Anne Catherine Emmerich

Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich
Anna Katharina Emmerick Saint Visionary.jpg
Handicapped, Virgin, Penitent, Marian Visionary and Stigmatist
Born8 September 1774
Coesfeld, Westphalia, Holy Roman Empire
Died9 February 1824(1824-02-09) (aged 49)
Dülmen, Westphalia, German Confederation
Venerated inRoman Catholic Church
Beatified3 October 2004, St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City by Pope John Paul II
Feast9 February
AttributesBedridden with bandaged head and holding a crucifix

Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich (German: Anna Katharina Emmerick; 8 September 1774 – 9 February 1824) was a Roman Catholic Augustinian Canoness Regular of Windesheim, mystic, Marian visionary, ecstatic and stigmatist.[1]

She was born in Flamschen, a farming community at Coesfeld, in the Diocese of Münster, Westphalia, Germany, and died at age 49 in Dülmen, where she had been a nun, and later become bedridden. Emmerich is notable for her visions on the life and passion of Jesus Christ, reputed to be revealed to her by the Blessed Virgin Mary under religious ecstasy.[2]

During her bedridden years, a number of well-known figures were inspired to visit her.[1] The poet Clemens Brentano interviewed her at length and wrote two books based on his notes of her visions.[3] The authenticity of Brentano's writings has been questioned and critics have characterized the books as "conscious elaborations by a poet" and a "well-intentioned fraud" by Brentano.[4][5]

Emmerich was beatified on 3 October 2004, by Pope John Paul II.[1] However, the Vatican focused on her own personal piety rather than the religious writings associated to her by Clemens Brentano. Her documents of postulation towards canonization are handled by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter.

Early life

She was born as Anna Katharina into a family of poor farmers and had nine brothers and sisters, her Surname coming from a town where her ancestry stayed. From an early age, she had to help with the house and farm work. Her schooling was rather brief, but all those who knew her noticed that she felt drawn to prayer from an early age.[1] At twelve, she started to work at a large farm in the vicinity for three years and later learned to be a seamstress and worked as such for several years.[6]

She applied for admission to various convents, but she was rejected because she could not afford a dowry. Eventually, the Poor Clares in Münster agreed to accept her, provided she would learn to play the organ. She went to the organist Söntgen in Coesfeld to study music and learn to play the organ, but she never got around to it because the poverty of the Söntgen family prompted her to work there to help them, and she sacrificed her small savings for that.[6] Later, one of the Söntgen daughters entered the convent with her.[1]

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