The account of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Temple is principally based on the Protoevangelium of James, which has been dated by historians prior to the year 200 AD. The story relates that in thanksgiving for the birth of their daughter, Mary, Joachim and Anne decide to consecrate her to God, and bring her, at the age of three years, to the temple in Jerusalem. Mary’s presentation in the temple draws parallels to that of the prophet Samuel, whose mother Hannah, like Anne was also thought to be barren, and who offered her child as a gift to God at Shiloh.
Mary remained in the Temple until her twelfth year, at which point she was assigned to Joseph as guardian. According to Coptic tradition, her father Joachim died when Mary was six years old and her mother when Mary was eight. While the story is a legend with no foundation in history, the point is to show that even in her childhood Mary was completely dedicated to God. It is from this account that arose the feast of Mary’s Presentation.
November 21 is also a “Pro Orantibus” Day, a day of prayer for cloistered religious – totally dedicated to God in prayer, silence, and concealment.
Prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary
(Indulgence of 50 days each time, His Holiness, Pius IX., May 19, 1854