Anna Katharina Emmerick

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Representation from the 18th century
The ecstatic virgin Katharina Emmerich , painting by Gabriel von Max , 1885

Anna Katharina Emmerick (* around September 8, 1774 in Coesfeld ; † February 9, 1824 in Dülmen , Westphalia ) was an Augustinian choirwoman and mystic . In 2004 she was beatified by Pope John Paul II . Her feast day is February 9th.


Birthplace in Coesfeld -Flamschen
Holy Cross Dülmen, memorial: reconstructed death room with original furnishings
Holy Cross Dülmen, crypt: grave

Anna Katharina Emmerick (also: Emmerich ) was born in the Coesfeld Flamschen peasantry as a child of poor cootters . She came from the extensive Jewish family Gomperz-Emmerich , but her ancestors had converted from Judaism to Catholicism. Her birthday is September 8th, 1774, but this is the day of the entry in the baptismal register of St. Jakobi (Coesfeld) , whereby September 30th 1774 is even mentioned in a baptism certificate because of a transmission error. The actual birthday, however, is unknown, but should be close to that day.

As a child she had a close relationship with the Church and had a good knowledge of the Bible. She went to communion and prayer several times a week, and even then she mentioned visions and revelations. She only attended school for four months. At the age of 13 she hired herself as a maid. First, she completed an apprenticeship as a seamstress and worked in the Coesfeld area. When an advantageous marriage presented itself, she revealed to her appalled parents that she intended to go to the monastery. After her parents had agreed, albeit reluctantly, she entered the Agnetenberg monastery in Dülmen as the sister of the common life and was dressed as a novice on November 13, 1802 . After the community had accepted the stricter Augustinian rule, Anna Katharina made her solemn profession as Augustinian choirwoman of the Congregation of Windesheim on November 13, 1803 in the hands of the provost of the Augustinian canons of Windesheim in Frenswegen .

During her time at the monastery , she became ill and in great pain frequently. When the monastery was closed in the course of secularization in December 1811, Anna Katharina ran the household of the priest Lambert, who had emigrated from France . However, she soon became so sick that she could no longer leave the house. The wounds of Jesus Christ appeared on her body . For the next twelve years she had mystical visions in which she suffered the Passion of Christ every Friday . During this time she experienced events from the biblical history of creation and salvation in her visions.

The state investigation into the Emmerick case

The alleged visions of the nun caught the attention of the faithful, but also of government and church bodies. The Prussian state initiated investigations that attempted to expose Anna Katharina Emmerick as a fraudster. However, no evidence of fraud could be provided. However, the homeopath Clemens Maria Franz von Bönninghausen , who was entrusted with the state investigation of the Emmerick case, came to the conclusion that the nun's stigmata had been brought about by mechanical means and not of supernatural origin. In addition, these phenomena never occurred during the investigation periods.

"After the reasons given here, I am of the subjective conviction, whose objective justification can no longer be strictly proven because of the completely disappeared bleeding and crusts on the parts of the male, that the maid ACE

  1. completely capable of using their reason, their memory, and their other soul powers;
  2. weak, but not actually sick, and finally
  3. that the previously there, allegedly periodically bleeding wounds on the hands, feet, on the chest and around the head are neither to be regarded as the result of an illness nor as founded outside the sphere of the physical world, but as artificial and brought about with intent, therefore as to that Belonging to the class of disguised diseases, are to be considered. "
- from Bönninghausen 1820

The professor of medicine Franz von Druffel , who also belonged to this commission, wrote that the wounds did not originate from a "caustic agent, nor from suction by bloodworms ." ( Fv Druffel 1820 :) Although he also assumed a natural cause, he did not see any Evidence of fraud, as the sick person was not making any direct or indirect profit from her illness.

Professor Bernard Bodde , medical advisor and chemist, reacted much more sharply and attacked the side of the church authorities because of their handling of this case.

The last years of Anna Katharina Emmerick's life

Between 1819 and 1824 the writer Clemens Brentano stayed permanently in Dülmen, visited the sick and very weak nun regularly and asked her questions about her visions. The results of these interviews, which were guided by Brentano's interest in the most coherent possible presentation of biblical history, he wrote down in extensive notes, which he later worked out into books.

