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Full text of "The nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ"



TRANSFER 

-1- 






THE NATIVITY OF OUR 
LORD JESUS CHRIST. 



FROM 

THE MEDITATIONS OF 
ANNE CATHERINE EMMERICH. 

EX LIBRIS 
ST. BASIL S SCHOLASTIC* 



TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH 
BY 

GEORGE RICHARDSON. 



/ / 

H * 



Xon&on : JBimie Si atcs, 

, Cincinnati, dbicago : Seiijfger Krotbece. 
1899. 



JAN -2 q 53 

betat: 

CHARLES POYER. 



Imprimatur : 

HERBERTUS, 

Card. Archiep. Westmonast. 



12 Nov., 



preface* 

As I am now more than eighty-six 
years old I don t think it probable 
that I shall attempt any more trans 
lations of Sister Emmerich s revela 
tions. I wish, therefore, to say a few 
words about dear Sister Emmerich 
before parting. I have read through 
her revelations several times during 
the last sixty years, and I have more 
frequently read through the New 
Testament, and have never been 
able to detect the slightest opposi 
tion between them. 

The discovery of the House of 
the Blessed Virgin near Ephesus, 
exactly corresponding with Sister 
Emmerich s description of it, has 
given a new impetus to the desire 



IPretace. 

to read her revelations. This dis 
covery will lead, no doubt, in God s 
good time, to the finding of our 
Lady s Tomb, the scene of her 
glorious Assumption. 

The statements made by Sister 
Emmerich must be regarded only as 
those of a devout Nun, and must 
not be confounded with statements 
of facts supported by the testimony 
of the Church. 

GEORGE RICHARDSON. 

Alma Park, L evens hulme. 
1899. 



THE NATIVITY 

Of Our ora Jesus CDrist at 
BetbicDem, 

THE MARRIAGE OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN. 

THE HOLY VIRGIN lived in the Temple 
with several other virgins under the 
charge of pious matrons. 

These virgins were occupied with em 
broidery and other works of the same 
kind for the hangings of the Temple 
and the vestments of the priests : they 
were also employed in washing the vest 
ments and in other matters pertaining 
to the divine worship. They had little 
cells whence they had a view of the in 
terior of the Temple, and where they 

2 



2 ZTbe IRativitt? ot 

prayed and meditated. When they were 
arrived at a marriageable age they mar 
ried. Their parents had given them en 
tirely to God in conducting them to the 
Temple, and there was among the most 
pious of the Israelites a secret presenti 
ment that one of these marriages would 
be the cause some day of the coming of 
the Messiah. 

The Blessed Virgin being fourteen 
years old, and about soon to leave the 
Temple and be married, with seven other 
young girls, I saw St. Anne come to visit 
her. Joachim was no i nger living. 
When they informed Mary that she must 
leave the Temple and be married, I saw 
her deeply moved, declare to a priest that 
she had no desire to quit the Temple, 
that she was consecrated to God alone, 
and had no inclination for marriage : but 
they told her she must take a husband. 

I saw her afterwards in her oratory 



uv Xorfc Jesus Christ. 3 

pray to God with fervour. I remember 
also that being very thirsty she de 
scended with her little pitcher to draw 
water from a fountain or a reservoir, 
and that there, without any visible ap 
parition, she heard a voice which con 
soled and fortified her, at the same time 
making known to her that she must con 
sent to be married. 

I saw also a very old priest who was 
unable to walk it might be the High 
Priest. He was carried by other priests 
into the Holy of Holies, and, whilst he 
lighted the jrifice of incense he read 
some prayers from a roll of parchment 
placed on a kind of pulpit. I saw him 
in an ecstasy. He had a vision, and his 
finger was placed on the following passage 
out of the Prophet Isaiah which was 
written on the roll : "A branch shall arise 
from the root of Jesse and a flower shall 
spring from this root" (Isaiah ix. i). 



4 Ube matfvitp of 

When the old priest returned to himself 
he read this passage and knew something 

by this. 

I then saw that messengers were sent 

to all parts of the country, and that they 
convoked to the Temple all the men of 
the race of David who were unmarried. 
When many of them were assembled in 
the Temple in their festival dress, they 
were presented to the Blessed Virgin. 

I then saw the High Priest, obedient 
to an interior impulse which he had re 
ceived, present branches to each of those 
present, and tell them to mark each one 
a branch with his name and hold it in 
his hand during the prayer and sacrifice. 
When they had done as required the 
branches were taken from them and 
placed upon an altar before the Holy of 
Holies, and it was announced to them 
that he among them whose branch 
should flourish was designed by the 



Xorfc Jesus (Ibrtet. 5 

Lord to be the husband of Mary of 
Nazareth. 

Whilst the branches were before the 
Holy of Holies they continued the sacri 
fice and the prayer; then after the time 
fixed, they gave back the branches and 
announced to them that no one of them 
was designed by God to become the 
husband of this virgin. 

Afterwards the priests of the Temple 
sought afresh in the registers of families 
if no other descendant of David was in 
existence whom they had overlooked. 
As they there found an indication of six 
brothers of Bethlehem, of whom one was. 
unknown and had been absent for a long 
time, they inquired after the abode of 
Joseph, and discovered him a short dis 
tance from Samaria, in a place situated 
near a small river, where he dwelt on the 
margin of the water, working for a master 
carpenter. 



6 ZTbe 1Ratfv>ft of 

On the order of the High Priest Joseph 
came to Jerusalem and presented himself 
at the Temple. They made him also hold 
in his hand a branch while they prayed 
and offered sacrifice. As he was offering 
to place it on the altar before the Holy of 
Holies, there came out from it a white 
flower like a lily, and a luminous appari 
tion descended upon him. It was as if 
he had received the Holy Ghost. They 
knew then that St. Joseph was the man 
designed by God to be the spouse of the 
Blessed Virgin, and the priests presented 
him to Mary in the presence of her 
mother. Mary, resigned to the will of 
God, humbly accepted him as her spouse, 
for she knew that everything is possible 
with God, who had received her vow of 
belonging only to Him. 



<S>ur Xorfc Jesus Cbrtst. 7 

CONCERNING THE MARRIAGE AND THE 
WEDDING DRESS OF MARY AND JOSEPH. 

SISTER EMMERICH, in her daily visions on 
the ministry of Our Lord, saw on Monday 
the 24th of September, 1821, Jesus teach 
ing in the synagogue of Gophna, and 
there staying with the family of a chief 
of the synagogue, a relative of Joachim. 
She heard on this occasion two widows, 
daughters of this man, conversing together 
on the marriage of the parents of Jesus, at 
which they had assisted in their youth, 
with other relatives, and she communi 
cated what follows. As the two widows 
referred in their conversation to the 
marriage of Mary and Joseph, I saw a 
picture of the marriage, and I was struck 
with the beauty of the nuptial dress of the 
Holy Virgin. The marriage of Mary and 
Joseph, which was kept up for seven or 
eight days, was celebrated at Jerusalem, 
in a house near Mount Sion, which 



ZTbe 1Flativ>tts of 

was frequently let for similar occasions. 
Besides the witnesses and companions of 
Mary in the School of the Temple, there 
were many relatives of Anne and Joachim, 
and amongst others a family of Gophna, 
with two daughters. The marriage was 
solemn and sumptuous. Many lambs 
were killed and offered in sacrifice. I 
saw Mary very distinctly in her bridal 
dress. She had a very large gown, open 
in front, with large sleeves. This gown 
had a blue ground strewed with red, white, 
and yellow roses, intermingled with green 
leaves, like the rich chasubles of ancient 
times the lower border was trimmed 
with fringe and tassels. Over her dress 
she wore a mantle of celestial blue, which 
had the appearance of a large sheet. 
Besides this mantle, the Jewish women 
frequently carry also on certain occasions 
a species of mourning mantle with sleeves 
the mantle of Mary fell back over her 
shoulders and terminated in a train. 



ur Xorfc Jesus Cbrist, 9 

She carried in her left hand a small 
crown of red and white roses made of 
silk. In her right hand she held, in form 
of a sceptre,- a beautiful gilt candlestick, 
without a foot, surmounted by a little 
dish where something was burning, which 
produced a white flame. 

The virgins of the Temple arranged the 
hair of Mary many of them were en 
gaged at it, and it was done in an in 
credibly short time. Anne had brought 
the wedding dress, and Mary, in her 
humility, would not consent to wear it 
after her marriage her hair was fas 
tened round her head, and they put on 
her a white veil, which hung below her 
shoulders, and a crown was placed over 
this veil. The Holy Virgin had an abun 
dance of hair of a light gold colour ; her 
eyebrows black and elevated ; large eyes, 
habitually cast down, with long black eye 
lashes ; a nose of a beautiful form, rather 



io Ube IRatixntp of 

long ; a noble and graceful mouth, and a 
slender chin. She was of middle stature. 
She walked, clad in her rich costume, with 
much grace, elegance, and gravity. She 
afterwards put on for her marriage another 
dress, less splendid, of which I possess a 
small piece among my relics. She wore 
this striped dress at Cana and on other 
solemn occasions. She sometimes put on 
her marriage dress to go to the Temple. 
There were rich people who changed their 
dress three or four times for their marriage. 
In her dress of ceremony Mary rather 
resembled certain illustrious ladies of later 
times ; for instance, the Empress St. Helen 
and even St. Cunegonda, though she dif 
fered from them in the cloak which Jewish 
women usually wear, and which more 
resembled that of the Roman ladies. 
There were at Sion, in the neighbour 
hood of the cenacle, a certain number of 
women who prepared beautiful stuffs 



Xorfc Jesus Cbrist n 

all kinds which I remarked in conse 
quence of these dresses. 

Joseph had a long and very wide robe 
of a blue colour ; the sleeves, which were 
very large, were fastened at the side with 
strings. Round the neck he wore a kind 
of brown collar, or rather a large stole, 
and over his breast two white bands hung 
down. I have seen all the ceremonies of 
the marriage of St. Joseph and the 
Blessed Virgin the marriage feast and 
other solemnities. 



MARY S MARRIAGE RING. 

ON the 29th of July, 1821, Sister- 
Emmerich had a vision on the grave 
clothes of our Lord Jesus Christ, and 
the wonderful prints of His body, which 
showed themselves miraculously upon the 
winding sheet in which He had been 



12 Hbe 1ftati\nt of 

wrapped. As on this occasion she found 
herself conducted to several places, where 
these holy relics were found, some re 
ligiously preserved, others forgotten by 
men and honoured only by the angels 
or certain holy souls, she believed that 
she saw preserved in one of these places 
the marriage ring of the Blessed Virgin, 
and she then related as follows : 

I have seen the marriage ring of the 
Blessed Virgin. It is neither silver, nor 
gold, nor any other metal : it is of a dark 
colour with changing reflections ; it is not 
a small circle, it is as thick and as wide as 
a finger. I saw it quite smooth and still, 
as if encrusted with small regular tri 
angles where there were letters. I saw it 
kept under several locks in a beautiful 
church there were some pious people, 
who before celebrating their marriage 
touched their marriage rings with it. 

