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Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerick –Gabriel von Max, 1885Wikimedia Commons

Editor’s note: This article was first published in German at Communio Veritatis and is reprinted in English below with permission.

(LifeSiteNews) — 2024 has three special connections with Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich. The famous German nun was born 250 years ago in Coesfeld, on September 8, 1774, and the completion of her earthly life in Dülmen, Westphalia, was recently marked on February 9, the 200th anniversary of her death. Two decades ago, she was finally beatified by Pope John Paul II, who emphasized in his sermon on October 3, 2004, that the well-known mystic had seen and experienced in the flesh “the bitter suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ.”[1]

The Augustinian nun actually received the stigmata of the Lord after her time in the Agnetenberg convent, which was dissolved in 1811 in the course of secularization. She was housed in the parish residence in Dülmen, where she had a significant encounter with the renowned writer Clemens Brentano. He then visited her every day for five years to write down her visions, which he later published.[2] The main work, entitled The Bitter Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, describes in detail the events of salvation and the death of the Saviour. The recorded visions of the blessed served Mel Gibson as the source for his great film The Passion of the Christ.

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However, the stigmatized Anne Catherina Emmerich was not only shown the sufferings of the Lord 2,000 years ago, but also those of His Mystical Body today. In her visions, she received numerous images and prophecies about the future of the Church. She described very clearly the diabolical attack by Freemasonry – from without and from within:

The state of the whole Church was shown to her, as always in such visions, in the image of St. Peter’s Church, and the secret sect branching out over the whole world in an uninterrupted war of destruction against it as the kingdom of the Antichrist. The sect receives its signature from the apocalyptic beast which, having risen from the sea, dwells with it and drives it to fight against the flock of Christ.

The mystic recognized that the goal of the enemy was infiltration and destruction. She saw “the people of the secret sect constantly breaking down the great church” and saw the abominable beast among them. “It often lay among them while they worked; they also went to it in the cave where it sometimes hid. During this time, I saw many good, pious people and especially clergymen being tortured, imprisoned and oppressed here and there throughout the world, and I had the feeling that they would one day become new martyrs.” The hostile plan led to the “abortionists entering the church with the beast.”[3]

A vision that the stigmatized nun received about the head of the Church’s hierarchy is certainly of particular significance. She was given an “image of two churches and two popes.” Emmerich saw how “another dark church came into being in Rome” – without an altar or sanctuary. In it, “everyone […] pulled another idol out of his chest and placed it in front of him and worshipped it.” The consequence was “that all these idols filled the whole room and that the church […] was completely full of idols.” She then saw them crawl back into each one. “But the whole house was dark and black, and everything that happened in it was darkness and gloom.”

The mystic described the juxtaposition of the two churches very clearly: “Now I was also shown the comparison between that pope and this one and between that temple and this one.” She was “told and shown how weak in number and support” the one was, “but how strong in will, having overthrown so many gods.” However, she looked upon the other with great devotion, whereby “he had the only true God and the only true devotion dissolved into so many gods and false devotions” by allowing the false temple. This led to “a thousand idols” being worshipped, but no place was given to the Lord.[4]

The false church was given an unmistakable name in the description:

I also saw how very bad the consequences of this after-church would be. I saw it grow, I saw many heretics of all ranks move into the city. […] I had the image again of how St. Peter’s Church would be systematically demolished by the secret sect and also demolished by storms.[5]

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Emmerich saw the diabolical imprint of the after church in a shocking dimension:

This church is full of feces, nothingness, flatness and night. […] It is all hollow conceit. The walls are steep, it is emptiness. A chair is an altar. On a table is a skull, covered, between the lights. Sometimes it is uncovered; in their consecrations they need mere swords. It is all evil through and through, the community of the unholy. I cannot tell you how abominable, corrupt and vain all their activities are, which many of them do not even know. They want to become a body in something other than the Lord.

