Father Jung begins to select members of his archaeological crew, but as it turns out, Father Julien Gouyet, a French clergymen, becomes the first to find the Blessed Virgin Mary’s home through the visions of Anne Catherine Emmerich, but encountered a problem.
A quiet excitement began to overtake Sister Marie and the other Daughters as they took the matter of Mary’s home in Ephesus to prayer.
Father Jung had been on other excursions so he was named leader of this hunt. He selected Father Vervault, a Lazarist on holiday from Santorin House at Smyrna and a very much interested Vincentian, to participate; he picked a man named Thomaso, a servant of the college, to be their servant; and a man named Mr. Pelecas, a friend of Father Jung’s and free employee of the railway, to record the hunt.
In Ephesus, they engaged a large Black Muslim hunter well-acquainted with the area. For their protection, Mustapha carried a large rifle visible to everyone. He was a hunter by necessity, knew the mountain well enough to be their guide and they trusted him to also protect them from the evil doings and robbers that were in the mountain country.
Father Poulin had classes and didn’t join this team. Still, he would oversee the hunt and insisted that it be conducted in a most orderly, scholarly way so everyone could put this matter of Catherine Emmerich to rest.
Even before she came to the Middle East, Sister Marie had grown interested in the writings of Sister Anne Catherine, the German Augustinian nun, visionary and stigmatist. Her visions had been recorded by Clemens von Brentano, a German romantic poet. Brentano had published a series of books later and in particular, Anne Catherine’s work, The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Sister Marie had read her work and became convinced that in-depth detail with which Anne Catherine had seen the Blessed Virgin’s life and death was authentic. Sister Marie believed that the visions of Our Lady’s last home that Anne Catherine declared was in Ephesus, Turkey, still existed and in fact, needed to be found and secured for pilgrimage.
Anne Catherine Emmerich was born on 8 September 1774 in a farm house at Flamschen, a farming community at Coesfield in the Diocese of Munster, Westphalia, Germany. Her parents were poor and at age twelve, she was bound out to a farmer. She entered the Augustinian convent at age twenty-eight in 1802 at Agnetenberg, Dulmen where her sisters believed she had received supernatural favors. This was due to multiple ecstasies she appeared to experience.
In 1813, she was confined to bed and stigmata reported on her body. An Episcopal commission investigated and was reportedly convinced of the genuineness of the stigmata.
Five years later, Anne Catherine said that God had answered her prayer to be relieved of the stigmata and the wounds in her hands and feet closed. The others remained and on Good Friday, all were wont to reopen.
Clemens Brentano was induced to visit her at the time of her second examination in 1819, and to the famous poet’s great amazement, she recognized him.
Anne Catherine died in 1824 at Dulmen, but Brentano recorded her visions that filled forty volumes with detailed scenes and passages from the New Testament and the Life of the Virgin Mary.
The first process of her beatification began in 1892, but was delayed on several occasions because of concerns about historical and theological errors contained in the books published by Brentano. The process was suspended in 1928, but reopened again in 1973 and finally on 3 October 2004, Anne Catherine Emmerich was beatified by Pope John Paul II.
Sister Marie reread with her companions Anne Catherine’s descriptions and felt a powerful desire to see the visible evidence of the house that, according to the blessed German nun, Mary had occupied, and to contribute to the discovery of her tomb that one day must be found.
Legend has it, and it’s a strong probability, that John and Mary had come to Ephesus, the largest city in the Roman Empire, its greatest financial center, and that it had a mixture of various cultures of people.
St. Jerome (347-419) wrote about the geography of Jerusalem of the fourth century, but didn’t make any mention of a grave belonging to Mary, or of a monument built on her grave in Jerusalem or its vicinity. In St. Jerome’s lifetime, the only church dedicated to Mary was in Ephesus.
“After completing her third year here (in Ephesus), Mary had a great desire to go to Jerusalem. John and Peter took her there. She became very ill and lost so much weight in Jerusalem that everybody thought she would die so they prepared a grave for her. When it was finished, the Virgin Mary recovered and returned to Ephesus.
“The Virgin Mary became very weak after she returned, and at sixty-four years of age, she died. The saints around her performed a funeral ceremony and put the coffin they had specially prepared into a cave about two kilometers away from the house.” Anne Catherine said at this point in her vision that St. Thomas came there after Mary’s death and cried with sorrow because he had not been able to arrive in time. So his friends, not wanting to hurt his feelings, took him to the cave.
Anne Catherine continued: “When they came to the cave they prostrated themselves. Thomas and his friends walked impatiently to the door. St. John followed them. After they removed the bushes at the entrance of the cave, two of them went inside and kneeled in front of the grave. John neared the coffin, unlaced its ties, opened the lid and when they all approached it, they were stunned: Mary’s corpse was no longer in the shroud. But the shroud had remained intact. After this event, the mouth of the cave that contained the grave was closed and the house turned into a chapel.”
A French clergyman named Julien Gouyet had read Brentano’s book The Life of the Virgin Mary back in 1880, and Anne Catherine’s revelations. He tried to prove them by his writings but was unsuccessful, so he decided to go to Ephesus to see if the house said to belong to Mary fit the description in the book.
Upon his arrival in Ephesus, Father Gouyet questioned people who lived in villages around the area. He obtained information in Kirkindje where people were genuine descendents of the seven families that fell into slavery after the seizure of Ephesus by the Turks. It was they who gave the name of Panaghia Capouli (Door of the Virgin) to the house of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
According to the citizens, tradition held that after the crucifixion of Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary came to Ephesus with John. She hid in a cave named Kriphti Panaghia (in Greek, hidden virgin), then in Kavakli Panaghia. Still later, she moved toward the west on the Mount Bulbul-daga (in Turkish, mount of the Nightingale) where she lived until her death.
When Father Gouyet got to Ephesus, he discovered that Anne Catherine Emmerich’s descriptions to be exact to an astonishing degree. He was the first to discover the ruins of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s home in Ephesus. Gouyet believed the house belonged to the Virgin Mary, sent his related reports to Archbishop Andre Timoni, to the diocesan authorities of Paris and even to Rome. But he did not receive the attention he had expected. No one believed them.
Segment 14: Father Jung's first excursion doesn't work out but the second one becomes more productive.
" I am not a priest and cannot bless them, but all that the heart of a mother can ask of God for her children, I ask of Him and will never cease to ask Him." ~ Sister Marie