There are clues in Mary's life that reveal the kind of peaceful, holy people her parents were.
We don’t know much about the Blessed Virgin Mary’s parents, but what we do know reveals a man and woman of extraordinary holiness. Modern parents can learn so much from their example.
In today’s world, when we have videos, photos, and extensive writings of modern-day saints, it’s kind of amazing how little we know about Our Lady’s parents. They aren’t mentioned at all in Scripture. Tradition calls them St. Joachim and St. Anne, but even their names “come from a legendary source written more than a century after Jesus died.”
At the same time, we can draw important conclusions from the actions and character of Mary herself. Research tells us that children closely imitate the behaviors they see. They are “the world’s best ‘copy cats.’” So we can find clues in Our Lady’s life that reveal her upbringing to us. As one source concludes,
The heroism and holiness of [her parents] is inferred from the whole family atmosphere around Mary in the Scriptures. Whether we rely on the legends about Mary’s childhood or make guesses from the information in the Bible, we see in her a fulfillment of many generations of prayerful persons, herself steeped in the religious traditions of her people.
A picture of Saints Joachim and Anne emerges from what we know of their daughter. They seem to have been calm, steady people, who raised their daughter with intention and care. They were probably very wise and devout.
This understanding is just what we see in traditional depictions of St. Anne. The usual religious image of St. Anne is a mother reading from Scripture to her little girl. It shows a devoted, thoughtful mother taking great care to hand down traditional beliefs and useful skills to her daughter.
Knowing how children learn from copying their parents, we can see glimpses in Mary’s behavior of what her family must have been like. Here are 5 lessons for today’s parents from the lives of Saints Joachim and Anne. These are things we should not only teach to our children with words but also model for them with our actions and lives.