Saint Joanna

Pope Benedict encourages everyone to have devotion to a particular saint, maybe our namesake.

The Holy Father said that it is important "to have 'travel companions' on the journey of our Christian life: I am thinking of a spiritual director, a confessor, persons with whom we can share the experience of faith, but I am also thinking of the Virgin Mary and of the saints."

"Each one," he said, "should have a saint that is familiar to him, to whom he feels close with prayer and intercession, but also to imitate him or her. Hence, I would like to invite you to know the saints better, beginning with the one whose name you bear, by reading his life, his writings. You can be certain that they will become good guides to love the Lord ever more and valid aids for your human and Christian growth."

Saint Joanna was one of the women associated with the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth, often considered to be one of the disciples. In the Bible, she is one of the women recorded in the Gospel of Luke as accompanying Jesus and the twelve: "Mary, called Magdalene, ... and Joanna the wife of Herod's steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources" (Luke 8:2-3).

Joanna is also among the women who went to prepare Jesus' body in Luke's account of the Resurrection, and who later told the apostles and other disciples about the empty tomb and words of the "two men in dazzling clothes".

Both Richard J. Bauckham and Ben Witherington III conclude that the disciple Joanna is the same woman as the Christian Junia mentioned by Paul in his Epistle to the Romans (Romans 16:7).

She is honoured as a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church on the "Sunday of the Myrrhbearers", which is two Sundays after Pascha (Easter), and in the Roman Catholic Church on May 24. She is commemorated in the Calendar of Saints of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod on August 3 together with Mary, the Mother of James and Salome.

When thou didst speak to the myrrh-bearing women with joy, thou didst end the wailing of Eve the first mother, by thy Resurrection, commanding thy Disciples to proclaim that the Savior is risen from the tomb.

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