Although there is nothing in Scripture about Sts. Anne or Joachim, not even their names, the Church has honored them and given them a special feast day, based on tradition, the early writings attributed to St. James and affirmed by the writings of Sr. Mary Agreda in City of God.
St. Joachim was a rich man of advanced years who divided his blessings in three ways: the best was given to the temple; the next best was given to the poor and the least he kept for himself and his wife Anne. However, upon offering his gift to the temple one year, he was chastised and told he should not be allowed to offer to the temple, because he had not had any children. He was told to look in Scripture to see if any of the leaders of Israel who had given to the temple had not had children. He did so, and could not find any who did not have children.
In anguish, he went out into the desert, fasted and prayed for forty days and forty nights, pleading with the Lord for a child. He mentioned Abraham who had given birth to Isaac at an extremely advanced age.
At the same time, his wife, Anne, was also lamenting. Actually she had two lamentations. One was her impending widowhood, as her husband had gone and she did not know if he would ever return. The other was her being barren, not being able to bear children.
She prayed to the Lord. However, it appears she was able to strike a bargain with God, which may be the reason everyone flocks to her for her intervention. She has the ear of the Lord. She was praying beneath a laurel bush when an Angel appeared to her. He told her that would conceive and bear a child. The Angel’s words were: “Anne, the Lord has heard your prayer, and you shall conceive and bring forth, and your seed shall be spoken of in all the world.”
For her part, Anne committed her child to the Lord. She responded to the Angel, “As the Lord my God lives, if I bear either male or female, I will bring it as a gift to the Lord my God; and it shall minister to Him in holy things all the days of its life.” At the same time, the Angel appeared to Joachim out in the desert and told him that Anne had conceived, and that he should get back to Nazareth immediately to be with her.
He ran back to Nazareth, bringing with him ten spotless lambs to offer to God and twelve tender calves for the priests. He met his wife at the gates of the city. She threw her arms around his neck and praised the Lord for He had spared her from being a widow, and childless. Anne conceived and bore a beautiful girl child, whom she named Mary.
In keeping with the commitment she had made to the Lord, Joachim and Anne consecrated the child to the temple when she was three years old. That child was to become Mary, the Mother of God. St. Anne and St. Joachim were to become the grandparents of the Messiah.
Although there is not much more told, nevertheless they were the instruments God used to bring the spotless vessel who would be the mother of God, who would bring peace, hope and joy to the world.
Tradition hints that St. Anne took part in the Betrothal of Joseph and Mary. It was in the house of St. Anne, the house which today is the Holy House of Loreto that Mary received the announcement from the Angel Gabriel, that she would be the Mother of God.