The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary
by Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich
7. NAZARETH. A LOOK AT THE LIFESTYLE OF THE HOLY WOMEN.
[February 28:] This evening I saw Anna and her eldest daughter with the
Blessed Virgin. Mary Heli had with her a sturdy little boy four or five
years old, her grandson, the eldest son of her daughter Mary Cleophas.
Joseph had gone to Anna's house. I watched the women sitting there,
talking confidentially to each other, playing with the Infant Jesus and
pressing Him to their breasts or giving Him to the little boy to hold
in his arms. Women are always the same, I thought; it was all just as
it is with us today.
Mary Heli lived in a little village some three hours to the east of
Nazareth. Her house was almost as good as her mother's: it had a walled
courtyard with a fountain and pump. You trod on something beneath it,
and water poured out at the top into a stone basin. Her husband was
called Cleophas, and her daughter Mary Cleophas, who was married to
Alpheus, lived at the other end of the village.
In the evening I saw the women praying. They stood before a little
table covered with a red-and-white cloth and standing against the wall.
A scroll lay on this table, which the Blessed Virgin unrolled and hung
up on the wall. A figure was embroidered on it in pale colors; it
looked like a dead man in a long white cloak, wrapped up like a child
in swaddling-bands. The head was wrapped in the cloak, which was wider
round the arms. The figure held something in its arms. I had already
seen this figure at the ceremony in Anna's house, when Mary was taken
to the Temple. It reminded me then of Melchizedek, for he seemed to
have a chalice in his arms; but another time I thought it represented
Moses. A lamp was burning during the prayer. Mary, with her sister
beside her, stood in front of Anna. They crossed their hands on their
breasts, folded them, and then extended them. Mary read from a scroll
lying before her, unrolling it as she read. They prayed in a particular
tone and rhythm which reminded me of the chanting in the convent choir