On the 2ist of August, 1821, she said : 



ur Xorfc Jesus Gbrist. 13 

I have learned during the last few days 
many details relative to the history of 
the marriage ring of Mary, but I cannot 
relate them all in order. I have seen to 
day a festival in a church in Italy where 
it is found. It is exposed in a kind of 
monstrance, which was placed above the 
tabernacle. There was there a large 
altar, richly decorated, with many orna 
ments in silver. I saw that they touched 
the monstrance with several rings. 

I saw during the festival, on the two 
sides of the ring, Mary and Joseph appear 
in their bridal dresses. It seemed to me 
that St. Joseph placed the ring on the 
finger of the Blessed Virgin. I saw the 
ring all luminous and as if in motion.* 

* When the writer wrote this on the 4th 
of August, 1821, he could not understand 
why the Sister had this vision precisely on 
the 3rd of August. He was much surprised 
many years afterwards when he read in a 
Latin writing on the ring of the Blessed 



14 ZTbe 1Ratit>it ot 

When the marriage was finished Anne 
returned to Nazareth and Mary departed 
also, in company of several virgins who 
had quitted the Temple at the same time 
as she did. I do not know how far these 
virgins conducted her on her way. The 
first place at which they stayed to pass 
the night was at the School of the Levites 
at Betheron. Many made the journey on 
foot. Joseph, after the marriage, went to 
Bethlehem to regulate some family affairs. 
It was not until later that he returned to 
Nazareth. 

Virgin, preserved at Perouse, that they ex 
hibited this ring to the people on the 3rd of 
August, of which probably neither he nor 
the Sister knew anything. He found this 
information on page 39 of the writing en 
titled, " Of the Marriage Ring of the Blessed 
Virgin, Mother of God, religiously preserved 
at Perouse" (The Commentator of S. B. 
Laurus of Perouse, 1626). 



SLorfc Jesus (Tbrfst. 15 

FROM THE RETURN OF MARY TO THE 
ANNUNCIATION. 

BEFORE relating the vision of the An 
nunciation the Sister communicated two 
fragments of previous visions, of which 
we can only offer a conjectural explana 
tion. Being still very feeble through the 
effects of a serious illness, she related 
what follows some time after the mar 
riage of the Blessed Virgin and St. 
Joseph. 

There was a festival in the house of 
St. Anne, and some children assembled 
wijh Joseph and Mary round a table on 
which were placed some glasses. 

The Blessed Virgin had a striped 
mantle with red, blue, and white flowers, 
as we see on ancient chasubles. She 
wore a transparent veil, and above this a 
black veil. This fete appeared to be 
connected with the marriage festivities. 

She related no more on this subject, 



16 Tlbe IRativnts ot 

and we can only suppose that this repast 
took place when the Blessed Virgin 
left her mother, after the arrival of St. 
Joseph, and retired with him into the 
house at Nazareth. The following day 
she related what follows. 

To-night in my contemplation I sought 
for the Blessed Virgin, and my conductor 
led me into the house of St. Anne, every 
part of which I recognised. I found 
there neither Joseph nor Mary. I saw 
St. Anne preparing to go to Nazareth, 
where the Holy Family was now residing. 
She carried under her arm a packet 
which she was taking to Mary. She 
went to Nazareth, crossing a plain and a 
little wood placed on an eminence. I 
went there also. The house of St. Joseph 
was not far from the gate of the city. It 
was not so large as the house of St. 
Anne. A square well, which was down 
some steps, was in the neighbourhood, 



Xorfc Jesus Cbrfst, 17 

and there was before the house a small 
square court. I saw St. Anne visit the 
Blessed Virgin, to whom she gave what 
she had brought with her. I saw Mary 
weep very much, and for some time ac 
company her mother who was returning 
to her home. I saw St. Joseph in front 
of the house in a secluded spot. 

We may gather from these fragments 
that Anne visited for the first time her 
daughter at Nazareth, and brought her a 
present. Mary, who now lived by herself, 
separated from her well-beloved mother, 
shed tears of tenderness in parting from 
her. 



THE ANNUNCIATION. 

ON the 25th of March, 1821, the Sister 
said : 

I saw the Blessed Virgin soon after her 
marriage, in the house of Joseph at 



1 8 Ube 1Ratf\?ft ot 

Nazareth, to which my guide conducted 
me. Joseph had departed with two asses. 
I think it was to fetch something that he 
had inherited, or to bring the tools of his 
trade. He seemed to me still on his 
journey. 

Besides the Blessed Virgin and two 
young women of her own age, who had 
been, I believe, her companions in the 
Temple, I saw in the house St. Anne 
with the widow, her relative, who was in 
her service, and who later on followed 
her to Bethlehem after the birth of Jesus. 
St. Anne had renewed everything in the 
house. 

I saw the four women walking about 
in the house, and then walk together in 
the court. Towards evening I saw them 
re-enter and pray standing round a little 
round table, after which they ate some 
herbs which had been brought there. 
They separated afterwards. St. Anne 



ur %orfc Jesus Cbrist. 19 

still went about here and there in the 
house, like the mother of a family en 
gaged in her duties. The two young 
persons went into their separate cham 
bers, and Mary also retired into her own. 
The chamber of the Blessed Virgin 
was at the back of the house, near the 
fireplace ; it was reached by three steps, 
for the ground at this part of the house 
was higher than the rest, and on a rocky 
foundation. Opposite the door the cham 
ber was round, and in this circular part, 
which was separated by a partition of the 
height of a man, was the bed of the 
Blessed Virgin, rolled up. The walls of 
the chamber were covered to a certain 
height with a kind of inlaid work, made 
of pieces of wood, of different colours. 
The ceiling was formed by parallel joists, 
the spaces between which were filled with 
wicker work, ornamented with figures of 
stars. 



20 zibe 1Rati\nt of 

I was conducted into this chamber by 
the young man of shining appearance 
who always accompanies me,* and I will 
relate what I saw as well as such a 
wretched person as I am can do. 

The Blessed Virgin on entering 
dressed herself, behind the screen of her 
bed, in a long robe of white wool, with a 
large belt, and covered her head with a 
veil of light yellow. In the meantime 
the servant entered with a light, lighted a 
lamp with several branches which hung 
from the ceiling, and retired. The Blessed 
Virgin then took a little low table which 
stood against the wall, and placed it in 
the middle of her chamber. It was 
covered with a red and blue cloth, in 
the middle of which a figure was em 
broidered. I cannot say whether it was 
a letter or an ornament. A roll of parch 
ment, written upon, was on the table. 

* Her guardian angel. 



5esus Christ. 21 

The Blessed Virgin having arranged it, 
between the place of her bed and the 
door, on a spot where the floor was 
covered with a carpet, placed before it 
a small round cushion on which to kneel. 
She then knelt down, her two hands 
leaning upon the table. The door of the 
chamber was in front of her, to the right. 
She turned her back to her couch. 

Mary let down the veil over her face, 
and joined her hands before her breast, 
but without crossing the ringers. I saw her 
pray for a long time with great ardour, her 
face turned towards heaven. She invoked 
the redemption, the coming of the King 
promised to the people of Israel, and she 
asked also to have some part in this 
coming. She remained a long time on 
her knees transported in ecstasy. She 
then bent her head over her breast. 

Then from the ceiling of the chamber 
descended, on her right side, in a slightly 



22 ftbe 1ftat(\nt of 

oblique direction, such a mass of light that 
I was obliged to turn myself towards the 
court, where the door was placed. I saw 
then in this light a resplendent young man, 
with white flowing hair, descend before her, 
through the air. It was the Angel Gabriel. 
He spoke to her, and I saw the words 
come from his mouth like letters of fire. 
I read them and understood them. Mary 
slightly turned her veiled head to the right 
side. Notwithstanding, in her modesty 
she did not look at him. The angel con 
tinued to speak. Mary turned her face 
on one side, as if in obedience to an order, 
slightly raised her veil, and replied. The 
angel spoke again. Mary completely 
raised her veil, looked at the angel, and 
pronounced the sacred words : " Behold 
the handmaid of the Lord ; be it done to 
me according to thy word." 

The Blessed Virgin was in a profound 
ecstasy ; the chamber was full of light. I 



ut Xorfc 3esus Gbrist. 23 

saw no more the light of the lamp which 
was burning, neither did I see the ceiling 
of the room. Heaven appeared to be 
open ; my observation followed the lumin 
ous way above the angel. I saw at the 
extremity of this river of light the Holy 
Trinity. It was like a luminous triangle 
whose rays reciprocally penetrated each 
ether. I then recognised what we must 
adore, but can never express the om 
nipotent God, Father, Son, and Holy 
Ghost, and yet one only God Almighty. 

When the Holy Virgin had said, " Be it 
done to me according to thy word," I saw 
a winged apparition of the Holy Spirit, 
which, however, had not completely the 
ordinary representation under the form of 
a dove. The head had something like the 
human face ; the light spread out on both 
sides like wings, and I saw come from it as 
it were three luminous streams towards the 
right side of the Blessed Virgin, where they 



24 Ube 1Ratfv>ft of 

were reunited ; then this light penetrated 
her right side, the Blessed Virgin herself 
became luminous, and as if transparent : 
it seemed as if everything that was 
opaque in her retired before this light, as 
night before the day. She was at this 
moment so inundated with light that 
nothing in her appeared obscure or 
opaque ; she was resplendent and as if 
completely illuminated. 

I afterwards saw the angel disappear; the 
luminous ray from which he had emerged 
retired ; it was as if heaven drew it in and 
caused to re-enter into itself this flood of 
light. 

After the disappearance of the angel I 
saw the Blessed Virgin in a profound 
ecstasy and altogether recollected in her 
self. I saw that she knew and adored the 
Incarnation of the Saviour in herself, 
where He was as a small luminous human 
body, completely formed, and provided 



Xorfc Jesus Cbrtst. 25 

with all His members. Here at Nazareth 
everything is completely otherwise than at 
Jerusalem. At Jerusalem the women 
have to remain in the vestibule, they 
cannot enter into the Temple priests 
only have access to the sanctuary but 
at Nazareth it is a virgin, who is herself 
the Temple. The Holy of Holies is with 
in her, the High Priest is within her, and 
she is alone with Him. How touching 
and wonderful is this, and yet how simple 
and natural. The words of David in the 
45th Psalm are accomplished : " God is in 
the midst thereof (His tabernacle), and it 
shall not be moved." It was a little past 
midnight when I saw this mystery. After 
some time St. Anne entered into Mary s 
room with the other women : a marvellous 
movement in nature had awakened them, 
a luminous cloud had passed over the 
house. When they saw the Blessed 
Virgin on her knees under the lamp 

3 



26 Hbe 1flatfv>ft\? of 

transported in ecstasy in prayer, they 
respectfully retired. 

