According to the apocryphal gospels, i.e. writings close to the Bible but not officially admitted into the biblical canon, Saint Anne is the mother of the Blessed Virgin and the wife of Saint Joachim. Despite fervent prayers, the union between Saint Anne and Saint Joachim remained sterile for twenty years. When Anne gives birth to a daughter, she gives her the name Mary, following a divine inspiration. Mary means in Hebrew the one who is full of grace.
Although Saint Anne is not mentioned in the Bible, the oldest ecclesiastical monuments attest that she was honoured by the Church from the earliest centuries. Around 550, the Emperor Justinian I had a church built in Constantinople to consecrate Saint Anne. Her cult reached its peak towards the end of the Middle Ages.
Numerous shrines were built in her honour, but since the end of the Middle Ages, the most famous place of pilgrimage has been St Anne d'Auray in Brittany.
● Ekkart Sauser: Anna, heilige Mutter Mariens, in: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon, Band XV, Verlag Traugott Bautz ,1999, Spalten 34-36.