The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary
by Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich
XV. PERSONAL NOTES: RELICS NEARBY THAT THE THREE KINGS HAD GIVEN TO THE HOLY FAMILY.
Soon after this expression of surprise that Anna should take away from
Bethlehem something belonging to her, Sister Emmerich, the following
dialogue took place between the latter (who was in a visionary state of
great intensity) and the writer.
Sister Emmerich: When Anna went away, she took with her many of the
kings' gifts, especially stuffs. Some of these were used in the first
Christian Church, and pieces have survived until our own time. A piece
of the cloth that covered the little table on which the kings laid
their presents and a piece of one of their cloaks are among my own
relics.'  Since some of these relics were in a little cupboard
beside her bed, while others were in the writer's house, he asked: Are
these relics of stuff here?'
Catherine Emmerich: No, over there in the house.'
The writer: In my house?'
Catherine Emmerich: No, in the pilgrim's house (her usual name for the
writer). They are in a little bundle. The piece of the cloak is faded.
People will not believe it, but it is true, all the same, and I see it
before my eyes.' When the writer brought the relics kept in his house
in what might certainly be described as little bundles', she opened one
of these at once and identified a little piece of dark red silk as part
of the kings' stuffs, without, however, giving any more precise
explanation about it. She then said: I am sure I have another little
piece of the kings' stuffs. They had several cloaks: a thick strong one
for bad weather, a yellow one, and a red one of very thin light wool.
These cloaks blew in the wind as they went. At their ceremonies they
wore cloaks of shining undyed silk, embroidered at the edge with gold.
These had long trains which had to be carried. I think that a piece of
a cloak like this must be near me, and that is why tonight and before
that I was watching silk being produced and woven in the country of the
kings. I remember that in an eastern land, between Theokeno's and
Seir's countries, there were trees full of silkworms, with little
ditches of water round each tree to prevent the silkworms from
escaping. I sometimes saw them strewing leaves under the trees, and I
saw little boxes hanging from their branches. Out of these boxes they
took little round things more than a finger in length. I thought, at
first, they were some strange kind of birds' eggs, but I soon saw that
they were the cocoons which the worms had spun round themselves, for I
saw people winding off threads as fine as gossamer. I saw them
fastening a mass of this on their breasts and spinning from it a fine
thread, rolling it up on something they held in their hands. I saw them
also weaving among trees: the loom looked white, it was quite simple,
and the woven stuff must have been about the breadth of my sheet.'
A few days later she said: My doctor has often questioned me about a
piece of very curiously woven silk. A short time ago I saw a similar
piece in my room, but do not know what has become of it. I have been
thinking over it, and realized that I had a vision of the women weaving
silk in a country to the east of the countries of the three kings. It
was in the country that St. Thomas visited. I made a mistake: it does
not belong to the holy kings' stuff, so the pilgrim must cross that
out. Somebody gave it to me as a senseless sort of test, without
considering what I was contemplating internally at that moment: this
causes sad confusion. Now, however, I have seen the relics again and
know where they are. Several years ago I gave a little packet, sewn
together like a knob, to my sister-in-law who lives at Flamske. It was
before her last confinement, and she had begged me for some kind of
holy relic to support her; so I gave her this little bundle, which I
saw shining and as though it had once been in contact with the Mother
of God. I cannot remember whether I looked through its whole contents
at the time, but the good woman got great comfort from it. It contains
a little piece of dark red carpet and two little pieces of thin woven
stuff, like cr?pe, of the color of raw silk; also a piece of some stuff
like green calico, a tiny piece of wood, and a few little splinters of
white stone. I have sent a message to my sister-in-law to bring them
back to me.'
A few days later her sister-in-law paid her a visit and brought the
little packet, which was about the size of a walnut. The writer undid
it very carefully at home, and separated the remnants of stuff which
were twisted together in it, moistening them and pressing them flat
between the leaves of a book. These consisted of about two square
inches of thick coarse woolen stuff woven in a very faded flowered
pattern, in color dark reddish brown and in places dark purple. There
were also strips, two fingers in length and breadth, of loose, thin
woven stuff like muslin, of the color of raw silk; and a little piece
of wood and a few splinters of stone. In the evening he held the pieces
of stuff, which he had put inside note-paper, in front of her eyes. Not
knowing what it was, she said first: What am I to do with these
letters?' Then, as soon as she had taken the closed letters one by one
in her hand, she said: You must keep that carefully and not allow one
thread of it to be lost. The thick stuff that looks brown now was once
a deep red; it was part of a carpet as big as my room; the servants of
the kings spread it out in the Cave of the Nativity, and Mary sat on it
with the Infant Jesus while the kings swung their censers. Afterwards
she always kept it in the cave, and she put it on the donkey when she
went to Jerusalem for the Presentation of the Infant Jesus in the
Temple. The thin cr?pe-like stuff is a piece of a short cloak of three
separate strips of stuff which the kings wore fastened to their
collars. It was like a ceremonial stole and fluttered over back and
shoulders. It had a fringe with tassels. The splinters of wood and
stone are of a later time: they come from the Promised Land.'