In contemplating this night the mystery 
of the Incarnation I was also instructed 
in many other things. Anne received an 
interior knowledge of what had been ac 
complished. 

I learned why the Redeemer would 
remain nine months in the womb of His 
mother and become an infant ; why He 
had not desired to come into the world a 
man, like our first father, and show Himself 
in all His beauty, like Adam coming from 
the hands of his Creator but I cannot 
clearly explain this. That which I now 
understand is that He wished to sanctify 
again the conception and the birth of 
men, which had been so much degraded 
by original sin. If Mary became His 
mother, and that He did not come sooner, 
was that she alone was what no creature 
was before or after her, the pure vessel of 



XorD Jesus Gbrist. 27 

grace which God had promised to men, 
and in whom He would become man, 
to pay the debt of human nature by 
means of the superabundant merits of 
His passion. The Blesstd Virgin was the 
perfectly pure flower of the human race 
unfolded in the fulness of time. All the 
children of God amongst men, all those 
who since the beginning had laboured 
in the work of their sanctification had 
contributed to His coming. She was the 
only pure gold of the earth. She alone 
was the pure and spotless portion of the 
flesh and blood of the whole human race, 
who, prepared, purified, gathered, and con 
secrated through all the generations of her 
ancestors, conducted, protected, and for 
tified under the regulations of the law of 
Moses, was finally produced as the fulness 
of grace. She was predestined in eter 
nity and she has appeared in time as the 
Mother of the Eternal. 



28 Ube IRativnts of 

The Blessed Virgin was a little more 
than fourteen at the time of the Incar 
nation of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ ar 
rived at the age of thirty-three years and 
three times six weeks. I say three times 
six because the figure six was shown to me 
at this instant, but repeated three times. 

When Joseph returned to Nazareth 
with the Blessed Virgin after her visit to 
her cousin Elizabeth, he saw by her 
figure that she was enceinte. He was 
then assailed with all sorts of troubles 
and doubts, for he knew nothing of the 
visit of the angel to Mary. Soon after 
his marriage he had gone to Bethlehem 
on some family affairs. Mary in the 
meantime had returned to Nazareth with 
her parents and some companions. The 
angelical salutation had taken place be 
fore the return of Joseph to Nazareth. 
Mary in her timid humility had kept to 
herself the secret of God. 



Xorfc 3esus Christ. 29 

Joseph, full of trouble and anxiety, did 
not attempt to learn anything from 
without, but struggled in silence against 
his doubts. The Blessed Virgin, who had 
perceived this, at once was grave and 
pensive, which increased still more the 
anxiety of Joseph. 

When they had arrived at Nazareth I 
saw that the Blessed Virgin did not go 
at once into the house with St. Joseph. 
She remained two days with a family 
connected with her own. They were the 
parents of the disciple Parmenas, who 
was not then born, and who afterwards 
became one of the seven deacons in the 
first community of Christians at Jeru 
salem. 

These people were allied to the Holy 
Family ; the mother was the sister of 
the third husband of Mary Cleophas, 
who was the father of Simeon, Bishop 
of Jerusalem. They had a house and 



30 ZTbe 1Flati\nt of 

garden at Nazareth. They were also allied 
to the Holy Family on the side of Eliza 
beth. I saw the Blessed Virgin remain 
some time with them before returning to 
Joseph s house ; but his trouble increased 
to such an extent, that when Mary de 
sired to return to his house, he had 
formed the intention of leaving it and 
going away secretly. Whilst he was 
meditating on this project an angel ap 
peared to him in a dream and consoled 
him. 



PREPARATIONS FOR THE BIRTH OF 
JESUS CHRIST. DEPARTURE OF THE 
HOLY FAMILY FOR BETHLEHEM. 

SUNDAY, the nth of November, 1821. 
For many days past I have seen the 
Blessed Virgin near her mother, St. Anne, 
whose house is about a league from 
Nazareth, in the Valley of Zabulon. Her 
servant remained at the house of Naza- 



ur SLorfc 3esus Gbrist. 31 

reth. She attends to St. Joseph when 
Mary is with her mother. In reality, so 
long as Anne lived, they had not an 
entirely separate establishment, but re 
ceived always from the latter everything 
they required. 

I saw, during fifteen days, the Blessed 
Virgin engaged in preparations for the 
birth of Jesus Christ ; she got ready 
coverlets, bandages, and swaddling clothes. 
Her father, Joachim, was no longer living. 
There was in the house a little girl of 
about seven years old who was often near 
the Blessed Virgin, and to whom she gave 
lessons. I believe that she was the 
daughter of Mary of Cleophas. She was 
also called Mary. Joseph is not at 
Nazareth, but he will soon arrive. He 
is on his return from Jerusalem, where 
he had led victims for sacrifice. 

I saw the Blessed Virgin in the house. 
She was in an advanced state of preg- 



32 ZTbe matfx>m? ot 

nancy, and was working sitting in a room 
with several other women. They were 
preparing articles and coverlets for the 
confinement of Mary. Anne had con 
siderable property in cattle and pasture 
lands. She furnished the Blessed Virgin 
abundantly with everything which was 
needful for her condition : as she believed 
that Mary would be confined at her house, 
and that all her relatives would visit her 
on this occasion, she made all sorts of 
preparations for the birth of the child of 
promise. They prepared for this purpose 
beautiful coverlets and rugs. 

I had seen a coverlet of this kind at 
the time of the birth of St. John, in the 
house of Elizabeth. It had on it sym 
bolical figures and sentences worked by 
the needle. In the middle was a sort 
of wrapper in which the woman when 
lying in, was placed. When the different 
parts of the coverlet were fitted together 



XorO Jesus dbrist 33 

around her with strings and buttons she 
seemed like a little child in its swaddling 
clothes, and could easily sit up between 
the cushions, and receive the visits of 
her friends, who would sit round her 
on the border of the tapestry. 

They got ready also in the house of St. 
Anne things of this kind, besides ban 
dages and swaddling clothes for the 
child. I saw also threads of gold and 
silver, which they interwove here and 
there. All these articles and coverlets 
were not only for the use of the person 
confined ; there were also many things 
intended for the poor, whom they al 
ways thought of, on such occasions. I 
saw the Blessed Virgin and other women 
sitting on the floor round a large chest, 
and working at a larger coverlet, which 
was placed on this box in the midst of 
them. They made use of short sticks, 
to which thread of different colours was 



34 ftbe 1Flati\>it ot 

attached. St. Anne was very busy ; she 
went here and there to get the wool, to 
divide it, and give their work to her 
servants. 

Monday, the 1 2th of November. Joseph 
should return to-day to Nazareth. He 
was at Jerusalem, whither he had led some 
animals for sacrifice. He had left them 
at a small inn, situated a quarter of a 
league from Jerusalem and kept by an 
old couple without children. They were 
pious people with whom persons could 
stay with all. confidence. Joseph went 
from there to Bethlehem ; but he did 
not visit the relatives he had there. He 
wished only to get information relative to 
a numbering or a levy of duty, which re 
quired that every one should come to the 
place where he was born. He did not, 
however, report himself; as he intended, 
when the time of the purification of Mary 
was accomplished, to go with her from 



ur Xorfc 5csus Christ. 35 

Nazareth to the Temple at Jerusalem, and 
thence to Bethlehem, where he intended 
to settle. I do not know what advantage 
he expected from this ; hut he did not 
like living at Nazareth. It was on this 
account that he took advantage of this 
opportunity to go to Bethlehem. 

He there got information about stones 
and wood used by carpenters, as he had 
the intention to build a house. He re 
turned afterwards to the inn near Jeru 
salem, conducted the victims to the 
Temple and returned home. 

As to-day towards midnight he was 
crossing the Plain of Kimki, six leagues 
from Nazareth, an angel appeared to him 
and told him to depart with Mary for 
Bethlehem, for it was there that she 
should bring her child into the world. 
The angel also directed what he should 
take with him : that he must take but few 
things, and especially not the embroidered 



36 Tlbe 1RatfY>ft of 

coverlets. He must also, besides the ass 
on which Mary would ride, take with him 
an ass of a year old who had not had 
young ; he must let it run at liberty, and 
always follow the road which it took. 

This evening Anne went to Nazareth 
with the Blessed Virgin. They knew that 
Joseph was coming ; they appeared, how 
ever, not to know that Mary would go to 
Bethlehem. They believed that Mary 
would bring her child into the world in 
the house at Nazareth, for I saw that they 
brought there many things which they had 
prepared packed in matting. Joseph will 
arrive at Nazareth in the evening. 

Tuesday, the i3th of November. To 
day I saw the Blessed Virgin Mary with 
her mother in the house at Nazareth, when 
Joseph informed them of what had been 
said to him on the preceding night. 
They returned together to Anne s house, 
and I saw them make preparations for a 



<S>ur %ov& Jesus Cbilst. 37 

speedy departure. Anne was much dis 
tressed. The Blessed Virgin knew already 
that she must bring forth her son at 
Bethlehem, but through humility she said 
nothing. 

She knew this from the prophecies on 
the birth of the Messiah, which she kept 
at Nazareth. She had received these 
writings from her mistresses in the Temple, 
and these holy women had explained them 
to her. Her ardent desire continually 
invoked the coming of the Messiah ; she 
called blessedjher who should bring into 
the world this holy infant, and desired 
only to be the least of her servants. 
She did not think in her humility that 
this honour could be destined for her. 
As she knew by the text of the pro 
phecies that the Saviour would be born 
in Bethlehem, she conformed with still 
greater joy to the Divine will, and pre 
pared for this journey, a very painful one 



38 ZTbe IRatfvnts of 

at this season, for it was often very cold 
in the valleys between the chains of moun 
tains. 

This evening St. Joseph and the 
Blessed Virgin, accompanied by Anne, 
Mary of Cleophas, and some servants, 
departed from St. Anne s house. Mary was 
sitting on the saddle of an ass which also 
carried the luggage. Joseph led the ass. 
There was another ass on which Anne 
intended to return. 



JOURNEY OF THE HOLY FAMILY. 

THIS morning I saw the holy travellers 
arrive at six leagues from Nazareth, at a 
plain called Ghinim, where the angel had 
appeared to St. Joseph the evening before. 
Anne possessed some pastures at this place, 
and the servants were to bring from this 
place the ass of a year old, which Joseph 



Xorfc 3esus Cbrfst. 39 

had to take with him : it ran sometimes in 
advance of the travellers, sometimes close 
to them. Anne and Mary of Cleophas 
here bid good-bye to the holy travellers 
and returned with the servants. 

