Where to Go in Penang
Saint Anne’s Church, Bukit Mertajam
This famous church is the Roman Catholic Church of Saint Anne, located in the state of Penang on the Malaysian peninsular.
The Saint Anne’s Church, in Bukit Mertajam (Seberang Perai) was constructed in 1957 in the vicinity of an older church built in 1888. A new church was also built in 2002 and other transformation was done to the church area.
The Origins of St. Anne's Sanctuary can be traced back as early as 1833, when the Chinese and Indian migrant workers came to the area. The earliest records of Church of St. Anne parish is said to have started in 1846. As the Catholic population begin to increased, a new church was built and opened in 1888. This is the church which is now called the St Anne Shrine. (Photo above: white church on the hill)
In the 1950s, when Malaya declared an emergency, the church grounds were designated as a no-go area. It was only in 1960 that the emergency was lifted. In 1977, the church started moving back to the St. Anne's Shrine and restoration works begin.
(The parish moved further down the road and in 1958, the parish opened another church. This church was known as the "new church" for over 40 years, and was the main centre for the parish and the feast celebrations until 2003. In these years of the feast, pilgrims had to commute between this church and St. Anne's Shrine, which is 2 km away. This grounds now occupies the Kim Sen Primary School - wikipedia)
New St. Anne Today
In 2002, another new church was built, and is one of the largest churches in Malaysia. This church has a Minangkabau-styled roofs, but the walls and columns built in the style of old churches and monastaries of Rome. Today, the St. Anne's Church also serves as a pilgrim centre, and the Domus St. Anne is built to accommodate pilgrims who intend to stay over.
The feast of St. Anne falls on July 26 but every year the celebration stretches for a few days. The Saint Anne’s feast attracts pilgrims from all over Malaysia and internationally - the crowd estimated sometimes to reach about a quarter million. The highlight of this celebration is a night mass and a candlelight procession.
St. Anne is the mother of Virgin Mary. Although she is not mentioned in the scriptures - the Catholic church has acknowledged her as the wife of St. Joachim and mother of Mary.
Opening hours: 9am to 5pm daily.
Location: Jalan Kulim, Bukit Mertajam, Seberang Perai, Pulau Pinang