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

3. THE ARRIVAL OF THE HOLY FAMILY AT ST. ANNE'S HOUSE.




In the evening I saw the Holy Family arrive at Anna's house, which is about half an hour's distance from Nazareth in the direction of the valley of Zabulon. There was a little family' festival like the one when Mary left home for the Temple. A lamp was burning above the table. Joachim was dead, and I saw Anna's second husband as master of the house. Anna's eldest daughter, Mary Heli, was there on a visit. The donkey was unloaded, for Mary meant to stay here for some time. All were full of joy over the Infant Jesus, but it was a tranquil inner joy; I never saw any of these people giving way to very violent emotions. Some aged priests were there, and all present partook of a light meal. The women ate separately from the men, as is always the custom at meals.

I saw the Holy Family still in Anna's house a few days later. There are several women there, Mary Heli, Anna's eldest daughter, with her child Mary Cleophas, a woman from Elizabeth's home, and the maidservant who was with Mary in Bethlehem. This maidservant did not wish to marry again after the death of her husband, who had not been a good man, and came to Elizabeth at Juttah, where the Blessed Virgin made her acquaintance when she visited Elizabeth before John's birth. From here this widow came to Anna. Today I saw Joseph in Anna's house packing many things on donkeys and going in front of the donkeys (of which there were two or three) towards Nazareth, accompanied by the maid.

I cannot remember the details of all that I saw today in Anna's house, but I must have had a very vivid impression of it all, for while I was there I was in an intense activity of prayer, which is now hardly comprehensible to me. Before I came to Anna's house I had been in spirit with a young married couple who supported their old mother; they are both mortally ill, and if they do not recover, the mother will perish. I know this poor family, but have had no news of them for a long time. In desperate cases like this I always invoke St. Anne, and when I was in her house today in my vision, I saw, in spite of the season of the year, and though the leaves had all fallen, many pears, plums, and other fruit hanging on the trees in her garden. When I went away I was allowed to pick these, and I took the pears to the young couple who were ill and so cured them. After that I was made to give some to many other poor people, known and unknown to me, who were restored to health by them. No doubt these fruits signified graces obtained through the intercession of St. Anne. I fear that these fruits mean much pain and suffering for me, which always comes after visions in which I pick fruit in the gardens of the saints--this has always to be paid for. Perhaps these souls are under the protection of St. Anne, and are thus entitled to fruit from the garden; or perhaps it happened because, as I have always recognized, she is a patroness in desperate cases.











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