Today is the feast of St. Ann (actually, St. Ann and St. Joachim, her husband). St. Ann, of course, is venerated as the mother of Mary, and the grandmother of Jesus.

St. Ann is the patroness for many people and causes: mothers, grandparents, unmarried people, seamstresses, and miners, among others.  My aunt (and godmother) was named Anne (with an “e”), because her birthday fell close to this feast. I suspect she was also given that name because St. Ann is the patroness of miners, and my grandfather was a coal miner.

Wikipedia helpfully offers this context:

As the mother of Mary, this devotion to Saint Anne as the patron of miners arises from the medieval comparison between Mary and Christ and the precious metals silver and gold. Anne’s womb was considered the source from which these precious metals were mined.

St. Ann is also the patron for people who are moving — or moving houses — thanks to the venerable tradition surrounding the Holy House of Loreto, where St. Anne and St. Joachim raised the young virgin Mary. The house is said to have been moved from the Holy Land to Italy, thanks to some attentive angels:

The Holy House of Loreto consists of three walls of stacked stones. It is safeguarded beneath an ornate Renaissance-era basilica in Loreto, Italy. It is believed that Mary grew up in this house and that the Annunciation took place in it.But shouldn’t Mary’s house be in Galilee?

Modern research suggests that the Holy House, like many relics from the Holy Land, may have been transported by ship. In the early 1900s, a papal archivist discovered a record detailing items that were brought to Italy from the Holy Land during the Crusades. He discovered that a Greek merchant with the surname Angelos paid crusaders to move the house to Italy. His name might have led to the tradition of the angels bringing the house, brick by brick, to Italy.

Whatever. All of this helped draw us to St. Ann Catholic Church in Haines City, Florida this morning to offer a quiet, personal Mass of Thanksgiving.

We learned about the traditions surrounding this saint a few weeks back and added her to our prayer list, as we began the search for a home. We could only have gotten where we are today through the intercession of a lot of heavenly friends.

Between God, and an abundance of saints — Joseph, Mary, Joachim, Ann, plus who-knows-who-else in our heavenly family tree —the last few weeks have been something of a miracle. We wanted to say, simply, “thank you.”

It turns out the parish has a special tradition all its own surrounding its feast day: if you are hoping to move, during the novena leading up to the feast you can bring a small house and set it on a table in the church, with your intentions written underneath. We decided to do that, and then stayed for the Mass, which included two deacons and a general air of celebration.

Footnote: to get the morning off to a good start, I blessed our new car before we headed to Mass.

So far, no crashes. It’s working.