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

22. HELIOPOLIS, ON. JOSEPH BUILDS A PLACE FOR JEWISH PRAYER.




I again saw the Holy Family in Heliopolis. They were still living near the heathen temple under the vaulting of the massive walls. Not far off Joseph built a place of prayer in which the Jews living in the city assembled together with the Holy Family. Before this they had had no meeting-place for prayer. The room had a lightly built dome above it, which they could open so as to be under the open sky. In the middle of the room stood a sacrificial table or altar, covered with white and red, and having scrolls upon it. The priest or teacher was a very old man. The men and women were not so strictly separated at their prayers as in the Promised Land: the men stood on one side and the women on the other. I had a sight of the Blessed Virgin visiting this place of prayer with the Infant Jesus for the first time. She sat on the ground leaning on one arm; the Child was sitting before her in a little sky-blue dress, and she put His hands together on His breast. Joseph stood behind her, as he always does here, though the other men and women stand and sit in separate groups on each side of the room. I was often shown how the little Jesus was already growing bigger, and how He was often visited by other children. He could already speak and run quite well; He was much with Joseph, and I think went with him when he worked away from home. He wore a little dress like a shirt, knitted or woven in one piece. Some of the idols fell down in the temple near which they lived, just as the statue near the gate had collapsed on their entry into the city; many people said that this was a sign of the wrath of the gods against the Holy Family, and in consequence they suffered various persecutions.











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