During these days she saw, in her consecutive visions of the Ministry
of Jesus, the events of January 27 ^th in the year of His death. She
saw Our Lord on His way to Bethany in an inn near Bethoron  with
seventeen disciples. He taught them about their calling and kept the
Sabbath with them: the lamp was burning the whole day. Among these
disciples is one who has lately followed Him from Sychar. I saw him so
plainly; some of his bones must be among my relics, a little thin white
splinter. His name sounds like Silan or Vilan, those are the letters I
see.' Finally she said: Silvanus', adding after a while: I have once
more seen the little pieces of stuff which I possess belonging to the
three kings. There must be another little bundle there; among its
contents are a piece of King Mensor's cloak, a piece of a red silk
covering which was beside the Holy Sepulcher in old days, and a piece
of the red and white stole of a saint. I also see the little
bone-splinter of the disciple Silvanus in it.'  After an interval
of absence of mind, she said: I see now where that little bundle is.
Eighteen months ago I gave it to a woman here to hang round her neck.
She is still wearing it, and I will ask her to give it back to me. She
was so sympathetic when I was arrested  that I gave it to her to
wear to console her. I did not then know its exact contents, I only saw
that it shone, that it was a holy relic and had been in contact with
the Mother of God. Now that I have seen everything to do with the three
holy kings so clearly, I recognize everything round me that has to do
with them, including these relics of stuffs. I had forgotten where all
these things were.
A few days later, when the little package returned, she gave it to the
writer to open, as she herself was ill. He undid the little old bundle
(which had been firmly sewn up years before) in the room opening into
Catherine Emmerich's, and found the following objects in it, tightly
wrapped round each other:
(1) A narrow little strip (like a rolled-up hem) of natural-colored
woven material of some very soft wool too fragile and thin to unfold.
(2) Two pieces of yellowish cotton material, loosely woven but quite
strong, a finger in length and half that in breadth.
(3) A square inch of patterned crimson silk material.
(4) A square quarter-inch of silk brocade, yellow and white.
(5) A little piece of green and brown silk material.
(6) In the middle of all this was a folded paper containing a white
stone the size of a pea.
The writer put all these objects in separate pieces of paper, except
No. (6), which he left in its old paper. When he brought them to
Catherine Emmerich, who did not seem to be in a visionary state, she
coughed and complained of violent pains, but then said: What are those
letters you have? They are shining: what treasures we possess, more
valuable than a kingdom.' She then took the closed letters (the
contents of which it was impossible for her to know) one by one,
weighing each in her hand. She was silent for a few moments, as though
looking within herself, and, as she handed each back, gave the
following information about their contents without making a single
mistake (for the writer tested what she said by at once opening the
letters, which were all exactly alike, as she handed them back).
(1) This comes from a coat of Mensor's; it is of very fine wool. It had
armholes and no sleeves. A piece of stuff hung from the shoulder to the
elbow like the half of a slit-up sleeve. She then exactly described the
shape, material, and color of the relic.
(2) This is from a cloak left behind by the kings. She again described
the nature of the relic.
(3) This is a piece of a covering of thick red silk which was spread
out on the floor of the Holy Sepulcher when the Christians were still
in possession of Jerusalem. When the Turks conquered the city, this
silk was still as good as new. It was cut into pieces when the knights
divided everything, and each one received a piece as a remembrance.
(4) This is from the stole of a very holy priest named Alexius. I think
he was a Capuchin, and he was always praying at the Holy Sepulcher. The
Turks mishandled him grievously. They stabled their horses in the
church, and made an old Turkish woman go and stand before the Holy
Sepulcher where he was praying. He paid no attention and went on with
his prayers. Finally they walled him up there, and made the old woman
give him bread and water through an opening. I remember this much from
a great deal that I saw lately when I saw the little bundle and its
contents without knowing for certain where they were.
(5) This is not a holy relic, but is worthy of respect. It is taken
from the seats and benches on which the princes and knights sat in a
circle in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. This, like the red silk,
was divided up amongst them.
(6) In this is a little stone from the chapel above the Holy Sepulcher,
and also the little splinter of the bone of Silvanus, the disciple of
When the writer said that there was no bone-splinter in it, she said Go
and look'. He went at once into the next room to the light, opened the
folded-up paper carefully, and found in a fold of it a fine white
splinter of bone, of the thickness of a finger-nail, irregular in shape
and the size of a sixpenny piece, exactly as she had described it. She
recognized it at once. All this happened in the evening in the darkness
of her room. The light was burning in the ante-room.