Anna Katharina Emmerick died in 1824 and was buried in the new cemetery just outside the city of Dülmen. Her estate was viewed and sorted by the religious poet Luise Hensel . After the beatification process was resumed, in 1975 her bones were reburied in the crypt of the Holy Cross Church, which was built next to the cemetery in 1938 . In 2010 a mummified woman's hand was found by chance in the Church of St. Pankratius in Buldern while preparing for a ceremony with a relic of St. Pankratius . Church circles suspect that it came from Emmerick. Luise Hensel could have taken this hand during the first exhumation of the corpse, which she describes in her diary. The authenticity of this possible relic has not yet been confirmed.

Clemens Brentano's Emmerick writings

In his extensive notes, Brentano mixed Anna Katharina Emmerick's statements with his own additions and elaborations, which is why it is impossible to conclusively assess the accuracy of the notes with regard to the documentary reproduction of Emmerick's visions. As a result, he wrote the four works The bitter suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ , the life of St. Virgin Mary , the life of Jesus and an unfinished biography of Anna Katharina Emmerick.

The discovery of these arrangements, which were carried out by Winfried Hümpfner , Hermann Cardauns and Joseph Adam, among others , has led to different views in the assessment of Brentano's Emmerick books. Sometimes it is simply suppressed that he and not Anna Katharina Emmerick is the author of the books, sometimes the works are treated like the other literary writings of the author as part of his work and examined from a literary point of view.

The reports about Emmerick's visions, which are only preserved in the rendering of Brentano, partly aroused the belief that a new revelation was pending, partly these reports - within the Catholic Church, but also from Brentano's closest friends and relatives - were made from the beginning at doubted. Above all, the credibility of the portrayals of Brentano, who verifiably compared his reports with other legends and historical sources, is in question.

Animated by the depiction of Anna Katharina Emmerick's visions in Brentano's posthumously published book Das Leben der St. Virgin Mary , French clergy tried in the last decades of the 19th century to locate Mary's death house, described by Emmerick, near Ephesus . On a hill south of the ancient city, the so-called House of Mary was rediscovered in 1891 , where unsuccessful excavations were carried out to find the tomb of Our Lady. The house is still a well-known pilgrimage destination in Turkey today.


Article about the beginning of the trial in the Dülmener Zeitung of January 23, 1892

A first process for the beatification of Anna Katharina Emmerick was initiated in 1892 and initially discontinued in 1928 after it became clear that Clemens Brentano's records and books could not be used. The beatification process was reopened in 1973 and completed in 2004. On October 3rd, 2004 she was beatified by Pope John Paul II . The commission responsible stated that the beatification only concerned the holiness of the person Emmerick and gave no judgment on the veracity of Clemens Brentano's books. A relic of Anna Katharina Emmerick has been with the Holy See since the day of her beatification .

Memorial and pilgrimage route

The Anna-Katharina memorial and the grave are located in the Holy Cross Church in Dülmen . There is also the Anna-Katharina-Weg in Dülmen as a pilgrimage to the stations of life.

Map of the pilgrimage route

The Anna-Katharina-Weg (pilgrimage route) connects the places of life in Coesfeld, Flamschen and Dülmen as a cycling and hiking route. The starting point for this route is Coesfeld. There the pilgrimage begins under the Coesfeld Cross in the St. Lamberti Church . It then leads across the market square, where Anna Katharina lived for a while, to St. Jakobi Church. There is the baptismal font on which she was baptized in 1774. The pilgrimage route leads through the town to the Flamschen peasantry to the Emmerick house (Anna Katharina's birthplace) and from there past the Flamschen open-air theater on rather secluded country lanes near Lette. On the further way between Merfeld and Dülmen several boulders are set up on which quotations from the "Seer from the Münsterland" have been placed. Finally, the path leads through the wildlife park to downtown Dülmen to the location of the former Augustinian convent in Agnetenberg near the St. Viktor Church . The Holy Cross Church in Dülmen, in the crypt of which the grave of Anna Katharina Emmerick is located, represents the end of the pilgrimage.

Medical-psychiatric interpretations

Some authors interpret the stigmatization symptoms as symptoms of the disease in the context of the overall findings. They are based on ICD-10 -coded diagnoses from the somatic area, such as tuberculosis , liver cirrhosis (which could also explain skin bleeding and palmar erythema ) and rickets , as well as psychiatric findings from the dissociative group and anorexia nervosa .

