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The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary
by Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich

6. PREPARATIONS FOR THE DEPARTURE OF THE HOLY FAMILY.




[December 28 ^th to 30 ^th:] In the last few days and again today I have seen St. Joseph making various preparations for the approaching departure of the Holy Family from Bethlehem. He got rid every day of some of his household belongings. He is giving the shepherds all the light wicker screens and other contrivances for making the cave comfortable, and they are taking them all away. This afternoon there were again many people at the cave on their way to Bethlehem for the Sabbath, but finding it forsaken they soon went on. Anna is going back to Nazareth after the Sabbath. Today they are arranging and packing up everything. Anna is taking with her on two donkeys many of the gifts of the three holy kings, especially carpets, coverings, and stuffs. They kept the Sabbath this evening in Maraha's grave, and continued keeping it the next day (Saturday), when all was quiet in the neighborhood.

[Saturday, December 29 ^th:] When the Sabbath was ended, all preparations were made for the departure for Nazareth of Anna and Eliud and their servants. Once, and again tonight for the second time, I saw the Blessed Virgin carry the Infant Jesus in the dark from the grave of Maraha into the Cave of the Nativity. She laid Him on a carpet at the place of His birth and knelt down in prayer beside Him. I saw the whole cave full of heavenly light as at the moment when Our Lord was born. I think that the dear Mother of God must have seen that, too.

[Sunday, December 30 ^th:] At early dawn I saw Anna, with her husband and servants, start for Nazareth after taking a tender farewell of the Holy Family and the three old shepherds. Anna's maidservant went with them, and I was again astonished by her strange cap, which was almost like a cuckoo-basket', the name given by our peasant children at home to a pointed cap they plait from reeds in their games. (The reason why I thought for some time that Anna's husband and maidservant were people from the inn outside Jerusalem may have been that I had seen them spending the night in that inn and conversing with its owners.) They took all that still remained of the kings' gifts and packed them on their beasts. While they were doing this, I was very much astonished to see them taking with them a package belonging to me. I felt that it was there, and could not at all make out what had induced Anna to take my property away with her.











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