It is an undoubted fact that if man and woman had continued in the state of original innocence wherein God had created them, woman would not have had to endure the pangs of childbirth, since it was in punishment of her sin that Divine Justice pronounced against her this decree: “In dolore paries“: (1) “Thou shalt bring forth in sorrow.”
Now the birth of our admirable Virgin not being sullied with the guilt of original sin, ought not to have carried with it the effects of this condemnation. The Holy Spirit compares her birth to the birth of a star, dissipating darkness and diffusing joy: “a star shall come forth out of Jacob” (2) And St. Ildephonsus declares emphatically that our incomparable Mary was not born as the other children of Adam: “Maria non sic est nata, sicut solent pueri et puellae nasci.” (3)
If the state of innocence would have exempted mothers from the pains they now suffer in childbirth, how much more ought the birth of a mother of God exempt from pain that privileged one who should be her mother. For this marvelous birth was to the human race a source of graces and blessings, far greater and more abundant than those destined for the state of innocence.
If God formed the first woman from Adam’s side without causing him any pain, is it difficult to believe that the birth of the second Eve, who was infinitely dearer and more precious in His eyes than the first, was without pain to her glorious mother, St. Ann?
The blessed Virgin declared to St. Bridget that her Mother was filled with a wonderful joy (4) at the miraculous and Immaculate Conception of her holy daughter Mary. It is then but reasonable to believe that St. Ann experienced a similar joy at her birth.
The sorrow which other mothers suffer in bringing forth their children is the consequence of sensuality and carnal concupiscence; for which reason the holy Fathers say that the Mother of the Savior was brought forth without pain, because she was conceived without pleasure. For sensuality had no part in the most pure conception of our holy Infant, as she made known to St. Bridget. (5)
Josephus in the ninth chapter of the second book of the Jewish Antiquities, relates that Jochabed, mother of Moses, suffered little or no pain at the birth of this great Prophet.
Thomas a Kempis, in the life of St. Lidwina, (6) says the same of her birth.
Anne, Duchess of Ustronia, received a similar grace through the prayers of St. Stanislaus Kostka, S. J., as is recounted in his life.
The Rev. Father John of Jesus Maria, discalced Carmelite, declares in one of his books on the glories of St. Teresa, that a woman near her confinement, having implored the succor of this Saint, gave birth to her infant without pain.
Now, if through the intercession of these Saints, God wrought such prodigies in mothers who have brought their children into the world in the state of sin, it is very easy to persuade oneself that the holy mother of the Queen of Saints was not less privileged, through the merits of her whom she conceived and brought forth in the fullness of grace: “In plenitudine sanctorum.” (7)
Holy Church sings on the day of Mary’s Nativity: “Thy birth, O Virgin Mother of God, brought joy to the whole earth.” While the whole universe rejoiced when St. Ann brought forth this Divine Infant, would it be possible that the daughter and mother alone, of all, had no share in this universal rejoicing of which they wer