On February 9, we commemorate the feast of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, an Augustinian canoness noted for her visions of Christ and other mystical gifts.
Anne Catherine Emmerich was born on September 8, 1774 at Flamske, Westphalia, West Germany, to a small farming family. Her parents, Bernard Emmerich and Anne Hiller, were poor, but were very devout and holy.
As a young lay woman, Anne Catherine Emmerick, working as a seamstress, attended daily Mass, visited the Blessed Sacrament, and in the late evening spent hours praying. Around midnight, she made the Stations of the Cross by candlelight at a series of roadside shrines outside her village, along an extended path that wound through the pine woods, taking over two hours to complete. Anne was often seen making the entire Way of the Cross in her bare feet, even when the snow had covered the ground.
Anne Catherine offered up her prayers and devotions for the souls in purgatory, who in turn helped her. She explained: “Whenever I do something for them, they pray for me.”
Anne was remarkably gifted with ecstasies and visions of Christ, the Blessed Virgin Mary, her guardian angel, and many of the saints. Although Anne had never been formally educated, she understood Latin beginning in early childhood. Anne also reportedly had the gifts of discerning holy from unholy objects, consecrated objects or locations, and the identification of relics and from which saints they came.
At the age of twenty-nine, Anne Catherine entered an Augustinian convent. In 1812, Anne was forced to leave her convent along with all the sisters when the government closed all of the Religious houses.
Four years before the suppression of her convent, Anne made a visit home with her family in Flamske. One day while she was kneeling and praying before the crucifix, Anne had asked our Lord for a share in His Passion as a sacrifice for the sake of her convent. From that time on, she began experiencing terrible pain in her hands, feet and side. God had given her the mystical gift of the invisible stigmata. In this state of suffering, she received numerous visions and private revelations. Anne took no solid food, but lived off the Eucharist for twelve years.
Anne Catherine Emmerich died on February 9, 1824. It was only during the last five years of her life that she began to write down her visions, which have become a treasury for many of the faithful. She was beatified on October 3, 2004 by Pope John Paul II.
Prayer to Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich
O, Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, devout and pious follower of Christ, who patiently endured the frailty of this mortal condition, who humbly received the honorable marks of Christ Jesus on your hands, feet, side, head, and chest, the marks which you were blessed by the Lord to witness for yourself in His own sufferings; we graciously ask for your intercession with God, that
we sinners may be forgiven of our sins and be drawn more completely into spiritual communion with Christ Our Lord and Savior. We ask this in the Name of the Most Holy Lamb of God and through the intercession of Holy Mary, Our Mother. Amen
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