Anne Catherine Emmerich (Sept. 8, 1774–Feb. 9, 1824) lived from early childhood in almost continual vision of scenes of the Old and New Testaments. By the time she had become (at 29) an Augustinian nun, the visions were concerned primarily with the life of Jesus.
In November 1812, she was permanently confined to bed, shortly thereafter received the stigmata, and was for the rest of her life sustained almost exclusively by water and the Eucharist. Many came to visit her, among them the poet Clemens Brentano, who was so affected by her radiance that he moved close by to record her visions.
On July 29, 1820, Anne Catherine began to communicate to Brentano scenes of the day-to-day life of Jesus, which in due course encompassed the better part of his ministry. She was able to describe in extraordinary detail the places Jesus visited, his miracles and healings, his teaching activity, and the people around him. Various editions of the visions have been compiled over the years, but only recently (2009) have Brentano’s complete notebooks (in 38 volumes) been published, and this new 4-volume edition benefits greatly from this resource.
Anne Catherine was so attuned to the life of Jesus that her visions included minute details of time and place. Along with other supplements, this definitive edition incorporates a day-by-day chronology and — during the days of Passion — a nearly hour-by-hour itinerary. It contains also 43 detailed maps specially drawn to depict Jesus’s journeys. Many efforts have been made to date events in the life of Jesus, but the dates offered in this edition differ from all previous results in that they derive from the application of modern chronological science to Anne Catherine’s visions as a coherent whole.
In addition, 149 illustrations drawn from the monumental work of the French painter James J. Tissot (1836–1902) — himself largely inspired by Anne Catherine’s visions — are distributed among the 4 volumes. Over the years many have attested to the transformative power of these visions, and on October 3, 2004, Anne Catherine was beatified by Pope John Paul II. It is the publisher’s hope that these visions, so engaging as historical narrative and so replete with spiritual insight, may open a gateway — for the many moderns who have fallen out of connection with the life and teaching of Jesus — to the earthly garden where the Spirit bloomed, and blossoms still.