The Visions of Blessed Anne Catherine
Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich describes the meeting of the parents of the Virgin Mary, Saint Joachim and Saint Ann, in an underground passageway of the Temple of Jerusalem.
“After passing through about a third of the passage Joachim came to a place in the midst of which stood a pillar in the form of a palm-tree with hanging leaves and fruits. Here he was met by Anna, radiant with happiness. They embraced each other with holy joy, and each told the other their good tidings. They were in a state of ecstasy and enveloped in a cloud of light. I saw this light issuing from a great host of angels, who were carrying the appearance of a high shining tower and hovering above the heads of Anna and Joachim. . . . I saw that this tower seemed to disappear between Anna and Joachim, who were enveloped in a glory of brightness. I understood, that as a result of the grace here given, the conception of Mary was as pure as all conceptions would have been but for the Fall. I had at the same time an indescribable vision. The heavens opened above them, and I saw the joy of the Holy Trinity and of the angels, and their participation in the mysterious blessing here bestowed on Mary’s parents. Anna and Joachim returned, praising God . . . .” [2
Blessed Anne Catherine describes the Immaculate Conception as occurring miraculously. Joachim and Ann were in a state of holy ecstasy and were encompassed by a cloud of light from Heaven. There was a great number of holy angels present. The appearance of a tower was a symbolic representation of the Virgin Mary. [3
] Saint Ann and Saint Joachim were surrounded by a glory of brightness from God. The Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary occurred solely and entirely by a miracle of God and not in the usual way, for the embrace of Saint Ann and Saint Joachim was a holy embrace, completely chaste and pure.
“The tower vanished between Joachim and Anne, both of whom were encompassed by brilliant light and glory. At the same moment the heavens above them opened, and I saw the joy of the Most Holy Trinity and of the angels over the Conception of Mary. Both Joachim and Anne were in a supernatural state. I learned that, at the moment in which they embraced and the light shone around them, the Immaculate Conception of Mary was accomplished.” [4
Saint Joachim and Saint Ann met in a passageway under the consecrated part of the Temple of Jerusalem, at the very foundation of the Temple. [5
] At that time and in that place, solely by means of a miracle of God, the Virgin Mary was conceived in the womb of her mother, Saint Ann. The joy of the Holy Trinity and of the angels was in the Immaculate Virgin Conception of the Virgin Mary. Based on her visions from God, Blessed Anne Catherine describes the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary as a Virgin Conception. [6
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] From the inscription on the miraculous medal. Our Lady showed the Medal to Saint Catherine Laboure on November 27, 1830, in the mother-house of the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, in Paris. Catherine saw our Lady standing on a globe, with dazzling rays of light streaming from her outstretched hands. Framing the figure was an inscription: “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.” Then Mary spoke to Catherine: "Have a medal struck upon this model. Those who wear it will receive great graces, especially if they wear it around the neck." (The Association of the Miraculous Medal; http://www.amm.org/medal.htm).
] Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary, (Rockford, Illinois: TAN Books and Publishers, Inc., 1970), p. 40-41.
] This symbolism is mentioned by Pope Pius IX, in the Apostolic Constitution, Ineffabilis Deus, (Dec. 8, 1854), p. 13. This document makes reference to the Song of Solomon 4:4, with its symbolism of a tower, interpreted as referring to the Virgin Mary. This very same document infallibly defines the teaching of the Church about the Immaculate Conception.
] Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, The Life of Jesus Christ and Biblical Revelations, (Rockford, Illinois: TAN Books and Publishers, Inc., 1986), Vol. 1, p. 137-138.
] Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary, p. 39-40.
] Cf. Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, The Life of Jesus Christ and Biblical Revelations, Vol. 1, p. 135.
by Ronald L. Conte Jr.