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

3. FROM MARY'S RETURN HOME TO THE ANNUNCIATION.




[Catherine Emmerich always had these visions of the story of the Holy Family on the days appointed by the Church for their celebration; nevertheless, the date on which she saw some of these events sometimes differed from the ecclesiastical feast days. For instance, she saw the real historical date of the birth of Christ a whole month earlier, on November 25 ^th, which according to her visions coincided with the tenth day of the month Kislev in that year. Fifteen days later she saw Joseph keeping for several days the Feast of the Dedication of the Temple, or the Feast of Lights (which began on the 25 ^th day of the month Kislev) by burning lights in the cave of the Crib. From this it follows that she saw the Feast of the Annunciation also a month earlier, i.e. on February 25 ^th. It was in the year 1821 that Catherine Emmerich first gave an account of this event. She was seriously ill at that time, and her statement was therefore somewhat fragmentary to begin with.

[She had stated earlier that Joseph did not go to Nazareth immediately after the wedding, but had journeyed to Bethlehem to arrange certain family affairs. Anna and her second husband and the Blessed Virgin with some of her playmates went back to Galilee to Anna's home, which was about an hour's distance from Nazareth. Anna arranged for the Holy Family the little house in Nazareth, which also belonged to her, the Blessed Virgin still living with her in the meantime during Joseph's absence. Before communicating her vision of the Annunciation, Catherine Emmerich recounted two fragments of earlier visions, whose significance we can only conjecture. Some time after the marriage of the Blessed Virgin to Joseph she recounted, still in a very weak state after a serious illness:]

I had sight of a festival in Anna's house. I noticed her second husband, some six guests besides the ordinary household, and some children collected with Joseph and Mary round a table on which stood goblets. The Blessed Virgin was wearing a colored cloak, woven with red, blue, and white flowers like ancient chasubles. She had a transparent veil and over it a black one. This festival seemed to be a continuation of the wedding festival.

[She related no more about this, and one may suppose that it was the meal taken when the Blessed Virgin left her mother after Joseph's arrival and moved into the house in Nazareth with him. Next day she related:] Last night in my vision I was looking for the Blessed Virgin, and my guide brought me into the house of her mother Anna, which I recognized in all its details. I no longer found Joseph and Mary there. I saw Anna preparing to go to the near-by Nazareth, where the Holy Family now lived. She had a bundle under her arm to take to Mary. She went over a plain and through a thicket to Nazareth, which lies in front of a hill. I went there, too. Joseph's house was not far from the gate; it was not so large as Anna's house. A quadrangular fountain to which several steps led down was near by, and there was a small square court before the house. I saw Anna visiting the Blessed Virgin and giving her what she had brought. I saw, too, that Mary shed many tears and accompanied her mother, when she returned home, for part of the way. I noticed St. Joseph in the front part of the house in a separate room.











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