Saint of the Day ~ February 9

BLESSED ANNE CATHERINE EMMERICH (1774-1824), virgin and mystic

Today, the Church honors Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, an Augustinian religious sister who was also a mystic, stigmatist, visionary and prophet. Yet, with all that she experienced in life, she never lost sight of the virtues of humility and poverty of spirit.

Anna Katharina Emmerick (or Anne Catherine Emmerich in English) was born on September 8, 1774 at Flamske, Westphalia in West Germany to a small farming family. Her parents, Bernard Emmerich and Anne Hiller, were poor peasants, but very devout and pious. In November 1803, Anne joined the convent of Agnetenberg at Dulmen, Westphalia, as an Augustinian nun.

During her life, she experienced the mystical phenomenon of the stigmata, the wounds of Christ, which, after a five-month study ordered by her bishop, were judged by a panel of physicians and clergy to be authentic. In addition she had mystical visions, the contents of which came to be written down by Clemens Brentano, a man who served as her secretary.

From the moment she received the Sacred Wounds until her death, Sister Anne Catherine took no solid food, existing only on the Sacred Host. In fact, when she would try to eat or drink anything else, including broth, she would have a severe reaction and vomit violently. She was, however, able to consume the Holy Eucharist and her diet consisted only of the Sacred Body and Blood of Jesus Christ!

It was during the last five years of her life that she began to dictate the history of her visions, which have become a treasury for many of the faithful. Among the most famous of her writings is the The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

She was once quoted as saying, “Man’s value before God is judged by the dispositions of his heart, its uprightness, its good-will, its charity, and not by keenness of intellect or extent of knowledge.”

Sister Anne Catherine died from natural causes on February 9, 1824. She was beatified with the title “Blessed” on October 3, 2004 by Pope St. John Paul II.

We commemorate her feastday on February 9.

(From catholic.org/saints, mysticsofthechurch.com, ewtn.com, newadvent.org and jesus-passion.com)

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PRAYER

(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Commons for Holy Women ~ religious)

“Lord God, You kept Blessed Anne Catherine faithful to Christ’s pattern of poverty and humility. May her prayers help us to live in fidelity to our calling and bring us to the perfection You have shown us in Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

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