Monday, September 4, 2006

House of Mary

Based on Anne Catherine Emerich's visions this house was found in the 1900's by Germans. It since has become a shrine to the Blessed Virgin that includes a small Moslem prayer area. I visited the shrine in 1979 (I lived in Turkey from 1978-1979) and at that time Italian religious were in charge and covered up two of the women in our group who were wearing shorts.
This house in the last week was threatened by fire, but the fire stoppped when it reached the house. Miracle of Mary’s House in Ephesus, spared from the flames
Of course the visions of Anne Catherine Emerich were the basis for Mel Gibson's screenplay The Passion (I've always wondered how many evagelical Christians realized that?).

From the New York Times:

Whether this spot in Turkey was ever Mary’s house is indeed a matter of some controversy. It wasn’t until the early 19th century that anyone in the Church had any notion that Mary had once lived near Ephesus, and even then the first reports of the house came from a dubious source: the feverish visions of a bedridden German nun named Sister Anne Catherine Emmerich.

During her illness, Clemens von Brentano, a Romantic poet, began a vigil at her bedside and transcribed her visions and sayings, including a vision of Mary’s house near Ephesus. His notebooks remained unpublished for more than half a century. When they were finally made public in the 1880’s, a French abbot, Father Julien Gouyet, read them and found Sister Emmerich’s vision so compelling that he traveled to Turkey soon after to see if he could find it. With the help of local villagers, he found a small stone house that fit the poet’s description, geographically and architecturally.

It wasn’t until 1950, however, that the Church proclaimed the dogma of the Assumption of Mary into heaven and that the house on Nightingale Hill became an official shrine for pilgrims, although there are still scholars who doubt that Mary ever lived there. Over the years, stories have circulated that water from the well on the site has healing powers. At the entrance to the house there is a place for pilgrims to leave their crutches behind.