As a child, the local school teacher had dismissed her from class after only one week, declaring, “Poor Ann! She can never learn anything.” So illiterate Ann was employed as a house maid. Though hard working, she was known for her quick, hot, Irish temper and fondness for whisky until God’s saving grace came to her. Her employer, Mrs McKay invited Ann to a Methodist meeting held in a private home. Of all the texts spoken that day, Ann remembered the words, “Thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut the door pray to thy Father who seeth in secret....” so after work that evening, under great conviction, Ann went up to the attic of the McKay home and knelt at a wooden chair. She began to cry out to God. Hours later, Ann arose with the knowledge that the Saviour’s blood had atoned for her sins. She went right over to a table upon which lay a Bible and she made her first request to her Heavenly Father, “O Lord, you that has taken away this awful burden, intolerable to bear, couldn’t you enable me to read one of these little things?” and putting her finger on a verse, she read, “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again, but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give shall never thirst.” Her Heavenly Father indeed taught Ann to read the one Book she needed and over the years Ann read and memorized Scripture faultlessly, yet the reading of any other material was wholly lost to her. The man of God who was her minister in those early years, recommended her to the employ of one Dr Reid and his family, and it was with this family that Ann immigrated to Canada in her late 20s.
Gaining a reputation for answered prayer, particularly in the area of healing, Ann was nicknamed ‘Holy Ann’ by a group of little boys who wrote this name on her front door. When Ann was told what they had written, she quickly went indoors to pray that God would indeed make her Holy so that she would not make liars of those
little boys. Parishioners and Priests alike were convicted by this little lady’s love and depth of revelation of the Scriptures.
Prayer to Ann was simple conversation and it was not uncommon to hear her conversing, “What was that you said, Father? Oh, yes, I hear you,” following which those who observed, would see her obey immediately or find the lost item. Whether it was catching a train on time, or asking God to hold back the rain, or restore water to a dried-up well, her prayers were answered with demonstration of God’s power because Ann Preston found the secret of truly abiding and walking in the Spirit.