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

10. THE SHEPHERDS ASSIST ST. JOSEPH. ESSENE WOMEN RENDER SERVICE TO THE BLESSED VIRGIN.




[November 26 ^th:] Today I saw the three shepherds taking it in turns to help St. Joseph to arrange things more comfortably in the cave, round about it and in the side caves. I also saw several devout women with the Blessed Virgin, assisting her in various ways. These women were Essenes, and lived not far from the cave, as you went round to the east of the hill. They lived near each other in the deep part of the valley, in little chambers high up in the rock at a place where the hill had broken away. They had small gardens beside their dwellings and gave lessons to children belonging to their sect. St. Joseph had asked them to come; he knew this community since his childhood, for when as a boy he bid himself from his brothers in the Cave of the Nativity, he sometimes visited these pious women in their rock-dwellings. They took it in turns to come to the Blessed Virgin, bringing her bundles of wood and other small necessities, and cooking and washing for the Holy Family.











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