I saw the Holy Family proceed further 
by a road which rises towards the moun 
tains of Gilboa. They did not go into 
cities, and followed the young ass, which 
always took cross ways. It was in this 
manner that I saw them at some property 
of Lazarus, a short distance from the 
village of Ghinim, by the side of Samaria. 
The superintendent received them in a 
friendly manner. He had known them 
on another journey. Their family had 
connections with that of Lazarus. There 
were there beautiful orchards and walks. 
The position was so elevated as to com 
mand a very extensive view. Lazarus in 
herited this property from his father. Our 
Lord Jesus Christ stayed often here during 



40 ZTbe IRatixnts of 

His ministry, and taught in the vicinity. 
The manager and his wife conversed in a 
friendly manner with the Blessed Virgin, 
and showed their surprise that she should 
have undertaken so long a journey in her 
present condition, when she could have 
remained so comfortably at her mother s 
house. 

Night of Thursday or Friday, the i6th 
of November. I saw the Holy Family at 
some leagues beyond the spot mentioned 
above, proceeding in the night towards a 
mountain through a very cold valley. It 
seemed to have been a white frost. The 
Blessed Virgin suffered much from the 
cold, and she said to St. Joseph, " We shall 
be obliged to stop here ; I can t go any 
further." Scarcely had she said these words 
when the young ass stopped all at once 
under a large and very old fir tree which 

was near the place-awl near which was a 

yVS^N 
spring. The/c^>tte3X]itfj^er this tree. 

LIBRAR 




(SHir OLorfc 5esus Cbrist. 41 

Joseph arranged with wrappers a seat 
for the Blessed Virgin, whom he assisted 
to alight from the ass and she sat 
against the tree. Joseph hung up a 
lantern which he carried with him on a 
bough of the tree. I have frequently 
seen persons who travel at night in this 
country do the same. The Blessed 
Virgin called upon God, and asked that 
He would not permit the cold to be hurtful 
to him. Then she all at once perceived 
such a great heat that she stretched her 
hands to St. Joseph that he might warm 
his. They refreshed themselves a little 
with the small cakes and the fruits which 
they had with them, and drank of the 
water from the neighbouring fountain, in 
which they mixed some of the balm which 
Joseph had brought in a little pitcher. 
Joseph consoled and encouraged the Holy 
Virgin. He was so good : he suffered so 
much because the journey was so painful 



42 ZTbe 1Ratf\>it of 

to her. He spoke to her about the good 
lodgings which he expected to procure at 
Bethlehem : he knew of a house belonging 
to some very honest people, where they 
could be well accommodated at reason 
able expense. He praised Bethlehem in 
general, and said anything he could to 
console her. This gave me anxiety, as 
I knew things would turn out otherwise. 

To this place on their journey they had 
passed two small streams of water, one of 
them by a high bridge, and the two asses 
had passed through the ford. The young 
ass, which ran at liberty, had singular 
ways of proceeding. When the road was 
well defined, for instance, between two 
mountains, and they could make no mis 
take, sometimes it ran behind the tra 
vellers, sometimes a long way before 
them. When the way divided it always 
reappeared and took the right direction ; 
when they desired to stop, it stopped of 



ur Xorfc Jesus Gbrist. 43 

itself, as at their rest under the fir tree. 
I do not know whether they passed the 
night under this tree or reached another 
resting-place. 

This fir tree was an old and sacred tree 
which had formed part of the Wood of 
Moreh, near to Sichem. Abraham com 
ing from the land of Chanaan, had there 
seen the Lord appear, who had promised 
him this land for his posterity. He had 
erected an altar under this fir tree. 
Jacob, before going to Bethel to offer 
sacrifice to the Lord, had buried under 
this fir tree the idols of Laban, and the 
jewels which his family had with them. 
Joshua had erected there the tabernacle 
in which was the Ark of the Covenant, and 
had there assembled the people and made 
them renounce their idols. It was there 
also that Abimelech, the son of Gideon, 
had been proclaimed King by the Sichem- 
ites. 



44 TOe IFlattpftp of 

Friday, the i6th of November. To-day 
the Holy Family arrived at a large farm, 
two leagues more to the south than the 
fir tree. The mistress of the house was 
absent, and the master refused to receive 
St. Joseph, telling him that he could 
easily go further on. When they had 
gone a short way further they found the 
young ass in the cottage of a shepherd, 
into which they also entered. Some 
shepherds, who were engaged arranging 
the cottage, received them with much 
kindness. They gave them some straw 
and small bundles of rushes and branches 
to make a fire. The shepherds went to 
the house from which they had been sent 
away ; and when they told the mistress of 
this house how Joseph appeared to be 
good and pious, and his wife was beau 
tiful and had a saintly appearance, she 
reproached her husband for having 
driven away such excellent persons. 



in* %orb 3esus Christ. 45 

I saw this woman also soon go to the 
cabin where the Blessed Virgin was 
staying ; but she dare not enter through 
timidity, and returned to her house to get 
some food. 

The place where they were now staying 
was on the northern side of a mountain, 
a short distance between Samaria and 
Thebez. To the east of the place beyond 
the Jordan is Succoth. Ainon is a little 
more to the south also beyond the river. 
Salem is on this side it would be about 
twelve leagues from there to Nazareth. 

After a time the woman came with 
two children to see the Holy Family, 
bringing with her some provisions. She 
excused herself politely, and seemed 
touched with their position. When the 
travellers had eaten and taken some rest 
the husband came also and begged 
pardon of St. Joseph for having sent 
him away. He advised him to go 



be Ittatipit of 



another league towards the top of the 
mountain ; telling him that he would 
arrive at a good resting-place before the 
beginning of the Sabbath, and could re 
main there during the day of rest : they 
then set forward on their journey. 

When they had travelled nearly a league 
always mounting upwards, they arrived at 
an inn of decent appearance, composed of 
several buildings surrounded with gardens 
and trees. These were also, ranged like 
espaliers, trees which yielded bairn : this 
place of accommodation was also on the 
northern side of the mountain. 

The Blessed Virgin had dismounted. 
Joseph led the ass. They came near 
the house and St. Joseph asked the host 
to accommodate them ; but he declined 
because his inn was full. His wife then 
came, and as the Blessed Virgin addressed 
herself to her, and asked her with the most 
touching humility to give them a lodging, 



ur Xoi^ 3esus Cbrtst. 47 

this woman experienced a profound emo 
tion, and the host also would no longer 
refuse. He arranged a convenient shelter 
for them in an adjoining cabin and put 
their ass into the stable. The young ass 
was not there ; it was running about at 
liberty in the neighbourhood. It was al 
ways at a distance from them when not 
wanted to show the way. 

Joseph prepared a lamp under which 
he placed himself at prayer with the 
Blessed Virgin, observing the Sabbath 
with a touching piety. They ate some 
thing and reposed on mats spread on 
the ground. 

Saturday, the ryth of November. To 
day I saw the Holy Family rest in this place 
all the day. Mary and Joseph prayed to 
gether. I saw the wife of the host with 
her three children near the Blessed Virgin. 
The woman who had received them on 
the previous day came also to visit her 



48 Zlbe Ittatiritp of 



with her two children ; they sat near her 
in a very friendly manner, and were 
touched with the modesty and wisdom of 
Mary. The Blessed Virgin talked to the 
children and gave them instructions. 

The children had little rolls of parch 
ment : Mary made them read, and spoke 
to them in such a kind way that they 
could not help looking at her. It was 
affecting to see, and still more affecting 
to hear. I saw St. Joseph in the afternoon 
take a walk with his host in the environs : 
this is what I have always seen done by 
pious country people on the Sabbath-day. 
The holy travellers remained still in this 
place during the following night. 

Sunday, the i8th of November. The 
good hosts of this place had conceived an 
incredible affection for the Blessed Virgin, 
and showed a tender compassion for her 
state. They entreated her in the most 
friendly manner to remain with them, and 



ur OLoi fc Jesus Christ* 49 

to await the time of her delivery ; they 
showed her a convenient room which they 
desired to give her. The woman offered 
from the bottom of her heart all her 
assistance and friendship. 

But they resumed their journey early 
in the morning, and descended by the 
south-east side of the mountain into a 
valley. They went then further from 
Samaria, to which the route they had 
till then taken seemed to lead them. 
As they descended the mountain they 
could see the Temple on Mount Garizim. 
It could be seen from a great distance. 
There were many figures of lions and 
other animals on the top, which shone in 
the sunbeams. 

I saw them travel about six leagues to 
day. Towards evening, being in a plain 
south-east of Sichem, they entered into 
a rather large house of shepherds, where 
they were well received. The master of 

4 



50 TOe 1RattY>tt of 

the house was charged with the super 
vision of the orchards and fields which 
belonged to a neighbouring town. The 
house was not completely in the plain, 
but on a slope. Here everything was 
fertile and in a better condition than the 
country which they had previously passed. 
It was turned towards the sun, which in 
the land of promise makes a consider 
able difference at this time of the year. 
From here to Bethlehem there were many 
similar dwellings of shepherds dispersed 
in the valleys. 

The people of this place were some of 
those shepherds whose daughters many 
of the servants of the three kings, who 
remained in Palestine, subsequently mar 
ried. From one of these marriages came 
a young boy, whom Our Lord cured in 
this same house, at the prayer of the 
Blessed Virgin, on the 3ist of July (yth 
of the month of Ab), in the second year 



Xorfc Jesus Christ, 51 

of His ministry, after talking . with the 
woman of Samaria. Jesus took him and 
two other young men to accompany Him 
on the journey which He made into 
Arabia after the death of Lazarus, and he 
became later on a disciple of the Lord. 
Jesus frequently stayed and taught here. 
There were children in the house : Joseph 
blessed them before his departure. 



CONTINUATION OF THE JOURNEY TO 
BETHLEHEM. 

MONDAY, the i9th of November. To 
day I saw them follow a more regular 
road. The Blessed Virgin travelled on 
foot from time to time. They found 
more frequently convenient resting-places 
where they refreshed themselves. They 
had with them little loaves and a beverage 
both refreshing and strengthening, in little 
pitchers of a very elegant shape which 



52 ZTbe Iftattvntp of 

had two handles and shone like bronze. 
It was balm, which they mixed with 
water. They gathered also berries and 
fruits which still hung upon the trees and 
bushes in certain places exposed to the 
sun. Mary s seat on the ass had a sort 
of -ledge on the right and left on which 
to rest the feet, so that they did not hang 
down as those of country people who go 
on horseback in our country. Her move 
ments were singularly proper and be 
coming. She sat alternately on the right 
and left. The first thing that St. Joseph 
did when they halted or entered any 
place was to find some place where the 
Blessed Virgin could conveniently sit 
down and rest. He often washed his 
feet, as did Mary. In general, they fre 
quently washed themselves. 