The Catholic theologian Josef Hanauer took the view that Emmerick could have done the marks to himself out of an instinct to imitate, but not with fraudulent intent , but to become more like Christ. It has been proven often enough that such stigmata have nothing to do with miracles.


In 2007, director Dominik Graf addressed the encounter between Clemens Brentano and Anna Katharina Emmerick in his film Das Vowde , which is based on the novel by Kai Meyer .

Mel Gibson's film Die Passion Christi (2004) is based almost entirely on Brentano's The Bitter Suffering of Our Lord Jesus Christ in terms of the plot and above all in the detail and type of cruelty shown .


Source editions
  • Clemens Brentano : The life of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ . Ed. V. Frierdrich Pustet, Regensburg, 3 volumes 1858–1860.
  • Clemens Brentano: Years of Jesus' apprenticeship. Ed. by Jürg Mathes, W. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart et al. 1982–1983 (Frankfurt Brentano edition, vol. 24,1–2), ISBN 3-17-007338-9 , ISBN 3-17-008658-8 .
  • Clemens Brentano: The bitter suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ . Ed. V. Bernhard Gajek and Irmengard Schmidbauerm W. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart et al. 1980–1995 (Frankfurt Brentano edition, vol. 26 and 27.2) ISBN 3-17-012652-0 , ISBN 3-17-004917-8
  • Clemens Brentano: Materials on unexecuted religious works. Anna Katharina Emmerick biography. Ed. V. Jürg Mathes, Kohlhammer, Stuttgart et al. 1981 (Frankfurt Brentano edition, vol. 28).
  • Clemens Brentano / Anna-Katharina Emmerick: Visions from Brentano's diary . In the first publication of the original texts, ed. v. Jozef de Raedemaeker, private printing, Mechelen / Belgium 1998ff. (Publication of Brentano's notes from which the later Emmerick books were compiled)
Lexicon article
Research literature and non-fiction books
  • Clemens Engling, Hermann Flothkötter, Peter Nienhaus (eds.): The special mysticism of Anna Katharina Emmerick: 2nd symposium after the beatification on 15./16. February 2013 in the Franz Heat House in Münster. Laumann-Verlag, Dülmen 2013.
  • Clemens Engling: Anna Katharina Emmerick: Mystic of Charity. Topos Plus, Kevelaer 2011. ISBN 978-3-836707-39-8
  • Clemens Engling: Uncomfortable and unusual. Anna Katharina Emmerick - rediscovered historically and theologically. Echter-Verlag, Würzburg 2005.
  • Ulrike Landfester: Half miracle animal, half Cinderella. On the aesthetic program of Clemens Brentano's biography of the stigmatized nun Anna Katharina Emmerick. In: Alexander von Bormann (ed.): Romantic religiosity. Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 2005, pp. 163–183.
  • Joseph Adam, Clemens Engling (ed.): Anna Katharina Emmerick. The mystic of the Münsterland. Symposium 1990. With contributions from Joseph Adam, Winfried Freund, Elmar Klinger, Leo Scheffczyk, Josef Sudbrack, Josef Voss. Laumann-Verlag, Dülmen 1991.
  • Wolfgang Frühwald: The Emmerick writings of Clemens Brentano. Attempt to determine the occasion and literary intention. In: Clemens Engling u. a. (Eds.): Emmerick and Brentano. Documentation of a symposium of the episcopal commission 'Anna Katharina Emmerick'. Münster 1982, Dülmen 1983, pp. 13-33.
  • Jürg Mathes: Brentano's templates for the »life outline of the narrator« AK Emmerick. In: Detlev Lüders (Ed.): Clemens Brentano: Contributions to the Colloquium in the Free German Hochstift, 1978. Max Niemeyer Verlag, Tübingen 1980, pp. 163–191.
  • Oskar Katann: The credibility of Clemens Brentano's Emmerick reports. On the current state of sources and research. In: Literary Studies Yearbook, New Series, Volume 7, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1966, pp. 149–194.
Editing Writings and Guides
  • Anna Katharina Emmerick. Your life. Your beatification. Your charisma. Edited on behalf of the diocese of Münster. Dialogverlag, Münster 2004. ISBN 3-933144-96-5
  • Friedrich-Wilhelm Hemann, Ludger Hillermann and Peter Nienhaus (eds.): Anna Katharina Emmerick. Traces. Joint special edition of the Dülmener Heimatblätter and the Emmerick Blätter. Dülmen 2004. ISSN  1615-8687
  • Anna and Joachim: a Christian-mystical life sketch; after d. Reflections on the godly Anna Catharina Emmerich u. other monastery maidens; for the best of the Bücheler'schen Arbeit- u. Toddler school . Düsseldorf 1853. ( digitized version )
  • Erik Potthoff, Dietmar Rabich: Dülmen - yesterday and today . 1st edition. Laumann-Verlag, Dülmen 2013, ISBN 978-3-89960-397-2 , special topics, Anna Katharina Emmerick, p. 160 ff .
  • Markus Trautmann / Bärbel Stangenberg: Anna Katharina Emmerick - A picture book for young and old. Published by the Emmerick-Bund eV Dülmen, Dialogverlag, Münster 2014. ISBN 978-3-944974-02-6
Esoteric and fiction
  • Georg Veit: At the ends of the stairs. A novel about Anna Katharina Emmerick. Waxmann, Münster 2008. ISBN 978-3-8309-2000-7
  • Judith von Halle : Anna Katharina Emmerick. A rehabilitation , Verlag für Anthroposophie, Dornach 2013.

