Joachim took to wife that most eminent and praiseworthy woman, Anne. And even as the holy Hannah, being stricken with barrenness, by prayer and promise became the mother of Samuel, so likewise this holy Anne, through prayer and promise, received from God the Mother of God, that in fruitfulness she might not be behind any of the famous matrons. And thus Grace (for such is the signification of the name of Anne) is mother of the Lady (for such is the signification of the name of Mary). And indeed this child of grace became the Lady of every creature, since she has been Mother of the Creator. She first saw the light in Joachim's house, hard by the Pool of Bethesda, at Jerusalem, and was carried to the temple. There planted in the Lord, the dew of his Spirit made her to flourish in the courts of her God, where she was like unto a green olive tree, so that all the doves of grace came and lodged in her branches. And there she in such wise raised her mind utterly above the pride of life, and the lust of flesh, that she kept her soul virgin in her virgin body, as became her that was to receive God into her womb.
Such was Mary that her single life offereth an example to all. If then we be not displeased by the doer, let us applaud the deed; if any other woman seek like reward, let her follow after like works. In the one Virgin how many glorious examples do shine forth. Hers was the hidden treasure of modesty, hers the high standard of faith, hers the self-sacrifice of earnestness, hers to be the pattern of maidenhood at home, of kins-womanhood in ministry, of motherhood in the temple. O to how many virgins hath she been helpful! How many hath she taken in her arms and presented unto the Lord, saying: Here is one who, like me, hath kept stainlessly clean the wedding chamber, the marriage-bed of my Son.
Why should I go on to speak of the scantiness of her eating, or of the multiplicity of her work? how her labour seemed above human capacity, and her refreshment insufficient for human strength; how her toil never missed a moment, and her fasting took as much as two days together? And when she was fain to eat, she took not dainties, but whatsoever food came first to hand that would keep body and soul together. She would not sleep till need was, and even then, while her body rested, her soul watched. I opine that often she talked in her sleep, either repeating things that she had read, or going on with what she was doing before sleep interrupted her, or rehearsing things executed, or talking of things projected.