It was already night when they arrived 
at an isolated house, but the master of 
the house would not open it ; and when 



ur Xor& Jesus Cbnst. 53 

St. Joseph represented the state of Mary, 
who was not in a condition to go any 
further, adding that he did not expect to 
be lodged for nothing, this hard-hearted 
and rude man replied that his house was 
not an inn, and desired them to leave him 
quiet and give over knocking, and things 
of that sort. This boorish man did not 
even open his door, but gave his rude 
reply behind the closed door. They then 
continued their way and after some time 
they entered into a shed near which they 
found that the little ass had stopped. 
Joseph procured a light and prepared a 
couch for the Blessed Virgin who helped 
him. He brought the ass in also, for 
which he prepared a litter and forage. 
They prayed, took a little food, and 
slept some hours. From the last inn to 
here they had travelled about six miles 
of the way. They were now about 
twenty-six leagues from Nazareth and ten 



54 ftbe IRativntp of 

from Jerusalem. So far they had not 
followed the highway, but had crossed 
many ways of communication which went 
from the Jordan to Samaria and joined 
the principal routes which led from Syria 
into Egypt. The cross roads which they 
had followed were very narrow on the 
mountains ; they were sometimes so 
strait that it required every care to 
proceed without stumbling : but the asses 
walked with a very sure step. Their 
present resting-place was in a level 
country. 

Tuesday, the 2oth of November. 
They left this place before daylight. 
The way again became slightly hilly. 
I believe they came near the road which 
led from Gabara to Jerusalem and which 
formed at this spot the boundary between 
Samaria and Judea. They were again 
rudely driven away from a house when 
they were some leagues to the north-east 



ur Xorfc 5esus Gbrfst. 55 

of Bethania. It happened that Mary, 
being very tired, wished to take something 
and to rest ; then Joseph turned off from 
the road to go about half a league from 
there to a spot in which there was a beau 
tiful fig tree which was generally covered 
with fruit. This tree was surrounded 
with seats to rest upon, and Joseph knew 
of it from one of his previous journeys. 
But when they arrived there they did not 
find a single fruit, which troubled them 
very much. I have a confused recollec 
tion that later on Jesus met with this tree, 
which was covered with leaves, but bore no 
fruit. I believe that the Lord cursed this 
tree on a journey which He made after es 
caping from Jerusalem, and that it entirely 
withered away.* 

* The Sister was so unwell when she re 
lated this that she could not clearly point 
out in what place this fig tree grew, which, 
however, is not the fig tree mentioned by the 
Evangelist. 



56 ZEbe IKlatixntp of 

They then came to a house where the 
master began by treating in a brutal 
manner St. Joseph, who humbly asked 
hospitality. He looked at the Blessed 
Virgin by the light of his lantern, and 
rallied St. Joseph for bringing his young 
wife with him. But the mistress of the 
house came forward : she pitied the 
Blessed Virgin, and in a friendly manner 
offered them a room in a building adjoin 
ing the house, and even brought them 
some small cakes. The husband re 
pented of his brutality, and showed 
himself very obliging to the Holy 
Family. 

They subsequently went to a third 
house, inhabited by a young family. 
They received them, but without much 
courtesy ; they scarcely took notice of 
them. These people were not among 
the shepherds of simple manners, but 
like rich country people of the place, 



3Loi*fc Jesus (Ibrist, 57 

altogether taken up with their affairs, 
business, etc. 

Jesus visited one of these houses after 
His baptism, the 2oth of October. They 
had made an oratory of the room where His 
parents had passed the night. I cannot 
well say whether it was the house where 
the master had rallied St. Joseph. I only 
confusedly remember that they had made 
this arrangement after the miracles which 
marked the birth of the Saviour. 

Joseph made frequent halts towards the 
end of their journey, for the Blessed 
Virgin became more and more fatigued. 
They followed the road which was shown 
them by the young ass, and made a cir 
cuitous route of a day and a half to the 
east of Jerusalem. The father of Joseph 
had owned pastures in this country, and 
he knew it well. If they had directly 
crossed the desert, which is to the south, 
behind Bethany, they could have reached 



58 Ube IRativitp of 

Bethlehem in six hours ; but the road was 
mountainous and very inconvenient at 
this season. They followed, then, the 
young ass through the length of the 
valleys, and went a little towards the 
Jordan. 

Wednesday, the 2 1 st of November. To 
day I saw the holy travellers enter in the 
daytime into a large house of shepherds. 
This must be about three leagues from the 
place where John baptised in the Jordan 
and about seven leagues from Bethlehem. 
This is the house where thirty years after 
Jesus passed the night, the 1 1 th of October, 
the eve of the day on which for the first 
time after His baptism He passed before 
John the Baptist. Near this house was a 
separate barn, where they kept their tools 
and such things as the shepherds made 
use of. In the court was a fountain sur 
rounded with baths which received the 
water of this fountain through pipes. The 



ur %otb 3esus Gbrist. 59 

master of this house must have had a large 
property : there was there an extensive 
cultivation of land. I saw a number of 
servants come and go, who there took 
their meals. 

The master of the house received the 
travellers in a very friendly manner, and 
showed himself very obliging. He took 
them into a comfortable room and took 
care of the ass. A servant washed the 
feet of St. Joseph at the fountain and 
gave him other clothes whilst he cleaned 
his own, which were covered with dust. 
A female servant rendered the same as 
sistance to the Blessed Virgin. They 
took their repasts in this house and slept 
here. The mistress of the house was a 
very frivolous character, and she remained 
shut up in her room. She looked at the 
travellers without being seen ; and as she 
was young and vain, the beauty of the 
Blessed Virgin displeased her. She feared 



60 ftbe 1RatfY>it of 

also that Mary would speak to her, desire 
to stay in her house and be confined 
there ; so she had the want of politeness 
not to show herself, and took measures 
that the travellers should depart on the 
following day. This was the woman 
whom, thirty years after, Jesus found in 
this house blind and bent double, and 
whom He cured, after having given her 
some advice on her want of hospitality 
and her vanity. There were also some 
children in the house. The Holy Family 

passed the night there. 

Thursday, the 22nd of November. To 
day towards noon I saw the Holy Family 
quit the place where they had stayed the 
previous night. Some of the people of 
the house went with them a part of the 
way. After a short journey of about two 
leagues they arrived towards the evening 
at a place which crossed a highway 
bounded on each side by a long row of 



ur Xorfc Jesus Cbrist. 61 

houses with courts or gardens. Joseph 
had relatives living here. It seemed to 
me that they were the children of the 
second marriage of his step-father or his 
step-mother. These houses had a hand 
some appearance. They passed, however, 
this place from one end to the other ; 
then, about half a league from there, they 
turned to the right in the direction of 
Jerusalem, and arrived at a large inn, in 
the court of which was a fountain with 
many conduits. There were many people 
assembled together celebrating a funeral. 

The interior of the house, in the centre 
of which was a fireplace with a tunnel for 
the smoke, had been transformed into a 
large apartment by the taking away of 
the movable partitions which ordinarily 
constituted several rooms ; behind the 
fireplace were suspended some black hang 
ings and in the front stood something 
which resembled a bier covered with 



62 Ube IFlativntp ot 

<c 

black. There were several men praying 
there ; they wore long black robes and 
over these shorter white ones. Some of 
them had a kind of black maniple with 
fringe fastened to the arm. Some women 
were in another room completely covered 
by their vestments. They sat on some 
low chests and were weeping. The 
master of the house, altogether engaged 
in the funeral ceremonies, only made 
signs for the travellers to enter : but the 
servants received them very well and 
took care of them ; they prepared for 
them a separate lodging with suspended 
mats which much resembled a tent. 
Later on I saw the hosts visit the Holy 
Family and talk with them in a friendly 
way. They had no longer on their 
white vestments. Joseph and Mary, after 
having taken a little food, prayed together 
and took their rest. 

Friday, the 23rd of November. To-day 



r Xorfc Jesus (Ibrist. 6 3 

towards .noon Joseph and Mary set for 
ward on their journey to Bethlehem, from 
which they were about three leagues 
distant. The mistress of the house 
pressed them to stay, as it appeared to 
her that Mary might be delivered at any 
moment. Mary replied, after having 
lowered her veil, that she had still thirty- 
six hours to wait. I am not sure that 
she did not say thirty-eight. This woman 
would have taken care of them without 
any charge ; not, however, in her own 
house, but in another building. I saw 
when they were leaving that Joseph spoke 
to the host about his asses : he praised 
them very much, and said he had taken 
the young ass with him in order that he 
might pledge it in case of necessity. As 
his host spoke of the difficulty of getting 
lodgings in Bethlehem, Joseph told him 
he had friends there and was sure of 
being well received. It always gave me 



64 Ube 1ftativ>ft of 

pain to hear him speak with confidence 
of the good reception that awaited him : 
he spoke of it again to Mary on the 
journey. It is clear that even holy 
persons may be deceived. 



BETHLEHEM. ARRIVAL OF THE HOLY 
FAMILY. 

FRIDAY, the 23rd of November. The dis 
tance of the way from their last resting- 
place to Bethlehem would be about three 
leagues ; they made a circuitous route at 
the north of Bethlehem and approached 
the city on the south side. They made a 
halt under a tree outside of their route. 
Mary dismounted from the ass and put 
her clothes in order ; then Joseph pro 
ceeded forward with her towards a large 
building surrounded with other smaller 
buildings and courts. They were still 
a few minutes from Bethlehem. There 



ur OLorfc Sesus Gbrtet 65 

were trees there, and many people were 
preparing tents all about. It was an old 
house belonging to the family of David, 
and which had belonged to Joseph s 
family. Some relatives or acquaintances 
of Joseph lived there still ; but they 
treated him like a stranger, and would 
not recognise him. This was now the 
house where they received the taxes for 
the Roman Government. Joseph, accom 
panied by the Blessed Virgin, and holding 
the ass by the bridle, proceeded to this 
house, for all persons who arrived were 
bound to make it known there, and they 
there received a billet without which they 
were not allowed to enter Bethlehem. 

The Sister said afterwards, with some 
intervals in her statement : The young ass 
is no longer with them ; it runs round the 
city towards the south : there was there a 
little valley. Joseph has entered into the 
large building. Mary is in a little house 



66 Ube IRativits of 

with some women ; they are very kind to 
her, and give her something to eat. 
These women cook for the soldiers : 
they are Roman soldiers, who had straps 
round their loins. The season is very 
pleasant here, and not very cold. The 
sun is seen above the mountain, which is 
between Jerusalem and Bethania. They 
have here a most beautiful view. Joseph 
is in a large room which is not on the 
ground floor : they ask him who he is, 
and they consult the large scrolls which 
are hanging on the walls ; they unfold 
them, and read there his genealogy and 
also that of Mary. They did not appear 
to know that she also, by Joachim, de 
scended in a direct line from David. The 
man asked him where his wife was. 