Web links

Commons : Anna Katharina Emmerick  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Clemens Engling: Inconvenient and unusual. Anna Katharina Emmerick - rediscovered historically and theologically . Echter Verlag, Würzburg 2005, ISBN 978-3-429-02674-5 .
  2. a b Beylage to N [umero] 9 of the medicinisch-chirurgische Zeitung: Observations of unusual phenomena in a patient of several years , Salzburg 1814.
  3. ^ Diary of Dr. med. Franz-Wilhelm Wesener on the Augustinian Anna Katharina Emmerick, Volume I , Paul Pattloch, Aschaffenburg 1973.
  4. Propstei St. Michael zu Paring ✝ Order of the Augustinian Canons. Retrieved February 8, 2019 .
  5. History and preliminary results of the investigation into the apparitions of the former nun AC Emmerich zu Dülmen, communicated by the former conductor of the same C [lemens] von [on] Bönninghausen, district commissioner of the Coesfeld district, Hamm (Schultz and Wundermann) 1819.
  6. a b Third and hopefully last postscript to my story of the investigation of the nun AC Emmerich zu Dülmen with authentic coverings by C [lemens] v [on] Bönninghausen, district commissioner of the Coesfeld district, Coesfeld (Wittneven) 1820.
  7. Letter to Mr. Rensing, dean and pastor of Dülmen, in which he does not accuse the maiden Emmerich of participating in the artificial development of the maars, but the wondrous nature of the wounds is steadfastly denied , by Bernard Bodde, medical councilor and professor, Hamm (Schultz and Wundermann ) 1819.
  8. Wolfgang Frühwald: The late work of Clemens Brentano (1815-1842). Romanticism in the Age of Metternich's Restoration , Niemeyer, Tübingen 1977.
  9. Westfälische Nachrichten, July 13th 2010: Mummified hand poses a riddle: A relic of Anna Katharina?
  10. Clemens Engling and a. (Eds.): Emmerick and Brentano. Documentation of a symposium ; Dülmen / Westphalia: Laumann, 1983.
  11. Winfried Hümpfner: Clemens Brentano's credibility in his Emmerick notes ; Wuerzburg 1923.
  12. ^ Peter Groth: The stigmatized nun Anna Katharina Emmerick 1774-1824. A medical history in the age of romanticism - between Prussian state reasons and “Catholic renewal” , 1998 ( PDF ).
  13. ^ Josef Hanauer: The stigmatized seer Anna Katharina Emmerick . Bock and Herrchen, Bad Honnef 1979, ISBN 3-88347-042-2 .
  14. The vow. Internet Movie Database , accessed May 22, 2015 .
  15. ^ Andreas Fasel: Dülmen goes to Hollywood. In: Welt am Sonntag. March 28, 2004, accessed July 13, 2018 .