Saint of the Day – 16 August – St Joachim, Father of the Blessed Virgin Mary. St Joachim is regarded as the Father of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, our Lord Jesus and Saviour. Tradition has it that St Joachim was a retired Priest or Holy man of his time. He is the Patron Saint of Fathers, Grandfathers, Grandparents, Married Couples, Cabinet Makers, Puerto Rico, Dolores, Eastern Samar; Fasnia (Tenerife). The name Joachim in Hebrew means, “God Prepares.”
At the temple, Joachim’s sacrifice was rejected, as the couple’s childlessness was interpreted as a sign of Divine displeasure. Joachim consequently withdrew to the desert, where he fasted and did penance and prayed for 40 days. Angels then appeared to both Joachim and Anne to promise them a child.
Joachim returned to Jerusalem and embraced Anne at the City gate, located in the Walls of Jerusalem. An ancient belief held that a child born of an elderly mother who had given up hope of having offspring was destined for great things. It is also tradition that Joachim would give Mary to the service of the Temple when the girl was only three years old.
Joachim is neither mentioned in historical or canonical writings but is still widely revered and is the namesake of many Church institutions. The only source of information regarding St Joachim, is the non-biblical Gospel of James, an apocryphal book that was, nonetheless, widely read.
In the 1500 – 1600’s, Joachim’s image appeared on many European coins ,including , in about 1520, the famous Joachim’s Taler, a silver coin in Bohemia. Some of those coins are still seen today, in the hands of collectors.
We know St Joachim as the Father of Our Lady. Although little is actually known about this Saint, one can imagine the love he had for his child, who came late in life to he and St Anne. The tradition tells us he was a Priest or Holy man of God and much can be taken from that. We too, may not always know what God may have in store for us – but one thing is certain, if we stay close to God, serve Him with all our strength, we too can merit life eternal, like St Joachim.