It is six years since the people of this 
country had been regularly taxed. There 
had been a good deal of disorder and 
confusion. This impost had been two 



<Sur Xorfc Jesus Gbrist. 67 

months in operation : it had been paid 
from time to time during the past seven 
years, but not regularly ; it has now to 
be paid double. Joseph has arrived 
rather late for the payment of the duty, 
but they have treated him very politely. 
He has not yet paid. They asked him 
what were his means of subsistence, and 
he replied that he had no landed pro 
perty that he lived by his trade, and 
that he also received assistance from his 
mother-in-law. 

There were a great many writers and 
important officials in the house : in the 
upper part were Romans and many sol 
diers ; there were also Pharisees, Saddu- 
cees, priests, elders, and a number of 
Scribes and functionaries, both Jews and 
Romans. There was no meeting of this 
kind at Jerusalem, but in several other 
parts of the country; for example, at Mag- 
dalum, near the Lake of Gennesareth, 



68 Ube 1Ratfv>ft ot 

where the people of Galilee came to 
pay as well as the people of Sidon, in 
consequence, as I believe, of certain 
commercial arrangements. It is only 
those who have no landed property who 
are obliged to go to the place of their 
birth. 

The produce of the tax for the next 
three months will be divided into three 
parts, of which each has a different des 
tination. The first is for the benefit of 
the Emperor Augustus, Herod, and 
another prince who dwelt in the neigh 
bourhood of Egypt. He had taken part 
in a war and possessed certain rights over 
a portion of the country, and on this ac 
count something had to be paid to him. 
The second part was for the building of 
the Temple : it seemed to me that it had 
to be applied to pay off a debt. The 
third part should be for the widows and 
the poor, who have received nothing for a 



(Ibvtst. 6 9 

long while ; but, as happens nowadays, 
the money scarcely ever goes to the right 
persons. Good pretexts are given for 
raising the duty, and almost all remains 
in the hands of powerful people. 

When what concerned St. Joseph was 
arranged they made the Blessed Virgin 
also come before the writers ; but they 
did not read their papers to her. They 
told St. Joseph that he need not have 
brought his wife with him, and they had 
the appearance of joking with him about 
the youth of Mary, which caused him 
slight confusion. 



JOSEPH IN VAIN SEEKS FOR A LODGING. 
THEY GO TO THE GROTTO OF THE 
CRIB. 

THEY then entered into Bethlehem, in 
which the houses were separated from 
each other by considerable spaces. They 



70 Ube Iflativntp of 

entered across some rubbish and by a 
gate which was fallen into decay. Mary 
remained quietly with the ass at the end 
of the street, and Joseph searched in vain 
for a lodging in the first houses, for there 
were many strangers in Bethlehem and 
many people were running here and there. 
He returned to Mary and told her that he 
could find nowhere to lodge there, and that 
they must go on further into the city. He 
led the ass by the bridle whilst the Blessed 
Virgin walked by his side. When they 
were come to the end of another street 
Mary remained again near the ass while 
Joseph went from house to house without 
being able to find one where they would 
receive him. He soon returned very much 
troubled. This was repeated several times, 
and sometimes the Blessed Virgin had a 
long time to wait : everywhere the place 
was taken up, everywhere he was repulsed, 
and he ended by telling Mary that they 



ur Xorfc Sesus Gbrist. 71 

must go to another part of Bethlehem, 
where they would be sure to find what they 
wanted. They then retraced their steps 
in the direction contrary to that which 
they had taken in coming when they 
turned to the south. They then passed 
through a street which seemed rather a 
country road as the houses were isolated 
and on slight elevations. 

Arrived at the other side of Bethlehem, 
where the houses were still more scattered, 
they found a large empty space situated 
in a hollow ; it was like a deserted field 
in the city. There was there a kind of 
shed, and a short distance from it a large 
tree, like a lime tree, with a smooth trunk, 
whose branches extended widely and 
formed a kind of roof over it. Joseph led 
the Blessed Virgin to this tree ; he ar 
ranged a convenient seat for her with 
bundles at the foot of the trunk, in order 
that she might rest whilst he sought again 



72 ITbe 1Ratf\nt of 

for a lodging in the neighbouring houses. 
The ass stood still with its head turned 
towards the tree. Mary remained at first 
standing, leaning against the trunk of the 
tree. Her robe of white wool, had no 
belt, and fell about her in folds ; her 
head was covered with a white veil. 
Many persons passed by and looked at 
her, not knowing that their Saviour was 
so near them. How patient, humble, and 
resigned she was. She had to wait a 
long time, and at last she sat down 
upon the rugs, her hands joined on her 
breast, and with her head bowed down. 
Joseph returned to her in great trouble : 
he had not found a lodging. The friends 
of whom he had spoken to the Blessed 
Virgin would scarcely notice him. He 
shed tears, and Mary consoled him. He 
went again from house to house ; but as, 
in order the more to induce them to con 
sent, he had spoken of the near approach 



ut Xovfc Scans Gbrist. 73 

of his wife s confinement, this drew upon 
him a more distinct refusal. The place 
was solitary ; but in the end some people 
passing by looked from a distance with 
curiosity, as is usual if any one is seen 
remaining a long time in the same 
place towards the close of the day. I 
believe that some of them spoke to Mary 
and asked her who she was. At last 
Joseph returned ; he was so much 
troubled that he hardly dare come near 
her. He told her it was of no use, but 
that he knew further on in the city a 
spot where the shepherds often stayed 
when they came to Bethlehem with their 
flocks, and that they would find there at 
least a shelter. He knew the place from 
his youth : when his brothers tormented 
him he had often retired there to es 
cape from their persecutions. He said 
if the shepherds came there he could 
easily arrange with them, but that they 

5 



74 Ube IRativitp of 

were rarely here at this season of 
the year. He added, when they were 
quietly settled he would make further in 
quiries. They then went away by the 
eastern side of Bethlehem, following a 
deserted path which turned to the left. 
It was a road like one which is found in 
walking by the side of the dilapidated 
walls, ditches, and fortifications of a small 
city in ruins. The road at first rose a 
little, it then descended the slope of a 
small hill, and led them a few minutes to 
the east of Bethlehem, before the place 
they were seeking, near a hill or an old 
rampart, in front of which stood some 
trees. They were green trees (firs or 
cedars), and other trees which had little 
leaves like box leaves. 

I have learned many things which took 
place in ancient times in the Grotto of the 
Crib. I remember only that Seth, the 
child of promise, was there conceived and 



Xorfc 3C9U8 Cbrtst. 75 

brought into the world by Eve, after a 
penitence of seven years. 

It was there that the angel told her 
that God had given her this offspring in 
the place of Abel. Seth was concealed 
and nourished in this grotto and in that 
of Maraha, for his brothers sought his life 
as the children of Jacob did that of 
Joseph. At a more recent epoch, when 
men lived in these grottos, I have often 
seen them make excavations in the stone 
so that they and their children could 
sleep there comfortably on the skins of 
beasts or on beds of grass. The excava 
tion made in the rock under the crib 
probably served for the bed of Seth, or 
the subsequent occupiers of the grotto. 
Of this, however, I am not sure. 



76 TTbe 1ftativnt of 

THE HOLY FAMILY ENTER INTO THE 
GROTTO OF THE CRIB. 

FRIDAY, the 23rd of November. It was 
already late when they arrived at the 
entrance to the grotto. The young ass 
which, since they had entered into the 
paternal house of Joseph, had run about 
all round the city, came there to meet 
them, and began joyfully to leap about 
near them. The Blessed Virgin then 
said to Joseph : " See, it is certainly the 
will of God that we go in here." Joseph 
placed the ass under a kind of roof 
which there was before the entrance of the 
grotto : he prepared a. seat for the Blessed 
Virgin and she sat down upon it whilst 
he went to procure a light at the entrance 
of the grotto. The entrance was partially 
obstructed by bundles of straw and mats 
placed against the walls. There were also 
in the grotto many things which were in 
the way, and Joseph cleared them away 



XorD Jesus Cbrist. 77 

so as to prepare a convenient place for 
the Blessed Virgin on the eastern side of 
the grotto. He fastened a lighted lamp 
to the wall and brought Mary in, who 
placed herself on a couch of rest which 
he had prepared for her with coverlets 
and some bundles. He excused himself 
very humbly for only being able to pro 
cure her such a poor lodging, but Mary 
inwardly was contented and joyful. 

When she was properly settled Joseph 
went out with a leathern bottle, which he 
carried with him, behind the hill, into the 
meadow where a small brook was flowing. 
He filled the bottle with water and 
brought it into the grotto. He then went 
into the city and procured some small 
dishes and some charcoal. The Sabbath 
was near, and in consequence of the 
numerous strangers who required a num 
ber of indispensable articles, they had 
set up tables at the corners of the streets 



78 ZTbe 1Rativ>ft of 

on which there were provisions that might 
be required. I believe there were there 
people who were not Jews. 

Joseph returned carrying the lighted 
charcoal in a kind of grated box. He 
placed them at the entrance of the grotto, 
lighted the fire with a small piece of dry 
wood, and then brought the repast, which 
consisted of small cakes and some dry 
fruits. When they had eaten and prayed 
Joseph prepared a couch for the Blessed 
Virgin. He spread over a litter of rushes 
a coverlet similar to those which I had 
seen in the house of St. Anne, and placed 
another rolled-up coverlet to support her 
head. After having brought in the ass 
and fastened it to a spot where it would 
be out of the way, he stopped up the 
openings of the grotto by which the air 
came in, and arranged a place to sleep for 
himself in the entrance of the grotto. 

When the Sabbath commenced he re- 



Xorfc Jesus Cbrist. 79 

mained with the Blessed Virgin under a 
lamp and recited with her the prayers of 
the Sabbath : he then quitted the grotto 
and went into the city. Mary wrapped 
herself up to take some rest. During the 
absence of Joseph I saw the Blessed Vir 
gin pray on her knees : then she stretched 
herself on the coverlet reposing on her 
side; her head reposed upon her arm which 
was placed upon the pillow. Joseph re 
turned later on : he prayed again and 
humbly placed himself on his bed at 
the entrance of the grotto. 

