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

6. THE HOLY VIRGIN MAKES THE WAY OF THE CROSS FOR THE LAST TIME.




[August 7, 1821:] Last night and the night before I had much to do with the Mother of God at Ephesus. I followed her Way of the Cross with her and some five other holy women. The niece of Anna the prophetess was there, and also Elizabeth's niece, the widow Mara. The Blessed Virgin went in front of them all. I saw that she was weak; her face was quite white and as though transparent. Her appearance was indescribably moving. It seemed to me as if I were following her here for the last time. While she was making the Stations, John, Peter, and Thaddeus were I think, already in her house. I saw the Blessed Virgin as very full of years, but no sign of old age appeared in her except a consuming yearning by which she was as it were transfigured. There was an indescribable solemnity about her. I never saw her laugh, though she had a beautiful smile. As she grew older, her face became ever paler and more transparent. She was very thin, but I saw no wrinkles; there was no sign whatever in her of any withering or decay. She was living in the spirit, as it were.

The reason why I saw the Blessed Virgin with such particular clearness in this vision may be my possession of a little relic of a garment which she wore on this occasion. I will endeavor to describe the garment as clearly as I can. [Please refer to Figure 23.] It was an over-garment. It completely covered only the back, where it fell to the feet in a few long folds. At the neck it was crossed over the breast and shoulders, and was held on one shoulder by a button, making a kind of scarf. It was fastened round the waist by a girdle and fell from under her arms to the feet on each side of the brown undergarment. Below the girdle it was folded back to show the lining, which had red and yellow stripes running down and across it. The little piece in my possession comes from the right-hand side of this fold, but not from the lining. It was a festival garment, worn in this way according to old Jewish custom. The Blessed Virgin's mother wore one, too. This garment covered only the back of the brown undergarment, leaving the bodice and whole front of the latter visible. The sleeves, which were full, showed only from the elbows downwards. The Blessed Virgin's hair was hidden in the yellowish cap which she wore; this was stretched rather tightly across her forehead and drawn together in folds on the back of her head. Over it she wore a soft black veil which hung down to her waist. I saw her wearing this dress at the wedding of Cana. In the third year of Jesus' ministry, when Our Lord was healing the sick and teaching beyond the Jordan at Bethabara (also called Bethania), I saw the Blessed Virgin wearing this dress in Jerusalem, where she was living in a beautiful house near the house of Nicodemus, who, I think, owned that house also. Again at Our Lord's crucifixion I saw her wearing this garment, completely hidden under her praying and mourning cloak. No doubt she wore this ceremonial dress here at the Way of the Cross in Ephesus in memory of having worn it during Jesus' sufferings on His way to Calvary.

[The morning of August 9 ^th, 1821:] I came into Mary's house, some three hours' journey from Ephesus. I saw her lying on a low, very narrow couch in her little sleeping-alcove all hung with white, in the room behind and to the right of the hearth-place. Her head rested on a round cushion. She was very weak and pale, and seemed as though completely consumed with yearning. Her head and whole figure were wrapped in a long cloth; she was covered by a brown woolen blanket. I saw several women (five, I think) going into her room one after the other, and coming out again as though they were saying farewell to her. As they came out they made affecting gestures of prayer or grief. I again noticed amongst them Anna the niece of the prophetess, and Mara, Elizabeth's niece, whom I had seen at the Stations of the Cross. I now saw six of the Apostles already gathered here--Peter, Andrew, John, Thaddeus, Bartholomew, and Matthias--and also one of the seven deacons, Nicanor, who was always so helpful and anxious to be of service. I saw the Apostles standing in prayer together on the right-hand side of the front part of the house, where they had arranged an oratory.

Figure 23. Mary in her ceremonial dress.











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