St Anne Church Bukit Mertajam

St Anne's Church Jalan Kulim Bukit Mertajam Pulau Pinang Malezija

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Every day from 7.00 am to 7.00 pm

Dedication in the Temple

When Mary was three years old, her parents presented her in the Temple in Jerusalem as a gift to the Lord. Their family then lived close by that great center of Jewish life. Even from her first days, Mary as a child seemed to know that her life was to serve God. The temple of God so near her home was a place she loved and there was nowhere else she would rather be.

So as a little girl just three years old, her parents watched her ascend the fifteen great steps to the temple courtyard and approach the altar of sacrifice. God was there and she wished to be near him. And that is what her parents, Ann and Joachim wished that their daughter be near her God. The early story says that Mary spent most of her childhood in that holy place.

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About Domus St Anne Church Bukit Mertajam

Domus St. Anne is a homely and unique refurbished residential and day use facility located in a tranquil and serena sorroundings within the St. Anne’s Sanctuary, Bukit Mertajam. It is run on non-profit basis by Management Committee of the Parish of St. Anne.

This affordable and high value facility is open to individuals , churches, Christian Groups, organizations and companies. It is ideal to pilgrimage, relaxation, retreat, spiritual enrichment, training and formation sessions for both youth as well as adult all year round. This is the place God has prepared for His people to be revitalized and recharged in body, soul and spirit.

History of the St Anne Church Bukit Mertajam

It was at Batu Kawan, as early as 1833 that Catholics first originated in Province Wellesley. They were mainly Chinese and Indian. It was from here that the Catholics gradually moved to Permatang Tinggi, Macang Bubok and Bukit Mertajam. By 1840, the Chinese Catholics started settling down at the Bukit Mertajam foothill.

The early priests were all Frenchmen and they visited Bukit Mertajam from Batu Kawan. In 1846, the first visiting priest, Fr. Adolphe Couellan decided that there was a need for a chapel and built one just below where now stands the hill top St. Anne’s statue.St. Anne was (and still is) a very popular patron saint amongst the French. Naturally, the chapel was named after her. From 1860 onwards, priests residing at Permatang Tinggi chapel took over the visiting to the St. Anne’s Parish. In 1865, Fr. Maistre who was the first visiting priest from there, built a bigger second chapel. It was located lower down, closer to where the old St. Anne’s church is. Today you can still see the remains of this chapel just behind the well of Saint Anne’s water.

In 1869, Fr. Allard came as the first resident priest. Fr. F.P. Sorin arrived in 1875 and he built the first church and it was ready in 1888. Fr. Sorin died on 26th July (St. Anne’s Feast Day), 1907, in Teluk Wang and was buried at the entrance of St. Anne’s old church. The stained glass set featuring St. Anne and also a set of three bells from France were installed at the old church in 1896 by Fr. Charles Grenier. During the Japanese occupation the bells were dismantled. Only one of them has been recovered.

In 1938, Fr. Laurent was here briefly and during his time, he organised the first church choir with Datuk Wong Pow Nee as the choir master. That same year, Fr. Joachim Teng took over the parish. It was he who bought the land where the Kim Sen school and the second church are now located. In 1941, the war broke out and masses were disrupted as the Japanese occupied the church land. The situation was back to normal after the war in 1946.

About Domus St. Anne

Domus St. Anne is a homely and unique refurbished residential and day use facility located in a tranquil and serena sorroundings within the St. Anne’s Sanctuary, Bukit Mertajam. It is run on non-profit basis by Management Committee of the Parish of St. Anne. This affordable and high value facility is open to individuals , churches, Christian Groups, organizations and companies. It is ideal to pilgrimage, relaxation, retreat, spiritual enrichment, training and formation sessions for both youth as well as adult all year round. This is the place God has prepared for His people to be revitalized and recharged in body, soul and spirit.

The fastest method getting to Penang would be by flight. Penang is easily accessible by air with daily flights from major capitals from regional countries. It has direct links with Singapore, Bangkok, Medan, Xiamen, Madras, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong operated by Malaysia Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, China Airlines and etc. For cheaper alternatives there is always Air Asia and Firefly Airlines.

The Revelation of James

Christians, from the earliest times had an interest in knowing more about Jesus’ family, especially about his mother and his grandmother. Ann is the name of the Jewish woman who was Jesus’ grandmother. Ann is the Virgin Mary’s mother. We know nothing about Ann from the Bible.

Simple Way Of Life
Since history has not passed on anything extraordinary about the life of Saint Ann it is safe to assume that she led the life of a typical Jewish woman of her time. What we see in many present day third world countries perhaps gives us some insight into the simple way of life of the woman known today as Saint Ann.

Life in most ancient cultures would have women spent much of their time with household chores and the needs of her family. Even today in places like Africa, China, India and other Asian and Latin American Countries women are very busy from morning to night. They are seen early in the morning walking to get water from a river, a well, or some other water supply. One can see them washing their infants, combing a daughter’s hair, gathering wood and sticks to make a fire for cooking. During the day, women will gather food from their gardens and go to the town market to buy and sell vegetables, fruits, and dried fish. They assemble at grinding mills with bags of corn or kernels of wheat to have them ground into flour. Often they will perform their daily routine with a child perched on their backs and a few more children at their side. Usually one sees women walking along in a small procession of relatives or neighbors. They will prepare an afternoon meal and sometimes bring it to their husbands at work in the fields. They will help raise the chickens, rabbits and goats, will milk the cow, and in the late afternoon when it is cool will go out into the fields along with their husbands to spade and hoe the land, plant seeds, or harvest the padi or other cereals.

