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The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ by St Anne Catherine Emmerich

The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ is a collection of the visions on the said subject according to St Anne Catherine Emmerich (b. 8 September 1774 – d. 9 February 1824), a German Augustinian nun and stigmatic. These visions occurred in 1821. The English text was translated from the French by George Richardson and published in 1899.

Although these are private revelations and Emmerich expressed some uncertainty, the observable mystical phenomena and her life of suffering support the general authenticity of her visions.

The account begins with the marriage of Mary and Joseph, then the Annunciation and most of the account covers their journey to Bethlehem and their struggles once they arrived.

Anne Catherine Emmerich, 1885, Gabriel von Max
Anne Catherine Emmerich, 1885, Gabriel von Max

On the way, Mary and Joseph stayed at various places, meeting some who were kind and helpful, and others less so. It was when they got to Bethlehem that Joseph had difficulty finding a place to stay despite this being their hometown and the residents were basically relatives. Eventually, they found the grotto that shepherds sometimes used.

The account itself is written unpretentiously. Emmerich, as mentioned already, expressed uncertainty with some details whilst other details are questionable, such as St Anne being still alive. On balance, it reads authentically and highlights the difficulties the Holy Family faced during that time leading up to the Birth of Christ.


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