History

About Saint Ann
As tradition has it, Saint Ann was the mother of Our Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. Although Saints Ann and Joachim, her husband, are not mentioned in the scriptures, their legend has been handed on to us through the generations.

HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II (Excerpt describing our patroness)
Sunday, 10 December 1978

The figure of St Anne reminds us, in fact, of the paternal home of Mary, the Mother of Christ. Mary was born there, bearing in her that extraordinary mystery of the immaculate conception. There she was surrounded by the love and solicitude of her parents: Joachim and Anne. There she “learned” from her mother, from St Anne, how to be a mother. And although, from the human point of view, she had renounced motherhood, the Heavenly Father, accepting her total donation, gratified her with the most perfect and holy motherhood. Christ, from the Cross, transferred in a certain sense his mother’s maternity to his favourite disciple, and likewise he extended it to the whole Church, to all men. When, therefore, as “children of (divine) promise” (cf. Gal 4:28, 31), we find ourselves in the range of this motherhood, and when we feel its holy depth and fullness, let us think then that it was St Anne herself who was the first to teach Mary, her daughter, how to be a Mother.

“Anne” in Hebrew means “God has given grace”. Reflecting on this meaning of St Anne’s name, St John of Damascus exclaimed: “Since it was to happen that the Virgin Mother of God should be born from Anne, nature did not dare to precede the seed of grace; but it remained without its fruit in order that grace might produce its own. In fact, there was to be born that first-born who would give birth to the first-born of every creature” (Serm. VI, De nativ. B.V.M., 2; PG96, 663).

Brief History
Saint Ann’s Church and Shrine was founded by German immigrants in 1858 on the corner of Broadway and Emslie Streets in Buffalo, NY.  The present church was dedicated 125 years ago on May 16th, 1886. St. Ann’s is one of the finest gothic masterpieces in the country and among the city’s most prominent historical structures. Easily seen from Downtown Buffalo and Buffalo’s East Side, the church is located at 651 Broadway, on the corner of Emslie Street.

The Jesuits staffed the parish from 1858-2007. The Sisters of St. Francis (Stella Niagara) taught and lived there from 1874-2007. Hundreds of priestly and religious vocations came from the parish. The school (now closed) had the largest enrollment of any school – parochial, private or public – in the entire country, in the early 20th century. Tens of thousands of students passed through St. Ann’s doors.

St. Ann’s welcomes thousands of visitors each year for Sunday Mass, special events and tours. Pastored by diocesan priest Fr. Roy Herberger, St. Ann’s is now in its 154th year thanks to the help of local priests’ sacramental ministry, parishioner involvement, and the support of people like you. We encourage all of our out-of-town parishioners and alumni and our other friends to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and to join us for our 10 AM Sunday Mass and visit St. Ann’s whenever they return to Buffalo.

For more information, please see us after mass or contact us at:
Saint Ann’s Church & Shrine
PO Box 782
Buffalo, NY 14240
716-852-0100
saint_ann@saintannbuffalo.org

Detailed History – Saint Ann’s Church & Shrine, Buffalo, NY

Martin F. Ederer Updated 12/31/2011 The history of St. Ann’s Church and Shrine began with a conversation between a Mr. Stephen van Rensselaer Watson and Bishop John Timon as they rode together out Batavia Street (now Broadway) from Buffalo in 1857. By 1857, Timon had been Bishop of Buffalo for the ten years since Pope …

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