Anna Katherine Emmerich was a German visionary and stigmatic who died in 1824. She was gifted with a lifetime of visions concerning the earthly lives of Jesus and Mary, as well as visions of the Catholic Church’s future. Mel Gibson based parts of his film ‘The Passion of the Christ’ on the visions of Anna Emmerich.
Although she had never been to Rome, Emmerich claimed to have gone there many times in the spirit, often with the Blessed Virgin or Jesus as her guide, and she was able to describe it in vivid detail.
“All around me I see a terrible, bloody war, which approaches from Midnight, the North, and Evening, the East. I heard that Lucifer — if I am not wrong, would be let go for a time, fifty or sixty years before the year 2000. I saw the earth covered with darkness, everything was withered and barren, everything made the impression of pining away. It seems that even the waters of the springs were exhausted. I saw how the labor of darkness multiplied among the people, I saw countries and people in the greatest of distress, and fighting each other violently. In the center of the battleground was a giant abyss, into which the warring factions seemed to fall.”
“O who can tell the beauty, the purity, the innocence of Mary! She knows everything, and yet she seems to know nothing, so childlike is she. She lowers her eyes and, when she looks up, her glance penetrates like a ray, like a pure beam of light, like truth itself! It is because she is perfectly innocent, full of God, and without returns upon self. None can resist her grace.”
NOTE: Emmerich often had visitations of the Blessed Virgin and even was granted the grace to witness many parts of Mary’s life on earth.
“Man’s value before God is estimated by the dispositions of his heart, its uprightness, its good-will, its charity, and not by keenness of intellect or extent of knowledge.”
“…The Jews shall return to Palestine, and become Christians toward the end of the world.”
“Last night I had a vision of the Pope. I saw St. Francis carrying the church, and the basilica of St. Peter borne on the shoulders of a little man who had something of the Jew in his countenance. It looked very perilous. Mary stood on the north side of the church with her mantle extended over it. The little man was almost bent double. He is, as yet, a laic. I know who he is. The twelve men whom I always see as the twelve new Apostles ought to have helped him, but they arrive too late; however, just as he was about to fall, they all ran up with myriads of angels to his assistance. It was only the pavement and the back part of the church, for all the rest had been demolished by the secret society helped by the servants of the church themselves. They bore it to another place, and it seems as if rows of palaces fell before it like fields of wheat in harvest time.
“When I saw St. Peter’s in this ruinous state and so many ecclesiastics laboring, though secretly, at its destruction, I was so overcome that I cried earnestly to Jesus for mercy. Then I saw my Heavenly Spouse (Jesus) before me under the form of a youth. He spoke to me for a long time. He told me that this translation of St. Peter’s signified that the Church would apparently fall to total ruin: but that, resting on these supports, she would be raised up again. Even if there should remain but one Catholic Christian, the Church would again triumph since its foundations were not cast in the intellect or councils of men. She had never yet been without members praying and suffering for her. He showed me all that He Himself had endured for her, what efficacy He had bestowed upon the merits and labors of the martyrs and He ended by saying that He would endure it all over again if it were possible for Him again to suffer. He showed me, also, in numberless pictures, the miserable aims of Christians and ecclesiastics throughout the whole world. The vision grew wider, more extended, until it embraced my own country; and then Jesus exhorted me to perseverance in prayer and expiatory suffering. It was an unspeakably great and sorrowful picture. I cannot describe it!”
“I have been on a mission among the Roman catacombs, and I saw the life of a martyr who with many others lived there concealed. He had made numerous conversions. He lived not long after Thecla’s time, but I have forgotten his name. Even when a boy he used to go with holy women to the catacombs and prisons to console tbe poor Christians. He lay concealed a long time in a hermitage, but afterward endured cruel torments, and ended his life with many others by decapitation. He carried his own head from the place of execution, but I do not remember his history very distinctly. I went with the martyr and St. Frances of Rome into one of the catacombs, the ground of which was covered with shining flowers, the blossoms of his own and his companions’ sufferings; for here it was that they had been executed. Conspicuous among them were beautiful white roses, one of which I found all at once sticking in my bosom (the saint’s relic). In several other places I saw flowers, the sufferings of those martyrs whose intercession I had implored for the Church in her present tribulations. As I went through Rome with Frances and the saint, we saw a great palace enveloped in flames (the Vatican).
“I was in dread lest the inmates would be consumed, for no one tried to extinguish the fire; but when we drew near, it suddenly ceased and left the building black and scorched. After passing through numerous magnificent apartments, we reached that of the Pope. We found him sitting in the dark, asleep in a large arm-chair. He was very sick and weak, no longer able to walk, and people were going to and fro before his door. The ecclesiastics most nearly connected with him pleased me not. They appeared to be false and lukewarm, and the simple-minded pious men whom I once saw by him were now removed to a distant part of the palace. I spoke long with the Holy Father, and I cannot express how very real my presence there seemed to be; for I, too, was extremely weak and the people around were constantly obliged to support me. I spoke with the Bishops soon to be appointed, and I again told the Pope that he must not leave Rome, for if he did, all would go to ruin. He thought the evil inevitable and that his personal safety as well as other considerations, would oblige him to go, a measure to which he felt himself strongly inclined and to which also he was advised by his counselors.”
