Abraham and Sarah, and give them a child to comfort their old age.
Saint Joachim took his flocks and went to a high mountain, refusing to return home in shame. Meanwhile, Saint Anna prayed in her garden. God sent the Archangel Gabriel to each of them, who gave them tidings of the birth of “a daughter most blessed, by whom all the nations of the earth will be blessed, and through whom will come the salvation of the world.” Each promised to have their child raised in the Temple as a holy vessel of God. The archangel told Saint Joachim to return home, where he would find his wife waiting for him in the city gate. Saint Anna he told to wait at the gate. When they saw one another, they embraced, and this image is the traditional icon of their feast which is celebrated on September 9.
Saint Anna conceived shortly thereafter, and in the ninth month gave birth to the Blessed Virgin Mary.