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Saint of the Day - Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich (February 9)

Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich was born in 1774. She died in 1824. She was a mystic and visionary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. She also had the stigmata of Jesus.

Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich was born September 8, 1774. She was born in Flamshen, a small farming community located in Coesfield in the Diocese of Münster, Westphalia, Germany. She died on February 9, 1824 at the age of 49 in Dülman. That is where she had been a nun. At the end of her life, she was bedridden.

At an early age, Anne displayed a strong spirituality

In 1813, she began displaying the stigmata. They were exhibited on her body for only a short time of a couple of years, with the bleeding stopped and the wounds closed in 1818. She was moved for a time due to accusation of Blessed Anne being a fraud. However, after investigation, it was determined that there was no fraud.

Blessed Anne experienced visions of the life and the Passion of Christ as revealed to her by the Blessed Virgin Mary in a state of religious ecstasy.

This article will not go into much details on the works by Clemens Brentano, as there is much controversy with them. The accusations are that Brentano, a romantic poet, may have embellished some parts of his interviews with Blessed Anne.

One of the Brentano books is called The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Although neither Emmerich not Brentano had ever been to Ephesus and Ephesus had not yet been excavated, the book was quite helpful in finding what is believed to be the home of the Blessed Virgin Mary prior to her death and Assumption into Heaven.

What follows is an excerpt from the book regarding Mary's house:

"The Blessed Virgin's dwelling was not in Ephesus itself, but from three to four hours distant. It stood on a height upon which several Christians from Judea, among them some of the holy women related to her, had taken up their abode. Between this height and Ephesus glided, with many a crooked curve, a little river. The height sloped obliquely toward Ephesus."

In 1881, French priest Abbé Julien Gouyet utilized the book and found what is widely speculated to be the home of Mary. While the Vatican has taken to official position on the house, Pope Pius XII declared the house to be a holy place in 1951. Pope John XXIII made the declaration permanent. The house has been visited and treated as a shrine by three popes: Pope Saint Paul VI (1967), Pope Saint John Paul II (1979) and Pope Benedict XVI (2006).

Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich died on February 9, 1824. She was buried in a graveyard outside of the town of Dülman. The grave was opened twice in the weeks following her burial based on rumors that the coffin and body had been stolen from her grave. Each time, they were found to be in the grave and intact.

Her remains were moved to the Holy Cross Church in Dülman in 1973. Her remains remain there to this day.

The Bishop of Münster opened the cause for the canonization of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich in 1892. The cause was officially opened by the Vatican in 1899. The cause was suspended in 1928 when it was discovered that Brenton may have fabricated some of the material in the books.

The cause was reopened in 1973 when the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints agreed to re-open the investigation, provided that the cause focused solely on her merit and virtue and not on the possibly-fabricated books. She was beatified on October 3, 2004 after the Congregation had issued a decree of a miracle attributed to her.

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