The mystic recognized this downward spiral to the last consequence, emphasizing that what was dangerous about the agenda was the “apparent innocence” and the harmlessness displayed in order to conceal malice, error, lies, and hypocrisy.

There arose a body, a community apart from the body of Jesus, the Church, an after-church without salvation, whose secret is to have no secret, and therefore its activity is everywhere temporal, finite, arrogant, self-indulgent and thus corrupt and […] leading to disaster.[6]

The chosen nun was shown how far the devastation of the church would go: “It was only the floor and the back, the rest was all broken off by the secret sect and the church ministers themselves.”

The Blessed Emmerich saw the “Twelve,” whom she recognised as the “new apostles.” “They carried the church to another place, and it was as if several palaces sank down before them like fields of grain.”

Emmerich was deeply affected by the extent of the devastation: “When I saw St. Peter’s church in its demolished state and how so many clergymen were also working on the work of destruction, without any of them wanting to do it publicly before the others, I was so saddened that I cried out vehemently to Jesus to have mercy on me.” The Lord gave her the answer to her plea:

And I saw my heavenly Bridegroom before me, like a young man, and He spoke with me at length. He also said that this carrying away of the Church meant that it would apparently sink completely, but that it would rest on these bearers and emerge from them again; even if only one Catholic remained, the Church could triumph again, for it was not founded in the minds and counsels of men. He now showed me how there was never a lack of people praying and suffering for the Church. He showed me all that He had suffered for the Church, and how He had given strength to the merits and labours of the martyrs, and how He would suffer everything again if He could still suffer. He also showed me in countless pictures all the miserable goings-on of the Christians and clergy in ever wider and wider circles through the whole world to my homeland and admonished me to persevere in prayer and suffering. It was an indescribably great, sad picture that is impossible to express. It was also shown to me that there were almost no older Christians left.[7]

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However, in her greatest misery, Anne Catherine Emmerich saw the approach of salvation. She saw “a great, shining cross in heaven, on which hung the Saviour, from whose wounds shining clusters of rays spread over the world. […] The church was completely illuminated by it, and through this radiance I saw most souls enter into the Lord.”

The blessed nun recognized the prominent position of the Blessed Mother in the Redeemer’s plan of salvation:

I also saw a red, luminous heart hovering in the sky, from which a white ray led into the side wound, and from which another ray spread over the Church and many regions; and these rays drew in many souls, which entered the side of Jesus through the heart and the ray of light. I was told that this heart was Mary.[8]

Thus, the victory at the end of the apocalyptic battle is accompanied by an extraordinary intervention of the Blessed Virgin and Heavenly Queen. The mystic saw the “majestic woman walking across the large square in front of the church. She had clasped her wide cloak on both arms and floated silently upwards. She stood on the dome and spread her cloak wide over the entire space of the church, which shone like gold.”[9]

Anne Catherine Emmerich was clearly shown the immense dimension of the triumph, for she “saw everything becoming new and a church being built up to heaven.”[10]


[1] Vgl. Papst Johannes Paul II., Predigt zur Seligsprechung am 3. Oktober 2004.
[2] Vgl. Biographie „Anna Katharina Emmerich (1774–1824)“, in: www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/saints/ns_lit_doc_20041003_emmerick_ge.html; abgerufen am 17. Mai 2024.
[3] P. Karl Erhard Schmöger CSsR, Das Leben der gottseligen Anna Katharina Emmerich, 2. Band, Freiburg im Breisgau 1870, S. 501–502.
Bischof Peter Joseph Blum (Limburg) erteilte „nach vorgängiger Prüfung gerne die erbetene bischöfliche Approbation“ (ebd., S. II).
[4] Ebd., S. 490.492–493.
[5] Ebd., S. 493–494.
[6] Ebd., S. 79–80.
[7] Ebd., S. 511.
[8] Ebd., S. 178.
[9] Ebd., S. 176–177.
[10] Ebd., S. 494.