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

2. ST. ANNE'S HOUSE IN NAZARETH. PREPARING FOR CHRIST'S BIRTH.




[Sunday, November 11 ^th, 1821:] For several days in succession I have seen the Blessed Virgin with her mother Anna, whose house is about an hour's journey away from Nazareth in the valley of Zabulon. The only woman remaining in the Blessed Virgin's house at Nazareth is Anna's maidservant, who looks after St. Joseph while Mary is with Anna. In fact, as long as Anna was alive they had no completely separate household, but always received their provisions from her. For several weeks already I have seen the Blessed Virgin busy with preparations for the Birth of Christ. She is sewing and knitting coverlets, cloths, and swaddling-bands. There is more than enough of everything.

Joachim is no longer alive; I see another man in the house. Anna has married again. Her second husband was employed in the Temple in connection with the beasts for sacrifice. I saw Anna sending him out food when he was with the flocks and herds; there were little loaves and fishes in a leathern wallet with several divisions in it. There is a rather tall little girl, about seven years old, in the house, who helps the Blessed Virgin and is taught by her. I think she might be a daughter of Mary Cleophas. Her name was Mary, too. Joseph is not at Nazareth, but must soon be coming, for he is on his way back from Jerusalem, where he has taken beasts for sacrifice.

I saw the Blessed Virgin in the house. She was far advanced in pregnancy, and sat in a room working with several other women. They were preparing coverlets and other things for Mary's confinement. Anna, who possessed pastures with flocks and herds, was well-to-do. She supplied the Blessed Virgin with plenty of everything that it was customary for a person in her rank of life to have. As she thought that Mary would be in her (Anna's) house for the birth of her child, and that all her relations would come to visit her there, she made all the preparations in a very lavish manner, with specially beautiful coverlets and rugs. I saw a coverlet of the kind that was in Elizabeth's house when John was born. It was embroidered with all kinds of texts and emblems, and had a kind of inner lining sewn into it in which the mother could wrap herself. She could fasten this lining round her with tapes and buttons, and be as it were in a little boat or like a baby in its swaddling-bands. She could recline comfortably in it, supported by cushions, when visited by friends, and the latter sat round her on the edge of the coverlet. All these things, as well as many swaddling-bands for the child itself, were prepared in Anna's house. I saw gold and silver threads being used. Not all the coverlets and other things were for Mary's own use; much was intended as presents for the poor, who were always remembered on happy occasions of this kind. I saw the Blessed Virgin and other women sitting on the floor round a big chest, knitting and working at a big coverlet lying in the chest between them. They used two little sticks on which colored threads were wound. Anna was very busy; she went here and there fetching and distributing wool and apportioning their tasks to her maidservants.











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