“I saw Rome in such a state that the least spark would inflame it, and Sicily dark, frightful, abandoned by all that could leave it.”
One day while in ecstasy, Emmerich groaned: “I see the Church alone, forsaken by all and around her strife, misery, hatred, treason, resentment, total blindness. I see messengers sent on all sides from a dark central point with messages that issue from their mouths like black vapor, enkindling in the breast of their hearers rage and hatred. I pray earnestly for the oppressed! — On those places in which some souls still pray I see light descending; but on others, pitchy darkness. The situation is terrible! May God have mercy! How much I have prayed! O city! O city, (Rome) with what art thou threatened! The storm approaches—be on thy guard! I trust thou wilt stand firm!”
“Last night I made the Way of the Cross at Coesfeld with a crowd of souls who showed me the distress of the Church and the necessity of prayer. Then I had a vision of many gardens lying around me in a circle, and the Pope’s situation with respect to his Bishops. He sat enthroned in one of these gardens. In the others were the rights and privileges of his Bishops and their sees symbolized by various plants, flowers, and fruits. Their mutual connection, their communication and influence, I saw under the forms of threads, of rays extending from them to the See of Rome. In these earthly gardens, I saw the temporal, spiritual authority, and above them in the air I saw their future Bishops; for instance, I saw above the garden of the stern Superior, a new Bishop with the cross, mitre, and other episcopal insignia, and standing around him Protestants who wished him to enter the garden below, but not on the conditions established by the Holy Father. They tried to insinuate themselves by all sorts of covert means; they destroyed a part of the garden, or sowed bad seed in it. I saw them sometimes here, sometimes there, cultivating the land or letting it lie untilled, tearing up and not clearing away, etc.; all was full of pitfalls and rubbish. I saw them intercepting or turning away the roads that led to the Pope. When they did succeed in getting a Bishop according to their liking, I saw that he had been intruded contrary to the will of the Holy Father; consequently, he possessed no legitimate spiritual authority.— Many such scenes were shown me, and it is for me to pray and suffer! It is very distressing!— I see one who has few claims to holiness about to be installed in the see of a holy deceased Bishop.
“I saw deplorable things: they were gambling, drinking, and talking in church; they were also courting women. All sorts of abominations were perpetrated there. Priests allowed everything and said Mass with much irreverence. I saw that few of them were still godly, and only a few had sound views on things. I also saw Jews standing under the porch of the Church. All these things caused me much distress.”
“The Church is in great danger. We must pray so that the Pope may not leave Rome; countless evils would result if he did. They are now demanding something from him. The Protestant doctrine and that of the schismatic Greeks are to spread everywhere. I now see that in this place (Rome) the (Catholic) Church is being so cleverly undermined, that there hardly remain a hundred or so priests who have not been deceived. They all work for destruction, even the clergy. A great devastation is now near at hand.”
“Among the strangest things that I saw, were long processions of bishops. Their thoughts and utterances were made known to me through images issuing from their mouths. Their faults towards religion were shown by external deformities. A few had only a body, with a dark cloud of fog instead of a head. Others had only a head, their bodies and hearts were like thick vapors. Some were lame, others were paralytics; others were asleep or staggering.
“I saw what I believe to be nearly all the bishops of the world, but only a small number were perfectly sound. I also saw the Holy Father —- God-fearing and prayerful. Nothing left to be desired in his appearance, but he was weakened by old age and by much suffering. His head was lolling from side to side, and it dropped onto his chest as if he were falling asleep. He often fainted and seemed to be dying. But when he was praying, he was often comforted by apparitions from Heaven. Then, his head was erect, but as soon as it dropped again onto his chest, I saw a number of people looking quickly right and left, that is, in the direction of the world.
NOTE: This description of a “God-fearing and prayerful” pope, weakened by old age and suffering, brings to mind John Paul II in his latter days. Stricken with Parkinson’s, John Paul II’s head often lolled from side to side, dropping to his chest as if asleep.
“Then, I saw that everything that pertained to Protestantism was gradually gaining the upper hand, and the Catholic religion fell into complete decadence. Most priests were lured by the glittering but false knowledge of young school-teachers, and they all contributed to the work of the destruction.
“In those days, Faith will fall very low, and it will be preserved in some places only, in a few cottages and in a few families which God has protected from disasters and wars.”
“For when the Blood of Christ is no longer offered on the Altars of our churches, then the blood of men will have to be spilled on the asphalt of our streets.”
NOTE: It does not get much more detailed than this when it comes to prophecy, and it seems evident that Emmerich was gifted with some sort of divine vision.
Shop for Catholic gifts online