Teaching Students About Saint Anne


Teaching about saints can be a fascinating way to bring history, culture, and religion to life for your students. Saint Anne, the mother of the Virgin Mary and grandmother of Jesus Christ, has been a revered figure for centuries in Christianity. Her story offers insights into the life and beliefs of early Christians while providing students with an opportunity to expand their understanding of religious and cultural history. This article will offer guidelines for teaching students facts about Saint Anne, covering everything from her early life to her enduring legacy.

Early Life and Family

1. Begin by introducing students to Saint Anne’s significance as the mother of the Virgin Mary and the grandmother of Jesus Christ. Share that Christian tradition holds that Saint Joachim, her husband, was from a prosperous family in Jerusalem.

2. Explain that while there is no mention of Saint Anne in the New Testament, she is named in an early Christian text called the Protoevangelium of James, dated around 150 AD.

3. Teach students about Saint Anne’s name, which is rooted in the name Hannah; in Hebrew, the name means “grace.” Explain that this reflects her status as a woman blessed by God.

Religious Tradition and Iconography

4. Share with your students that many early Christian texts emphasize Saint Anne’s role as educator, noting that she taught her daughter Mary prayers and religious philosophy from a young age.

5. Present images depicting Saint Anne with the Virgin Mary or Jesus Christ as common artistic representations in religious art since at least the 6th century AD.

6. Inform students about selected Catholic feast days associated with Saint Anne: Her main feast day is July 26th; another relevant observance is her Immaculate Conception on December 8th.

Patronage and Influence

7. Teach your students that Saint Anne is historically known as the patron saint of mothers, miners, and grandparents. Moreover, she is often called on for help in difficult pregnancies and family matters.

8. Introduce your students to notable churches and shrines dedicated to Saint Anne around the world. These include Saint Anne d’Auray in France and the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré in Canada.

Educational Activities and Projects

9. Encourage your students to research various cultural practices and artistic expressions related to Saint Anne, such as processions, hymns, prayers, and artwork. This will help them grasp the significance of her life throughout history.

10. Assign a project in which your students create a timeline detailing important events associated with Saint Anne and her growing importance within the Christian tradition over time.


Teaching students about Saint Anne provides a unique opportunity to not only learn about Christianity’s rich history but also explore broader themes of religious influence on culture and society. By incorporating these facts into your curriculum, you give your students an engaging way to develop a deeper appreciation for this often-overlooked saint, allowing them to understand her impact on Christian tradition and identity throughout history.

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