Saturday, the 24th of November. To 
day the Sister was very unwell and could 
only say very little. She communicated, 
however, as follows : 

The Blessed Virgin passed the Sabbath 
in the Grotto of the Crib praying and med 
itating with great fervour. Joseph went 
out sometimes: he probably went to the 
synagogue of Bethlehem. I saw them 



8o Ube iRatfvits of 

eat the food prepared on the preceding 
day and pray together. In the afternoon, 
at which time the Jews generally take a 
walk on the Sabbath-day, Joseph led the 
Blessed Virgin to the Grotto of the tomb 
of Maraha, the nurse of Abraham. She 
remained some time in this grotto which 
was more spacious than that of the crib ; 
and where Joseph arranged a seat for her. 
She stayed also under the tree which 
stood near, always praying and medi 
tating until the close of the Sabbath. 
Joseph then brought her back. Mary 
had told her husband that the birth of 
the child would take place on this day 
at midnight, for at that hour would 
terminate the nine months which had 
passed since the salutation of the angel 
of the Lord : she had prayed him to do 
all they could to honour in the best manner 
the entrance into the world of the child 
promised by God and supernaturally con- 



ur XorD Jesus Cbnst. 81 

ceived. She had asked him also to pray 
with her for those hard-hearted people 
who had refused to give him hospitality. 
Joseph offered the Blessed Virgin to get 
some pious women of Bethlehem whom he 
knew to come and assist her. She did 
not wish it, and she told him she should 
have no need of help from any one. 

Joseph went to Bethlehem before the 
close of the Sabbath, and as soon as the 
sun was set he bought some things which 
he required : a dish, a small low table, 
some fruits and dried grapes, which he 
brought to the Grotto of the Crib: he went 
from thence to the Grotto of Maraha and 
led back the Blessed Virgin to that of the 
crib, where she sat upon the coverlet. 
Joseph prepared some food : they ate and 
prayed together. He put up a division 
between the place which he had chosen 
to sleep in and the rest of the grotto by 
means of some poles, on which he hung 



82 ftbe Ittativntp of 

some mats which he found there. He 
gave the ass which was fastened to the 
wall of the grotto something to eat : he 
then filled the manger of the crib with 
reeds and grass and moss and spread a 
coverlet over it. 

As the Blessed Virgin had then told 
him that her time was at hand, and wished 
him to pray in his chamber, he suspended 
several lighted lamps from the roof and 
went out from the grotto as he had heard 
a noise near the entrance. He there 
found the young ass, which till then had 
been running about in the valley of the 
shepherds. It appeared very joyful and 
played and jumped about him : he fas 
tened it under the shed, which was be 
fore the grotto, and gave it some food. 

When he returned to the grotto, and 
before entering his retreat, he cast his eyes 
upon the Blessed Virgin. He saw her 
praying on her knees before the couch : 



ur %orfc Jesus Cbrist. 8 3 

her back was turned towards him and she 
was looking towards the east. She seemed 
to him as if surrounded by flames, and all 
the grotto seemed to shine with a super 
natural light. He looked at it as Moses 
when he saw the burning bush : then 
seized with a holy fear, he entered into 
his cell and prostrated himself with his 
face to the ground. 



THE BIRTH OF CHRIST. 

THE light which surrounded the Blessed 
Virgin became more and more brilliant : 
the light of the lamp prepared by Joseph 
could not be seen. When the hour 
of midnight arrived Mary was trans 
ported in an ecstasy. I saw her 
raised a certain height from the ground ; 
she had her hands crossed upon her 
breast. The light kept increasing around 



8 4 TOe 1Ratix>ft of 

her ; everything seemed to feel a joyful 
emotion, even things inanimate. The 
rock which formed the floor and the 
wall of the grotto were, as it were, alive 
with light. But soon I saw no more of 
the roof; a luminous path, whose bright 
ness continually increased, went from 
Mary to the highest heaven. Then 
was there a marvellous movement of 
the celestial glories, which, approaching 
nearer and nearer, appeared distinctly 
under the form of the angelic choirs. 
The Blessed Virgin, raised from the 
earth in her ecstasy, prayed and turned 
her eyes to her God, of whom she had 
become the mother, and who, a feeble 
new-born infant, was lying on the ground 
before her. 

I saw Our Saviour like a little shining 
infant, whose brilliance eclipsed all the 
surrounding splendour, lying upon the 
rug before the knees of the Blessed 



<S>ur Xorfc 3esus Cbttst. 85 



Virgin. He seemed to me very small, 
and to grow larger before my eyes ; but 
this was only the radiance of a light so 
dazzling that I can scarcely say how I 
could see it. 

The Blessed Virgin remained some 

time in ecstasy. Then I saw her place 

a linen cloth over the child ; but she did 

not touch Him nor take Him yet into her 

arms. After a short time I saw the In 

fant Jesus move, and I heard Him cry. 

It was then that the Blessed Virgin re 

covered the use of her senses. She took 

the child, wrapped it in the linen cloth 

with which she had covered it, and took 

it in her arms against her breast. I be 

lieve that she suckled it. I then saw 

angels around her in human form pros 

trate themselves before the new-born and 

adore Him. 

About an hour had elapsed since the 
birth of the child, when Mary called St. 



86 Ube IttatfvitE of 



Joseph, who was still praying with his 
face to the ground. Approaching, he 
prostrated himself, full of joy, humility, 
and fervour. It was only when Mary 
had induced him to press to his heart 
the sacred gift of the Most High, that 
he rose, received the Infant Jesus in his 
arms, and returned thanks to God with 
tears of joy. 

Then the Blessed Virgin swathed the 
Infant Jesus. Mary had only four linen 
cloths with her. I then saw Mary and 
Joseph sitting on the ground near each 
other. They did not speak, but seemed 
absorbed in contemplation. Before Mary, 
swathed as an ordinary child, was laid the 
new-born Jesus, beautiful and bright as 
lightning. " Ah ! " I exclaimed, " this 
place contains the Salvation of the whole 
world, and no one can doubt it." 

They then placed the infant in the crib. 
They had re-filled it with rushes and 



3esus Gbrist. 87 

beautiful plants, on which they had 
spread a coverlet. It was above the 
trough, hollowed in the rock to the 
right of the entrance to the grotto, 
which became larger there in a southerly 
direction. When they had placed the 
infant in the crib they both stood at the 
side, shedding tears of joy and chanting 
songs of praise. Joseph then arranged 
the sleeping couch and seat of the 
Blessed Virgin by the side of the crib. 
I saw her, both before and after the birth 
of Jesus, dressed in a white garment, 
which completely covered her. I saw 
her during the first days sitting, kneel 
ing, standing, or even lying on her side, 
and sleeping ; but neither ill nor fatigued. 



ZTbe Rattvitg ot 

THE " GLORIA IN EXCELSIS." THE 
BIRTH OF CHRIST ANNOUNCED TO 
THE SHEPHERDS. 

I SAW in many places, even in the most 
distant countries, an unusual joy and 
an extraordinary movement during this 
night. I saw the hearts of many good 
men animated with a joyous desire, and 
those of the wicked full of anguish and 
trouble. I saw many animals show their 
joy by their movements, the flowers raise 
their heads, plants and trees receive as it 
were new life and spread far and wide 
their perfumes. I saw also springs burst 
out of the ground. Thus at the moment 
that the Saviour was born an abundant 
spring burst forth in the grotto which is on 
the hill to the north of the Grotto of the 
Crib. Joseph saw it on the following day 
and prepared a place for it to run off. 
Over Bethlehem the sky was of a sombre 
red, whilst over the Grotto of the Crib, in 



Jesus Cbrtst. 8 9 

the valley near the Grotto of Maraha, and 
over the Valley of the Shepherds there 
was a shining vapour. 

In the Valley of the Shepherds, about a 
league and a half from the Grotto of the 
Crib, there was a hill at which vineyards 
commenced which extended from thence 
as far as Gaza. The cottages of three shep 
herds, who were the heads of the families 
of shepherds who lived in the neighbour 
hood, stood on the side of this hill. At a 
distance twice that from the Grotto of the 
Crib, was a tower called the Shepherd s 
Tower: it was a large pyramid shaped scaf 
folding of woodwork, having for its base 
blocks of stone placed in the midst of green 
trees, and built upon an isolated hill stand 
ing in the midst of the plain. It was sur 
rounded with staircases and galleries, with 
a kind of small round towers, the whole 
being as it were hung round with matting. 
It had some resemblance to those towers 



90 TTbe 1Rati\>it of 

of wood from the top of which they 
observed the stars in the country of the 
three Magi kings, and which had in the 
distance the appearance of a large ship 
with many masts and sails. There was 
a very extensive view from this tower 
over the surrounding country. Jerusalem, 
and even the Mountain of the Temptation 
in the Desert of Jericho could be seen 
from here. The shepherds had watchers 
there to look after the movements of their 
flocks, and to warn them by sounding a 
horn, in case of an incursion of robbers 
or soldiers, and whom they could see for 
a long distance from this spot. 

The families of the shepherds lived all 
about here within a radius of more than 
two leagues ; they occupied small isolated 
farms surrounded with gardens and fields. 
The place where they assembled to 
gether was near this tower. The guardians 
appointed to watch over the common 



<S>ur Xorfc Jesus Cbrist. 91 

property dwelt here on the side of the 
hill where the tower stood; there were 
cottages, and separate from these a large 
shed with many apartments, where the 
wives of the guardians lived and prepared 
the food. On this night I saw the flocks 
near the tower ; a part were in the open 
air, another part were under a shed near 
the hill of the three shepherds. 

When Jesus was born I saw the three 
shepherds struck with the unusual aspect 
of this marvellous night. Standing near 
their cottages, they looked round and 
observed with wonder an extraordinary 
light above the Grotto of the Crib. I saw 
also that the shepherds who were near 
the tower were excited. I saw them 
mount the scaffolding and look towards 
the side of the Grotto of the Crib. While 
the three shepherds had their eyes turned 
towards heaven, I saw a luminous cloud 
descend before them. As it came near I 



92 Ube 1Rattv>it of 

observed a movement. I saw forms and 
figures become visible, and I heard har 
monious songs of a joyful kind, and 
which became more and more distinct. 
The shepherds were at first afraid ; but 
an angel appeared before them and said : 
" Fear not ; I come to announce to you 
great joy for all the people of Israel : for 
to-day is born for you in the city of David 
a Saviour who is Christ the Lord. And 
this is the sign by which you shall know 
Him : you shall find an infant wrapped 
in swaddling clothes, and laid in a 
manger." Whilst the angel announced 
this the splendour increased all around 
him, and I saw six or seven large figures 
of angels, beautiful and shining. They 
had in their hands something like a long 
streamer, whereon was written something 
in large letters of the size of a hand, and 
I heard them praise God and sing : 
" Glory to God in the highest heavens, 



ur XorD 3C9U9 Gbnst. 93 

and on earth peace to men of good 
will." 

The shepherds of the town had the 
same apparition, but a little later. The 
angels also appeared to a third group of 
shepherds near a fountain, situated three 
leagues from Bethlehem to the east of the 
Shepherd s Tower. I did not see the shep 
herds go immediately to the Grotto of the 
Crib, from which one part of them were 
a league and a half distant, and the others 
double that distance. 

