" 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
Monday, April 14, 2014
Father John Mary Jung, totally opposed to mysticism, was urged to read Catherine Emmerich’s book and through the Daughters of Charity, had already received a copy.
Ordained in 1875, he also was a teacher and chaplain to the Daughters in Smyrna. Sister Marie and Father Poulin discussed Father Jung and she was convinced he’ s the right man to help seek Mary’s home in Ephesus.
They decided to go during the summer months. That gave them six months to prepare seriously for this experience, to quiet their spirits, to spend time in developing a more mature approach to this consideration.
There were two circumstances that confirmed their decision.
1 – Father John Mary Jung, an old non-commissioned officer, a professor of Holy Scriptures, of Hebrew, of natural sciences, of mathematics and therefore a teacher of science at the College of Sacre Coeur, was also well-known as being the most opposed to everything that concerned mysticism, dreams and visions.
Thus, he was one of the adversaries of Catherine Emmerich and one of the most implacable. He also said, “Girls dreams.” For him, the matter was finished.
“Should I waste my time reading these absurdities?” Father Jung thoroughly examined his conscience. “Am I supposed to sin?” And so on and so on.
As Father Poulin finished reading, the book had captured his attention. He had absorbed all the details and became very much interested, so much so that he held onto the book and took it home to study it and just how he might attack it. That skepticism remained about Catherine Emmerich, her visions and his determination to prove her as that sister with the “girlish dreams.”
Father Poulin had asked his colleague Father Jung to read it. Since Father Jung was chaplain to the Daughters, he already had received a copy of the book. They had politely pushed it off onto him.
Father Jung was still irritated over the book. He actually had more opposition to mysticism than Father Poulin and had absolutely no appreciation for it at all. He believed these were the ravings of a sick, imaginative Anne Catherine Emmerich and felt she had gone a little too far in her attempt to entice Father Poulin into believing in mysticism.
Father Jung was born on Christmas Day, 25 December 1846 in Grosbliderstroff (Moselle) within the limits of Lorraine and Sarre to a profoundly Christian family. One of his brothers followed him into the Congregation, and two of his sisters and three nieces became religious in the Congregation of Providence in Peltre.
He had an excellent memory and was attracted to foreign languages. At an early age, he learned German; his village had a consequential number of Jews who facilitated his learning Hebrew. His father sent him to school in Sarreguemines, then to minor seminary in Montigny-Lez-Metz where his vocation to the priesthood first manifested itself.
In 1865, he attended the major seminary in Metz where serious doubts surfaced about his religious vocation, so he decided to embrace a military career. In the Army, he attained the rank of sergeant.
When the Germans were menacing the frontier with France in 1870, he left Montpellier for combat and was wounded in a field close to his paternal home. He was captured and taken to Saxony where a young German girl proposed to him. However, he refused and told her, “I have nothing of that which would give happiness to a woman.”
After he was liberated from prisoner-of-war status, he returned to France and again felt a call to the religious life. He entered the major seminary at Reims of which the Sulpicians had charge. He was ordained a priest on 22 May 1875.
Subsequently he taught in several places in France before being sent to the French School at Smyrna, an assignment he generously accepted. At Smyrna he taught science and was a most popular teacher among students as well as Greeks, Jews and Muslims. French naval officers in the area also appreciated him.
In the spring of 1891, a porter delivered a packet to Father Jung. He knew it was the book about Sister Anne Catherine Emmerich’s visions. “Thank you. Just put it over there,” he said to the porter, obviously annoyed.
Sister Marie had been a passionate adherent of Catherine Emmerich for a long time and had often said she had been searching for someone who would excavate the vicinities around Ephesus and try to locate the house and Mary’s grave that Catherine Emmerich had mentioned.
Since Father Jung celebrated mass at the French Hospital every day in the morning, Sister Marie had an opportunity to discuss Father Poulin’s discussions with Father Jung which led to her one thought, “I’ve found the right man!”
One morning during breakfast, Sister Marie and Father Jung discussed the matter, but the father, as an unrelenting skeptic, rejected everything. She contested his opinions with all her heart; she truly believed Catherine Emmerich’s visions weren’t nonsense nor so ridiculous as he liked to believe.
“I’ll send you the book,” she said one day. “Do promise me you’ll read it.”
This was the packet the porter delivered. Father Jung still felt he must prove these revelations a hoax, so in order to get rid of Sister Marie, he took the book at nine o’clock in the evening – after prayers – and before going to bed, opened it and started to read. He read the first page; then the second; then the third and finally the whole book right to the last line.
“It’s four o’clock in the morning . . . I’m still reading,” he said to himself.
Like Father Poulin, Father Jung had fallen under the charm of Anne Catherine Emmerich’s story.
Segment 12: The start of conversion of Father Jung.