Feast: February 9
Born into a farming family in Westphalia, Germany, from a young age Anne Catherine wanted to enter the convent. After several orders refused her because of her poor health and lack of a dowry, the Augustinian nuns accepted her in 1802. She lived an exemplary life in the convent, but it closed in 1811, so she became a housekeeper for a priest. In 1813 she started to have signs of the stigmata. This caused controversy as doctors examined her to see if it was real. Apparently it was real, but it only lasted until 1818. Anne had religious visions throughout her life, and the stigmata attracted people. A poet named Clemens Brentano visited her, and he became involved in writing down her visions. These largely centered on the life of Christ, especially his Passion, and the life of the Blessed Mother. However, scholars think that Brentano put in many of his own thoughts, so it’s difficult to tell how much of what he wrote is authentic. The Vatican did not take account of these writings in her cause for beatification.
While her mystical visions make her unusual, Anne gives us a practical example in the way she always sought to help and care for others, especially the poor. She reportedly said that she always asked God for the strength to serve others. In his beatification homily, Pope John Paul stressed that the central message of her life concerns the love of Christ, shown by his wounds for us: “He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross…by his wounds you have been healed” (1 Pt 2:24).
Blessed Anne Catherine, pray for us that we might be moved to repentance by meditating on the Passion of Jesus Christ, and show to others his saving love.
Patron: organists, people who suffer with poor health
Copyright 2018 Daughters of Saint Paul