Anna Katharina Emmerick on the Life of Mary

– Answered by Father Johann Roten, S.M.

Q: Can you tell me about a nineteenth-century mystic who wrote about Mary's life?

A: The name is Anna Katharina Emmerick (1774-1824). She was born September 8, 1774 at Flamsche near Coesfeld in the Diocese of Munstea, Westphalia, Germany. She belonged to the sisters of St. Augustine (1802-1812) when the convent in Agnetenberg, Dalmen was suppressed. She had visions (Our Lady and especially the Passion of Christ) and received the stigmata (1798: forehead; 1812: hands and feet). She lived without food for years. The German poet, Klemens of Brentano, took down the report of her visions, touching upon Mary's life and Christ's passion. In the Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary (1852) we find reference to Ephesus where Mary reportedly spent the last years of her earthly dwelling. Of special interest is information conveyed by Emmerick on the house where Mary died and her tomb (Panagia Kaulu) and their confirmation through archeology (J. Goujet, H. Jung, E. Poulin). Neither Emmerick nor Brentano could have anticipated these findings. The process of her canonization (initiated in 1892 and again in 1973) led to a positive conclusion. Katharina Emmerick was beatified by pope John Paul II on october 3, 2004.

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