For more than a hundred years, St. Louis Catholics have been holding devotions to St. Ann, mother of Mary and grandmother to Jesus. This year, St. Nicholas Catholic Church (new home to the St. Ann Shrine) will continue that tradition by hosting the 92nd Annual Novena from July 18 through July 26, 2017. During those nine days, attendees will honor St. Ann with special prayers dedicated to her. Many will pray for her to intervene on their behalf, with special requests such as improved health, the cessation of violence in our city or the safety of family members in the military.
St. Nicholas Catholic Church is in its 151st year of serving the Catholic community in downtown St. Louis. Its members welcomed former parishioners of Visitation-St. Ann Shrine Parish, which closed following the 2016 Novena to St. Ann. The St. Ann Shrine was relocated to St. Nicholas Catholic Church at the corner of 18th and Lucas Streets in the summer of 2016. Many of the parishioners of Visitation- St. Ann Shrine Parish followed “the grandmother of Jesus” and adopted St. Nicholas Catholic Church as their new church home.
Carrying on the tradition of devotion to St. Ann, the St. Nicholas Parish family invites you to the Novena. Each day of the novena follows a theme, including prayers for our elderly, our children and those in physical pain. Weekday Masses will be held at 12:15 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.; Saturday Mass will be at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday Masses will be at 8:15 and 10:30 a.m.
History of the St. Ann Novena in St. Louis
In 1903, three days of special prayers to St. Ann were held at St. Ann’s Church located on the southeast corner of Page and Whittier. The first novena was held in 1926. The numbers of people attending the devotions grew from 30 in early days to a peak of more than 5,000 in the 1940s. During that time, young women would attend in great numbers, hoping that their prayers seeking the intervention of St. Ann would keep loved ones safe during the war. During the highest points of popularity, eleven Masses were scheduled for each day of the nine-day event.
In 1992, St. Ann’s Church merged with Visitation Parish, and the St. Ann Shrine and devotions were moved to the corner of Taylor and Evans. The colorful St. Ann Pillar Shrine made of many types of marble pillar is now in the All Souls Mausoleum at Calvary Cemetery. After the closing of Visitation- St. Ann Shrine Parish, the St. Ann Shrine and relics were moved to St. Nicholas Parish in 2016. This year marks the first year St. Nicholas will host the St. Ann Novena.
Throughout the years, novena worshipers have shared some of the special blessings received. Here are a few responses as to why some have come to the Novena over the years:
- “I have been coming for a long time. I started to come to pray for the conversion of my family, which has happened.”
- “The novena helps me during the year. I believe in the healing.”
- “I came since during the war. We thank God for the miracles he has given us over the past 40 years. We are Episcopalians.”
- “My wife prayed for me when I was in the service. Now I am praying for my family.”
- “I came last year and am now a devotee of St. Ann’s.”
Daily Novena Themes
Tues. July 18 Creation
Wed. July 19 Vocations/Leaders
Thurs. July 20 Our Elderly
Fri. July 21 Our Children
Sat. July 22 Christian Unity
Sun. July 23 Emotionally and Mentally Ill
Mon. July 24 Those in Physical Pain
Tues. July 25 Gift of Reconciliation
Wed. July 26 Sanctification