Reflections from the Saints: Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich on the Church

Anna Katharina Emmerich

“If the Church is true, all in her is true; he who admits not the one, believes not the other.”

– Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich

This quote from Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich reminds me of Jesus’ words to the Apostles concerning the authority He was leaving them:

“He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

Luke (RSV) 10:16

Now consider these very words in their proper context in light of Who Jesus Christ is:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”

John (RSV) 5:24

So what does Bl. Anne Catherine’s words say to us concerning the Church, her authority and her authenticity? Basically, Bl, Anne Catherine is reiterating the word of Jesus Who Himself tells us that it is His Church and those He left as stewards of her, namely the bishops (especially Peter, cf. Matthew 16:18-19) are to be the ordinary means of understanding what God revealed to us through His Word as found in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition.

It is interesting to note that much of the artistic substance from Mel Gibson’s film The Passion of the Christ, came from the famous work, The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to the Meditations of Anne Catherine Emmerich

Here is a little on Bl. Anne Catherine:



Born to poor but pious peasants. She was a very pious child who suffered with poor health, but who received visions and prophesies; they were so common that she thought all children could see the Child Jesus and the souls in Purgatory. She was able to diagnose illness and recommend cures, and to see a person’s sins.

She worked on her family’s and other area farms, as a seamstress, and as a servant to a poor organist where she studied the instrument. Entered the Augustinian convent at Agnetenberg, Dulmen, Germany in 1802. Though her health was poor, her enthusiasm for the religious lifewas great, and she either energized her sisters, or put them off badly. Given to going into religious ecstacies in church, her cell, or while working.

The convent was closed by government order in 1812, and Anne moved in with a poor widow. Her health failed, and instead of working as aservant, in 1813 she became a patient. Her visions and prophesies increased, and later that year she received the stigmata with wounds on her hands and feet, her head from thecrown of thorns, and crosses on her chest, and the gift of inedia, living off nothing but
 Holy Communion for the rest of her life. She tried to hide the wounds, but word leaked out, and her vicar-general instituted a lengthy and detailed investigation; it was determined to be genuine.

In 1818 she was relieved of the stigmata. In 1819 the government opened their own investigation. She was imprisoned, threatened, cajoled, and kept under 24-hour-a-day surveillance. The commission found no evidence either way, could not get Anne to change her story, eventually gave up, and failed to publish their findings. When they were forced to report, they declared the incident a fraud, but could not explain why they thought so, or why they had not published their findings.

The poet Klemens Brentano visited Anne. She announced that she had seen Brentano in a vision, and that he was to make a written record of the revelations that she received. He made notes of the messages, translating from Anne’s Westphalian dialect to common German, getting Anne to confirm his version. In 1833 these were published as The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to the Meditations of Anne Catherine Emmerich. This was followed in 1852 by The Life of The Blessed Virgin Mary, and a three-volume Life of Our Lord from 1858 to 1880. While many such revelatory works deal with spirituality and ideas, these are very much straight-forward narratives and descriptions of events, yet have been the source of encouragement for many.

Her Cause for Canonization formally introduced on 14 November 1892. Due to accusations about her vow of chastity, the investigation was halted on 30 November 1928. However, the accusations were proven false, and the investigation resumed on 18 May 1973.






  • if you have information relevant to the canonization of Blessed Anne, contact
    Dr. Andrea Ambrosi
    Emmerick-Bund e. V.
    An der Kreuzkirche 10
    48249 Dülmen, GERMANY


Additional Information


The Church is the only one, the Roman Catholic! And if there were left upon earth but one Catholic, he would be the one, universal Church, the Catholic Church, the Church of Jesus Christ against which the gates of Hell shall never prevail. – Blessed Anne

If the Church is true, all in her is true; he who admits not the one, believes not the other. – Blessed Anne

Blessed Anna Katharina Emmerick showed and experienced in her own flesh “the bitter passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ.” The fact that, from being the daughter of poor peasants, who constantly sought closeness to God, she became the famous “mystic of Muenster” is a work of divine grace. Her material poverty is contrasted with her rich interior life. As much as by her patience to endure her physical weaknesses, we are impressed by the strength of character of the new blessed and her firmness in the faith. She received this strength from the Holy Eucharist. In this way, her example opened the hearts of poor and rich men, educated and humble people, to complete loving passion toward Jesus Christ. Still today she communicates to all the salvific message: “By his wounds you have been healed” (see 1 Peter 2:24). – Pope John Paul II, homily at the beatification of Blessed Anne, 3 October 2004

via » Blog Archive » Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich.


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