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

2.5 A REPRESENTATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN IN EGYPT.




In Egypt I saw the message of salvation being announced in the following manner. I saw that by God's command Elijah sent messages to summon devout families scattered about in three regions to the east, north, and south. For this purpose he sent forth three of the sons of the prophets, but only after asking a sign from God that he had decided rightly, for it was a difficult and dangerous mission, and he had to choose messengers whose prudence would lessen the danger of their being murdered. One traveled northwards, one eastwards, and the third southwards. This last one had to pass through a considerable part of Egyptian territory, where the Israelites were in particular danger of being killed. This messenger took the way followed by the Holy Family on their flight into Egypt. I think, too, that he passed near On, where the Child Jesus took refuge. I saw him come to an idolatrous temple on a great plain; in this temple, which was surrounded by a meadow and by many other buildings, they adored a living bull. They had an image of a bull and many other idols in their temple; their sacrifices were gruesome and they slaughtered deformed children. They seized the son of the prophet and brought him before the priests. Fortunately, the latter were very inquisitive; otherwise, they might easily have murdered him. They questioned him as to whence he came and what brought him there, and he answered without hesitation, telling them how a virgin would be born from whom the salvation of the world was to come, and that then all their idols would fall in pieces. [38]

They were amazed at his announcement, seemed greatly moved thereby, and let him go unharmed. I saw them taking counsel together thereafter, and having the image of a virgin constructed and fixed in the middle of the temple roof. This image [See Figure 4], represented as floating downwards at full length, had a headdress like the idols, so many of which lie in rows there, half like a woman, half like a lion. On the top of the head was something like a little high vessel or bushel of fruit; the elbows were close to the body, while the forearms were held out in a gesture as it were of withdrawal and repulse. In her hands were ears of corn. She had three breasts; a large one in the middle, with two smaller ones on each side of it but lower down. The lower part of the body was clothed in a long dress, and from the feet, which were comparatively small and pointed, hung tassels or something of the sort. She had as it were wings on her arms both above and below the elbows; these wings seemed to be made of delicate feathers spreading out on each side like rays and intertwined with each other. Feathers ran crosswise down both thighs and over the middle of the body to the feet. The dress had no folds. They venerated this image and sacrificed to it, begging it not to destroy their God Apis and their other gods. At the same time they continued their gruesome idolatry as before, except that they always began by invoking this virgin. In making this image they had, I believe, followed the indications given them by the son of the prophet in his account of the vision which Elijah had seen.

Figure 4. Egyptian idol of the blessed virgin Mary constructed after receiving Elijah's prophesy. [39]











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