The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary
by Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich
XVIII. THE DEATH OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY AT EPHESUS
1. REGARDING MARY'S AGE.
The following communications, made in different years, generally in the
middle of August before the Feast of the Assumption, are here arranged
in chronological order.
1. REGARDING MARY'S AGE.
[On the morning of August 13 ^th, 1822, Catherine Emmerich said: Last
night I had a great vision of the death of the Blessed Virgin, but have
completely forgotten it all.' On being asked, in the middle of a
conversation on everyday matters, how old the Blessed Virgin was when
she died, Catherine Emmerich suddenly looked away and said: She reached
the age of sixty-four years all but three and twenty days: I have just
seen the figure X six times, then I, then V; is not that sixty-four?'
(It is remarkable that Catherine Emmerich was not shown numbers with
our ordinary Arabic figures, with which she was familiar, but never saw
anything but Roman figures in her visions).]
After Christ's Ascension Mary lived for three years on Mount Sion, for
three years in Bethany, and for nine years in Ephesus, whither St. John
took her soon after the Jews had set Lazarus and his sisters adrift
upon the sea. 
Mary did not live in Ephesus itself, but in the country near it where
several women who were her close friends had settled.  Mary's
dwelling was on a hill to the left of the road from Jerusalem some
three and a half hours from Ephesus.  This hill slopes steeply
towards Ephesus; the city as one approaches it from the south-east
seems to lie on rising ground immediately before one, but seems to
change its place as one draws nearer. Great avenues lead up to the
city, and the ground under the trees is covered with yellow fruit.
Narrow paths lead southwards to a hill near the top of which is an
uneven plateau, some half-hour's journey in circumference, overgrown,
like the hill itself, with wild trees and bushes. It was on this
plateau that the Jewish settlers had made their home. It is a very
lonely place, but has many fertile and pleasant slopes as well as
rock-caves, clean and dry and surrounded by patches of sand. It is wild
but not desolate, and scattered about it are a number of trees,
pyramid-shaped, with big shady branches below and smooth trunks.
John had had a house built for the Blessed Virgin before he brought her
here. Several Christian families and holy women had already settled
here, some in caves in the earth or in the rocks, fitted out with light
woodwork to make dwellings, and some in fragile huts or tents. They had
come here to escape violent persecution. Their dwellings were like
hermits' cells, for they used as their refuges what nature offered
them. As a rule, they lived at a quarter of an hour's distance from
each other. The whole settlement was like a scattered village. Mary's
house was the only one built of stone. A little way behind it was the
summit of the rocky hill from which one could see over the trees and
hills to Ephesus and the sea with its many islands. The place is nearer
the sea than Ephesus, which must be several hours' journey distant from
the coast. The district is lonely and unfrequented. Near here is a
castle inhabited by a king who seems to have been deposed. John visited
him often and ended by converting him. This place later became a
bishop's see. Between the Blessed Virgin's dwelling and Ephesus runs a
little stream which winds about in a very singular way.