The Sister saw during the night of the 
Nativity many things touching the precise 
determination of the time of the birth of 
Christ ; but her state of sickness and the 
visits which were paid to her on the day 
following, which was the festival of St. 
Catherine, her patron Saint, caused her to 
forget a good deal. However, a short 
time afterwards, being in an ecstasy, she 
communicated some fragments of her 



Zlfoe IFlativntp ot 

visions, when it is remarkable that she 
always saw the numbers written in Roman 
letters, and that she had often difficulty in 
reading them ; but she explained them, 
repeating the name of the letters in the 
order in which she saw them, or she 
traced them with her fingers : this time, 
however, she told the numbers. 

You can read it, she said, it is marked 
there. Jesus Christ was bom before the 
year of the world 3997 was ended ; after 
wards the four years, less a portion of a year, 
which elapsed between the Nativity and 
the end of the year 4000 were forgotten, 
for subsequently they have made our new 
era commence four years later. 

One of the Consuls of Rome was then 
named Lentutus : he was the ancestor of 
St. Moses, priest and martyr, of whom I 
have here a relic, and who lived in the 
time of St. Cyprien. Also the Lentutus 
who became the friend of St. Peter in 



(SHir Xor& Jesus Cbrtst. 95 

Rome was descended from him. Herod 
had reigned forty years. During seven of 
those years he was not independent, but 
he already oppressed the country and 
practised great cruelty. He died, if I 
mistake not, in the sixth year of the life of 
Jesus. I believe that his death was kept 
secret for some time. He was sanguinary 
up to the time of his death, and in his last 
days did much evil. I saw him drag him 
self along into a large room all cushioned. 
He had a lance at hand and tried to strike 
those who came near him. Jesus was born 
a little before the thirty-fourth year of his 
reign. Two years before Mary entered 
the Temple, Herod made some erections 
in it. It was not a new Temple which he 
made, only changes and decorations. The 
flight into Egypt took place when Jesus 
was nine months old, and the Massacre of 
the Innocents when He was still in His 
second year. She mentioned also several 



96 Ube 1RatiY>it\? of 

circumstances and several facts from the 
life of Herod which show how she saw 
everything in detail ; but it was impossible 
to put into order what she had related at 
broken intervals. 

The birth of Jesus Christ took place in 
a year in which the Jews reckon thirteen 
months. It is an arrangement analagous 
to that of our bissextile years. I believe 
also that the Jews have twice in the year 
months of twenty and twenty-two days. I 
understood something of this in reference 
to their festival days, but of this I have 
only a confused recollection. I remarked 
also that several times they made changes 
in the calendar. This was at the time of 
their coming out of the captivity, when they 
were working at the Temple. I saw the 
man who changed the calendar and I have 
known his name. 



(SHu* Xovfc Jesus Christ. 97 

ADORATION OF THE SHEPHERDS. 

SUNDAY, the 25th of November. At the 
first break of day the three principal shep 
herds came from their little hill to the 
Grotto of the Crib, with the presents which 
they had prepared. They were little animals 
very much resembling roe deer : if they 
were small goats they differed from those 
of our country. They had long necks 
and beautiful shining eyes ; they were 
very graceful and nimble in their pace. 
The shepherds led them along attached 
to thin cords : they also carried on their 
shoulders birds which they had killed, and 
other birds under their arms of a larger 
size. 

They knocked timidly at the door of 
the Grotto of the Crib and Joseph came 
to meet them. They repeated to him 
what the angels had announced to them, 
and told him that they were come to pay 
their homage to the infant of promise 

6 



98 Ube IRatixnts of 

and to present Him with their offerings. 
Joseph accepted their presents with 
humble gratitude, and conducted them to 
the Blessed Virgin, who was sitting near 
the crib and holding the Infant Jesus on 
her knees. The three shepherds knelt 
down humbly and remained a long time 
in silence absorbed in feelings of inde 
scribable joy. They afterwards sang the 
canticle which they had heard the angels 
sing and a psalm which I have forgotten. 
When they wished to retire the Blessed 
Virgin gave them the little Jesus, whom 
they held in their arms one after another. 
Then, weeping, they gave Him back to 
her and quitted the grotto. 

Sunday, the 25th of November, in the 
evening. The Sister was during the 
whole of this day in great suffering, 
both physical and mental. This even 
ing, being just asleep, she found herself 
transported to the Promised Land ; as, 



& 3esus Christ. 99 

independently of her contemplations of 
the Nativity, she had besides a series 
of visions on the first year of the ministry 
of Jesus, and precisely at the same time 
on the fast of forty days she exclaimed 
with naive astonishment : " Ah, how 
touching is this ! I see on one side 
Jesus at the age of thirty years fasting 
and tempted by the devil in a cavern 
of the desert ; and on the other side I 
saw Him a new-born babe, adored by 
the shepherds in the Grotto of the Crib." 
After these words she rose from her bed 
with surprising rapidity, ran to the opened 
door of her chamber, and as if intoxicated 
with joy, called the friends who were in 
the anteroom, saying to them : " Come, 
come quickly, and adore the infant who is 
near me." She then returned to her bed 
with the same rapidity, and began, whilst 
her face shone with enthusiasm and fer 
vour, to sing in a clear and marvellously 



ioo ZTbe ttattoftg of 

expressive voice the Magnificat, the Gloria 
in Excelsis, and other unknown canticles 
in a simple style of profound meaning 
and partly in rhyme. She sang the 
seconds also of one of these airs. 
There appeared in her an emotion of 
joy singularly touching. This is what 
she related on the following morning : 

Yesterday evening many shepherds, 
with their wives and even their children, 
came from the Shepherd s Tower, which 
is four leagues from the grotto. They 
brought birds, eggs, honey, skeins of 
thread of different colours, small packets 
resembling raw silk, and bouquets of a 
plant resembling the rush, and which 
had large leaves. This plant had ears 
full of large grains. When they had 
given their presents to Joseph they 
humbly approached the crib and, kneel 
ing, they sang some very beautiful psalms 
the Gloria in Excelsis and some short 



Xorfc Jesus Cbrist. IQI 

canticles I sang with them. They sang 
in several parts, and in one of these I 
took the second. I remember very 
nearly the following words : " Oh, little 
infant, red as the rose, you appear as 
the messenger of peace." When they 
took leave they bent over the crib, 
as if they embraced the little Jesus. 

Monday, the 26th of November. I 
saw to-day the three shepherds assist in 
turn St. Joseph to arrange everything con 
veniently in the Grotto of the Crib and in 
the side grottos. I saw also near the 
Blessed Virgin several pious women, who 
rendered her different services. They 
were Esseniens, who lived a short distance 
from the Grotto of the Crib, in a hollow 
situated to the south of the hill. They 
occupied near together a sort of chambers 
hollowed in the rock, some distance from 
the ground. They had small gardens 
near their houses, and instructed the 



102 tlbe Iflatfvfts ot 

children of their sect. It was St. Joseph 
who had induced them to come. He 
knew this society ever since his youth ; 
for when he fled from his brothers to the 
Grotto of the Crib he had more than once 
visited these pious women. They came 
one after another to the Blessed Virgin, 
bringing small quantities of provisions, 
and busied themselves with the cares of 
the household for the Holy Family. 

Tuesday, the 2yth of November. 
This day I saw a very touching scene in 
the Grotto of the Crib. Joseph and Mary 
were standing near the crib, and looking 
on the Infant Jesus with deep tenderness. 
All at once the ass threw himself on his 
knees and bent his head to the ground. 
Mary and Joseph shed tears. This even 
ing a message came from St. Anne. An 
old man came from Nazareth with a widow 
relative of St. Anne, and who was her 
servant. They brought several little 



Gbrtet 103 

things for Mary. They were very much 
moved at the sight of the infant ; the 
old servant man shed tears of joy. They 
soon set out on their way to carry the 
news to St. Anne. The female servant 
remained with the Blessed Virgin. 

Wednesday, the 28th of November. 
To-day I saw the Blessed Virgin with the 
Infant Jesus and the servant leave the 
Grotto of the Crib for several hours. I 
saw her conceal herself in the side grotto, 
where a spring of water had burst forth 
after the birth of Jesus Christ. She re 
mained nearly four hours in this grotto, 
where subsequently she spent two days. 
Joseph, at the break of day, had so ar 
ranged it that she could stay there without 
great inconvenience. They went there in 
consequence of an inward admonition 
that several persons would come to-day 
from Bethlehem to the Grotto of the Crib. 
I believe they were emissaries of Herod. 



io 4 TTbe IRativftE ot 

In consequence of the shepherds con 
versation, the report had spread about 
that something miraculous had taken 
place at this spot at the time of the birth 
of a child. I saw these men exchange 
words with St. Joseph, whom they found 
before the grotto with the shepherds ; and 
they left him sneeringly when they had 
seen his poverty and simplicity. The 
Blessed Virgin, after having remained 
about four hours in this side grotto, 
returned to the crib with the Infant 
Jesus. 

The Grotto of the Crib enjoyed a sweet 
tranquillity. Nobody came from Bethle 
hem ; the shepherds alone were in com 
munication with it. The apparition to 
the shepherds at the hour of the birth 
of Jesus had caused that all the good 
people of the valleys had heard speak 
of the marvellous child of promise. They 
came now to honour the infant. 



(SHir Xorfc Sesus Gbrtst. 105 

Friday, the 3oth of November. To 
day many shepherds and other good 
people came to the Grotto of the Crib 
and honoured the Infant Jesus with 
great emotion. 

When everybody was gone away for 
the synagogue of Bethlehem, Joseph got 
ready in the grotto the lamp for the Sab 
bath, which had seven wicks, lighted it, 
and placed it on a little table on which 
were scrolls containing prayers, and under 
this lamp he celebrated the Sabbath with 
the Blessed Virgin and the servant of St. 
Anne. 

Monday, the 3rd of December. This 
evening I saw Elizabeth come from Juttah 
to the Grotto of the Crib, riding on an ass, 
which was led by an old servant. Mary 
and she embraced with feelings of in 
expressible joy. She pressed the Infant 
Jesus to her heart, shedding tears. The 
Blessed Virgin related to her cousin every- 



thing which had happened to her up to 
the present time, and when she spoke of 
what she had suffered in seeking for a 
lodging at Bethlehem Elizabeth wept with 
all her heart. 

During the preceding days I have often 
seen Mary show her child to some visitors 
covered with a veil and quite naked, with 
the exception of the cloth round His body. 
At other times I have seen Him com 
pletely swathed. 



THE END. 



BURNS AND OATES, LTD., PRINTERS, LONDON, W. 




EMMERICH, A.C. 
The Nativity. 



BC 
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