The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary
by Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich
2. SIMEON'S DEATH.
[February 3 ^rd:] Simeon had a wife and three sons, of whom the eldest
was about forty and the youngest twenty years old. All three served in
the Temple, and were later secret friends of Jesus and His followers.
All became disciples of Our Lord, but at different times: before His
death or after His ascension. At the Last Supper one of them prepared
the Paschal Lamb for Jesus and the Apostles; but these were perhaps
grandsons, not sons, of Simeon; I am not sure. Simeon's sons did much
to help the friends of Our Lord at the time of the first persecutions
after the Ascension. Simeon was related to Seraphia, who was later
given the name Veronica, and also, through her father, to Zechariah.
I saw that Simeon fell ill yesterday immediately on returning home
after his prophecy at the Presentation of Jesus, but he spoke very
joyfully with his wife and sons. Tonight I saw that today was to be the
day of his death. Of the many things I saw I can only remember this
much. Simeon, from the couch where he lay, spoke earnestly to his wife
and children, telling them of the salvation that was come to Israel and
of everything that the angel had announced to him. His joy was touching
to behold. Then I saw him die peacefully and heard the quiet
lamentation of his family. Many other old priests and Jews were praying
round his bed. Then I saw them carry his body into another room. They
placed it on a board pierced with holes, and washed it with sponges,
holding a cloth over it so that its nakedness could not be seen. The
water ran through the board into a copper basin placed beneath it. Then
they covered the body with big green leaves, surrounded it with bunches
of sweet herbs, and wrapped it in a great cloth in which it was tied up
with long bandages like a child in swaddling bands. The body lay so
straight and rigid that I thought the bands must have been tied right
round the board.
In the evening Simeon was buried. His body was carried to the grave by
six men bearing torches. It lay on a board more or less the shape of a
body, but surrounded by an edge higher in the middle of its four sides
and lower at the corners. The wrapped-up corpse lay on this board
without any other covering. The bearers and those who followed them
walked quicker than is usual at our burials. The grave was on a hill
not very far from the Temple. The door of the sepulcher was set
slanting against a little hill. It was walled inside with a strange
kind of masonry like that which I saw St. Benedict working at in his
first monastery.  The walls, like those in the Blessed Virgin's
cell in the Temple, were decorated with stars and other patterns in
colored stones. The little cave in the middle of which they laid the
corpse was just large enough to allow them to pass round the body.
There were some other funeral customs such as laying various things
beside the dead man--coins, little stones, and I think also food, but I
am not sure.