With a reputation as a visionary and mystic, Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774 to 1824) was a well-known Roman Catholic Augustinian nun hailing from a farming community in Germany. In this article, you will learn more about the woman, as well as some of her religious experiences.
When Emmerich was born, she entered the world the daughter of poor parents. When she turned the age of 12, she was bound to a farmer and later to a seamstress for several years of her life. Afterwards, she went to study music with the family of an organist. During her time, she found that they were quite poor and gave them the little bit of money that she had saved for entering a convent. Then, she waited on them as a servant for a couple of years.
After turning 28 years old in 1802, Emmerich finally entered the Augustinian convent located at Agnetenberg, Dulmen. Over time, the sisters at the convent believed that she had received supernatural favors because of the multitude of ecstasies she had experienced. In 1812, the convent that Emmerich stayed at was suppressed by the King of Westphalia (Jerome Bonaparte) , forcing her to seek refuge at the house of a widow. It was there that the sick and poor ventured to receive help from Emmerich. Contemporaries claim that she had a supernatural power about her that permitted her to know exactly what diseases the people suffered from, which she used to prescribe the appropriate cures.
The Stigmata and Visions of Emmerich
In 1813, reports of stigmata on Emmerich’s body emerged as she was confined to bed. The claims that she had undergone miraculous experiences and her life as a whole were brought before an Episcopal commission, where an investigation followed. A vicar-general, the Overberg, and three doctors became involved, where it was found that her sanctity and the authenticity of the stigmata were to be believed.
It wasn’t until the end of 1818 that Emmerich exclaimed that God granted her prayer to no longer suffer the stigmata. Her hands and feet showed no wounds, but the others remained. On Good Friday, they were subject to reopen.
Ever since Emmerich was a child, she recalled having visions and speaking with Jesus. She also stated that she had caught sight of the souls in Purgatory and saw the core of Holy Trinity in the form of three concentric interpenetrating full spheres. The Father core was represented by the largest sphere, which was not as lit as the smallest sphere (the Holy Spirit). The medium sphere was the Son core.
The Publication of Visions
In 1819, Emmerich underwent a second examination and received a visit from a famous poet of the time, Clemens Brentano. To his surprise, she recognized the man and told him that she knew she was meant to meet him , he was to be the man that would allow her to “fulfill God’s command, namely, to write down for the good of innumerable souls the revelations made to her.” Bretano would become a close supporter of the nun and often referred to her as the “chosen Bride of Christ.”
Bretano spent from 1819 to 1824 recording the visions of Emmerich. In the end, his detailed scenes and passage filled 40 volumes. After her death, Bretano edited the records and prepared them for publication. In 1833, the first volume went to print , “The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to the Meditations of Anne Catherine Emmerich.”