February 9 is the feast day for Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, beatified in 2004 by Pope John Paul II. She was born in 1774 in Germany and died in 1824. After 9 years in a convent, she became bedridden and received numerous visions, private revelations, and the mystical gift of the stigmata. A poet known as Carlos Brentano wrote two books based upon his notes of her visions, the veracity of which have been called into question. In her cause for beatification, the books were considered secondary to the basis for her declaration as a blessed, which was her “personal piety.”
During the life of Bl. Anne, the city of Ephesus in Turkey had not yet been excavated. But she described the house of Our Lady and its location in The Life of the Virgin Mary, and her visions were used to discover the house, where the Blessed Mother lived until the Assumption, located on a hill near Ephesus, as described in the book Mary’s House:
In 1881, a French priest, the Abbé Julien Gouyet used Emmerich’s book to search for the house in Ephesus and found it based on the descriptions. He was not taken seriously at first, but sister Marie de Mandat-Grancey persisted until two other priests followed the same path and confirmed the finding.
The Holy See has taken no official position on the authenticity of the location yet, but in 1896 Pope Leo XIIIvisited it and in 1951 Pope Pius XII initially declared the house a Holy Place. Pope John XXIII later made the declaration permanent. Pope Paul VI in 1967, Pope John Paul II in 1979 and Pope Benedict XVI in 2006 visited the house and treated it as a shrine.
Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich, ora pro nobis.