History of the St Anne’s Church

It was at Batu Kawan, as early as 1833 that Catholics first originated in Province Wellesley. They were mainly Chinese and Indian. It was from here that the Catholics gradually moved to Permatang Tinggi, Macang Bubok and Bukit Mertajam. By 1840, the Chinese Catholics started settling down at the Bukit Mertajam foothill.

The early priests were all Frenchmen and they visited Bukit Mertajam from Batu Kawan. In 1846, the first visiting priest, Fr. Adolphe Couellan decided that there was a need for a chapel and built one just below where now stands the hill top St. Anne’s statue.St. Anne was (and still is) a very popular patron saint amongst the French. Naturally, the chapel was named after her. From 1860 onwards, priests residing at Permatang Tinggi chapel took over the visiting to the St. Anne’s Parish. In 1865, Fr. Maistre who was the first visiting priest from there, built a bigger second chapel. It was located lower down, closer to where the old St. Anne’s church is. Today you can still see the remains of this chapel just behind the well of Saint Anne’s water.

In 1869, Fr. Allard came as the first resident priest. Fr. F.P. Sorin arrived in 1875 and he built the first church and it was ready in 1888. Fr. Sorin died on 26th July (St. Anne’s Feast Day), 1907, in Teluk Wang and was buried at the entrance of St. Anne’s old church. The stained glass set featuring St. Anne and also a set of three bells from France were installed at the old church in 1896 by Fr. Charles Grenier. During the Japanese occupation the bells were dismantled. Only one of them has been recovered.

In 1938, Fr. Laurent was here briefly and during his time, he organised the first church choir with Datuk Wong Pow Nee as the choir master. That same year, Fr. Joachim Teng took over the parish. It was he who bought the land where the Kim Sen school and the second church are now located. In 1941, the war broke out and masses were disrupted as the Japanese occupied the church land. The situation was back to normal after the war in 1946.

In 1948, “Emergency” was declared and the old church grounds became a prohibited area due to communist activities. The residents were resettled and church services were held in the Convent. In 1957, the second church was built by Fr. Thomas Chin. This is the church next to Kim Sen school which has been called the “new church” for the last 45 years. The Centenary Celebration of the parish was held in 1969 under Fr. P. Grandvuillemin.

Fr. Peter Pang who took over as parish priest in 1977, built a permanent altar shed in front of the old church and also the parochial and reconciliation halls at the old church compound. He also installed the statue at the top of the hill after fire destroyed the shrine there.

Fr. Augustine Wong arrived in 1984. He removed the shed in front of the old church for a clearer view. He also reinstalled the stained glass behind the altar, which was damaged and one of the original bells which was recovered. In 1987, he built the shrine of Our Lady of Fatima at the second church and improved on the parochial and reconciliation halls at the old church. These were used for masses, retreats, and meetings as well. In 1988, the Centenary Celebration of the old church building was held.

The St. Anne’s water fonts were altered to what they are today in 1997, soon after Fr. Michael Cheah was assigned as Administrator for the parish.

Ancient Story of. St. Anne

According to the ancient story called the “Gospel of James”, Ann the mother of Mary, was born in Bethlehem, where, years later, Jesus would be born. She married Joachim from Nazareth in Galilee. Their marriage was blessed in many ways. They loved each other very much and over the years their love only grew stronger. The couple prospered when they moved to Jerusalem. Joachim, a shepherd who owned a large herd of sheep, was given the task of supplying the temple in Jerusalem with sheep for its sacrifices from his flocks, which grazed in the hills nearby the city.

Unfortunately, after twenty years of marriage Ann and Joachim had no children. They prayed and prayed, and even vowed to dedicate to God any child they would have. Year after year they entered the Temple to plead with God for help. But no child came. Once, when Joachim went to the Temple for the Feast of Dedication, he overheard someone ridiculing him for not being able to father a child. Stung by the remark, he went out into the hill country near Jerusalem where shepherds tended his flocks and cried to God over his disappointment of so many years.

Angel’s Message
After many days there alone, pouring out the sadness in his heart before God, an angel appeared to Joachim in dazzling light. The vision frightened him, but the angel said:
“Don’t be afraid. I have come to tell you the Lord has heard your prayers. He knows how good you are and he knows your many years of sorrow for having no child. God will give your wife a child just as he did Sarah, the wife of Abraham, and Anna, the mother of Samuel. Your wife Ann will bear you a daughter. You shall call her Mary and dedicate her to God, for she will be filled with the Holy Spirit from her mother’s womb.”

“I will give you a sign”, the angel continued. “Go back to Jerusalem. You will meet your wife at the Golden Gate, and your sorrow will be turned into joy.” Meanwhile, Ann, not knowing where her husband had gone, grew anxious and afraid. She, too, was hurt that she had no children and felt as though she were being punished by God. Going into the garden, she noticed some sparrows building a nest in a laurel tree, for it was springtime, and she began to cry: “Why was I born, O Lord? The birds build nests for their young yet I have no child of my own. The animals of the earth, the fish of the sea are fruitful, yet I have nothing. The land produces fruit in due season, but I have no infant to hold in my arms.”

Suddenly, the angel of the Lord came to her and said, “Ann, the Lord has heard your prayer. You shall conceive a child whom the whole world will praise. Go to the Golden Gate in Jerusalem and meet your husband there.” So she quickly went to the city gate. The two met there and embraced, and joyfully shared the news the angel had given them. Returning home, Ann conceived and bore a daughter, and called her Mary. Mary was a common name for Jewish women of the time. The name is derived from Miriam, who was the sister of Moses. Perhaps the Jewish people then, longing for someone like Moses to lead them from their long slavery to foreigners like the Greeks and the Romans, chose that name for so many of their daughters, hoping that a new Moses would come and find another Miriam at his side.

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